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Wine Spectator School

Class 5: Old World Model: France

old world: overview

Europe: The Source

Europe is the source of wine as we know it.

Winegrowers in Europe have had centuries to figure out which grape varieties grow best in their individual regions, and certain varieties are closely associated with specific regions.

European wine labels reflect this relationship, usually referring to the wine's place of origin - country, region, subregion, and even specific vineyard - rather than the grape variety.


Influence of Geography
Climate, soil, drainage, altitude and steepness of the vineyard all affect the finished wine. Small differences can be important: Grapes from a hillside vineyard that faces away from the sun may not ripen, while vines a few feet away that get full sun may produce perfect grapes.

The French call this combination of grape, climate,...

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