Piedmont Wine Lexicon - C


Chaptalizing describes a method of dry sugaring of wines. It is named after the chemist and interior minister under Napoleon, Jean-Antoine Chaptal (1756 - 1832). In order to counteract the loss of quality in wines after the French Revolution, he invented a method of adding sugar to wines in order to increase the alcohol content of the wines. In particular, poor harvests, in which the grape varieties received too little warmth and sunlight, could be avoided. In Germany, it was the inventor and social theorist Ludwig Gall who meticulously dealt with this method in the mid-19th century and popularized it in scientific textbooks. He had observed with concern that more and more winegrowers in Germany were losing their livelihoods and emigrating to warmer countries due to poor harvests. For him, chaptalizing was the ideal method to avoid such emigration movements.

When chaptalizing, beet and cane sugar are usually used. In addition to a higher alcohol content, the wines also have more body and fullness. A countermovement against this method developed when wine connoisseurs discovered that chaptalizing harmed the flow behavior of the wine and caused a poorer mouthfeel. Sugaring is limited in the EU. In wine-growing zone A, wines may be added with sugar up to a maximum of 3.5% by volume. In the viticulture zone B, sugaring is allowed by 2.5 vol.% And in the viticulture zone by 2.0 vol.%. In addition, there are different regulations for this method in the individual countries. In Germany, for example, this method is banned for quality wines. It is most popular in Burgundy and Switzerland. Chaptalized wines do not have to be labeled, but they can be recognized by their high alcohol content, which is atypical in relation to the terroir of the grapes under natural conditions.


The character of a wine is defined by the sum of its smell and taste properties. Overall, wines can be characterized by fruity, chemical, earthy, herbal, organic, spicy and warm aromas. The wine is further characterized by the balance of fruit acid, tannins (especially tannins) and acidity. For example, acidic wines are given a dominant and pungent character, while little acidity makes the wine appear dull and old. Immature tannins, on the other hand, lead to a green and coarse basic tone, while missing tannins make it too light and unimportant. In addition, a wine with character has pronounced properties in terms of terroir, type of aging, area, climate, vintage, taste, grape variety or type of wine.


The Chardonnay is one of the most popular white wines in the world and accordingly has a large cultivation area of ​​around 200,000 hectares worldwide. Most of it is planted in California with a vineyard area of ​​44,500 hectares, followed by France with 32,500 hectares and Australia with 30,500 hectares. Its cultivation area is therefore three times as large as that of Riesling. The Chardonnay is a cross between the Gouais Blanc and the Pinot. The wine is named after the place Cardonaccum in Burgundy and is characterized by a high taste quality and a high adaptability to the soil. Outskirts are also reflected in a loss of quality. Its minerals are further refined by storage in oak barrels, so that this type of storage is common for this white wine. With a young degree of ripeness, the wine has a light taste that goes well with fish and seafood.With a higher degree of ripeness, it becomes strong and woody and goes well with hearty dishes and fresh cheese

Wine connoisseurs use numerous synonyms for Chardonnay. These include the terms Aroison, Arboisier, Arnaison Blanc, Auvergnat Blanc, Auxeras Blanc, Auxerrois Blanc, Bargeois Blanc, Beaunois, Blanc de Champagne, Breisgauer Süßling, Chablis, Chardenay, Chardonnay Blanc, Chaudenay, Clevner Weiss, Yellow Burgundy, Yellow Pinot Blanc, Mâconnais, Obaideh, Petit Chatey, Petite Sainte-Marie, Pineau Blanc Chardonnay, Pino Sardone, Pinot Chardonnay, Plant de Tonnerre, Romeret and Sardone.

Cuvée has several meanings in vinology, which is why the meaning of the term is developed through the context. In France, the term, derived from a wine container (cuve), is used to describe a bottled wine. The phrase Teté de Cuvée in turn describes the must yield of the first pressing process with the highest quality in Champagne.

If the term is used in Germany, a cuvée wine is usually meant, which is a wine that consists of several grape varieties . The disadvantage of a blend wine is the loss of purity. The advantage, however, lies in a better balance, as certain grape varieties are specifically selected according to their properties in order to obtain an optimal result. Mixing different locations and vintages is also managed as a waste. Famous blend wines are Chianti, Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Rioja.


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