Simple rule by appellation stated again:
American wines are principally controlled by varietal name whereas European wine by place or appellation. This means that American wines marketed with the name of a varietal, like chardonnay, minimally have to have 75% of that varietal in the bottle. European wines tell you where the wine is from prominently on the label and must meet all the rules of that location. The rules are less strict the more general the appellation.
Conversely, a general rule for wines, both American and European, is that the more specific the location, the more expensive the wine. Examples would be California vs the more specific Napa Valley a place within California or Bordeaux vs the more specific Margaux, a place within Bordeaux.. White Wines
Acidity and Alcohol
(Higher levels of either, especially acidity, tends to aid longevity) High alcohol wines that are young, highly fruity and low in acids (due to either special fermentations that lower acids such as malolactic fermentation or not being fermented to dryness leaving behind fruit sugars) are the young wines the modern public seems to prefer. These wines are more difficult to store than wines which are higher in acids.
On the chart below, "H" signifies higher, "M" is medium and "L" tends to lower: remember...these are broad, relative generalizations.
For alcohol, typically Low = 9 - 11% , Medium = 11 - 12.5% and High = 12.5 - 14%
I. The Family of Wines Based Upon Chardonnay
|Origin||Alcohol||Acidity||Typical Years for Best Drinking|
|Australia||M / H||L / M||2 to 4|
|Chile||M / H||L / M||2 to 4|
|Mendocino||M / H||M / H||3 to 5|
|Napa||H||L / M||2 to 5|
|Sonoma||M / H||L / M||2 to 5|
|Santa Barbara||M / H||L / M||2 to 5|
|La Bourgogne (Burgundy) La Côte de Beaune||-||-||-|
|(Puligny, Montrachet, Meursault etc.)||L/M||M / H||3 to 15|
|La Basse Bourgogne (Chablis)||L/M||H||3 to 15|
|Chalonnais - Mâconnais (Pouilly, Fuissé, Mâcon)||L/M||M / H ||3 to 5|
|Languedoc||M/H||L/M||2 to 4|
to be continued..........