Wine made from a particular variety of grape. Chardonnay, riesling, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, and so on are all varietal wines. In general, each varietal has a unique flavor, distinct from other varietals. When a wine has a pronounced varietal flavor it is said to have varietal character. On January 1, 1983, United States law established that a wine named after a grape—a varietal—must contain 75 percent or more of that grape variety that has been grown in the appellation of origin appearing on the label. Prior to that date, a varietally labeled wine had to contain 51 percent or more of the named grape.


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