French Wine Labels
Thanks to the rules of Appellation Contrôlée, the label on a bottle of French
wine will provide you with full information as to the origin of the product and
thereby a good indication as to its taste.
The minimum information required is the name of the wine, its appellation,
degree of alcohol (not necessary for AOC or VDQS wines), contents
and the address of the producer and the bottler if this is not the same person.
A vintage date is usual but not obligatory.
If the wine is bottled where it is produced, this will be stated on the label in
a manner of different ways: "Mis en bouteille au Château" is common for
Bordeaux, 'Mis en bouteille au Domaine' for Burgundy. 'Mis en bouteille a la
Propriété' is often used for wines that do not come from a specific château or
domaine. 'Mis en bouteille dans
la region de production' states that the wine has been bottled within its
(obligatory for sparkling wines made by the méthode champenoise and for the
of Alsace), usually by a local négociant. 'Mis en bouteille dans nos Caves'
that the bottling has taken place in the cellars of the company or person whose
address is on the label. This is often shortened to 'meb' followed by the
initials of the bottler and his zip-code address; thus Pierre Ferraud Vms a
Belleville-sur-Sâone would become PF 69220 France.
The year the wine was produced is often placed on a small label on the collar of
the bottle. The wine label may also carry further information for example the
wine is from new or old vines, or that the grapes were late picked.