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You Can Keep Your Varietal and Shove It Up Your Variety | 1 Wine Dude

You Can Keep Your Varietal and Shove It Up Your Variety

Vinted on February 16, 2010 binned in best of, commentary
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I am giving up on what has become a totally fruitless quest ending in a miasma of heartbreak and despair; I hereby renounce my Sisyphusian efforts, and will no longer roll this impossibly heavy boulder of writing wisdom up the mountain of populist adversity, only to have it come heaving down to crush the vulnerable bones of my hopes time and time again.

Not that I feel overly dramatic about it or anything.

What is the heart of this painful linguistic matter?  The brilliant and terrible rays of sunlight on the wax wings of my personal flight of Icarus?

It’s the rampant misuse of the word varietal.

To quote Inigo Montoya, “Joo keep using daht word. I donah tink it means what joo tink it means…”

I have seen and heard this term misused by winemakers, public relation professionals, journalists, bloggers, those who pen the copy on the back of wine labels (that one is particularly annoying), book authors – you name it.

And its effect on me is not unlike the sound of linguistic fingernails being raked across the chalkboard of my wine-writing soul.  It’s almost as bad as confusing contractions (e.g., “its” vs. “it’s”).  Almost.  So it’s not the worst writing sin I’ve seen in the wine world.  But it’s damn close.

I give up trying to convince everyone to use the words variety and varietal properly.

From now on, just do whatever the hell you want.


Even though it doesn’t mean the same as “variety…”

Even though its [<– Editor’s Note: correct use without contraction] primary definition is as an adjective, not a noun (unless it’s [<—Editor’s Note: Ah-hah!] being used to represent a wine made primarily from one grape variety)…

Even though you could easily run a define:varietal search in Google and get this in return…:


Of, indicating, or characterizing a variety, especially a biological variety.


A wine made principally from one variety of grape and carrying the name of that grape.

Just go ahead an use varietal any damn way that you want.  See if I care.  I give up, I tell ya!

Ok.  I’m exhausted now.  I’m sorry I got all serious on you, but at least now you know how I feel, right dear?

I think I need a drink.

Maybe I’ll go for a varietal wine that is made from a single grape variety like Cabernet Sauvignon.  You know, one that really displays the typical varietal characteristics of the variety… ah, f*ck it…!


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