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Gift Articles - Fine Wines

What Is Fine Wine

Fine Wine a Definition

We have been selling Fine Wines on our website, recently and a customer called up and asked what the difference was between ‘wine’ and ‘fine wine.’ I thought I knew the gist of the difference (to me a fine wine exudes quality, it is expensive, from an established wine house and is generally “old”) but this wasn’t really a definitive answer. After this phone call, it got me thinking about the subject and so I did a bit of internet research in search of a good definition...

I came across two pieces of information about Fine Wine online, which I felt were highly relevant. The first piece was an article by Nick Alabaster “What Is Fine Wine?” who described fine wine in relation to two wine critics with differing opinions. The second article was found on the Sommelier Cellars’ blog with the same title. It was interesting to see how varied the definition of the term Fine Wine actually is!

The two wine critics who were mentioned in Nick Alabaster’s article named Clive Coates and Parker do not actually agree on their definitions of fine wine. Clive Coates uses categories defined under adjectives, such as Very Good, Very Fine, Fine and Grand Vin to define fine wines. On the other hand, Parker uses a point system, where anything over 90 would indicate a fine wine. Obviously, Coates’ “Very Fine,” fine wine might not even register on Parker’s points scale. This makes it very difficult for us “non-experts” to produce a suitable definition to share!

Nick Alabaster goes on to use 4 indicators to help define wine as “fine”:

Balance: If a wine is balanced in every aspect including taste, acidity, tannins and fruits then the wine could be classed as a fine wine providing that none of these aspects should outbalance each other.

Length: The wine should have longevity, meaning that is should last on the palate.

Complexity: The wine should have many facets on the nose and on the palate creating a complex when the wine is tasted.

Tipicity: The wine should reflect the highest standards of the wine region where it is produced, rather than reflecting its past heritage.

The Sommelier Cellar takes a different slant on defining a fine wine. The blog post advises that a fine wine should take you on a journey from the initial sniff to the first taste. Basically, a fine wine creates an experience, which connects the buyer to the producer of the wine.

Much of the information I gathered from my research didn’t fit with my own definition, for example, the critics, Nick nor the Sommelier Cellar’s blog post mention the price of the wine. It does appear however, that the things in common with all their definitions are as follows:

What Is A Fine Wine?
A fine wine should therefore be well balanced, have longevity, as well as a complexity and it should reflect the high standards of the wine region from where it comes.

Over the past years, we have tasted and come across a number of wines which would meet our definition of a fine wine:

1. Chateau D’Angles Grand Vin Rouge 2007 is the best quality red wine from the Chateau based in the Languedoc region in the South of France. The Chateau D'Angles Grand Vin Rouge has power, elegance and longevity, this is a remarkable wine, which can be enjoyed now, but could also be enjoyed for another 15-20 years.

2. Chateau D’Angles Grand Vin Blanc 2007

Both of these wines come from the Chateau D’Angles wine house and are hand crafted by Eric Fabres in the south of France. His love of wine definitely comes through in the finished liquid.

3. Barolo such as Antario Barolo, Barolo Franco Serra and Barolo Tradizione From Marchesi Di Barolo are all old time classics of fine wine from Italy, Barolo which is known as the king of wines can be called a fine wine because of the way it is crafted today with such passion by wine makers.

4. Chateauneuf Du Pape comes from the Rhone region in France is another well rounded fine wine from France. The low yielding vines give this wine remarkable harmony and balance; qualities that are enhanced by a period of aging in oak barrels, prior to bottling.

5. Amarone Della Valpolicella is a long lasting Italian red full bodied wine with an intense fragrance of dark fruits with a slight smokiness, hints of chocolate, vanilla and spice. As well as a warm, dry and velvety taste on the palate with a long and lasting finish.

We hope our definition of fine wine gives a suitable and acceptable description of the term, however if anyone has a more information or an even better definition, then please get in touch, so that we can update our information.

Date posted: 14/09/2011

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