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balatonwine

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Interesting stores behind each.

It's Syrah here, but never Petite Syrah (Sirah)
Petite Syrah was a clone of Syrah grown at one time in the Rhone valley that had small grapes. The Durif grape variety, AKA Petite Sirah in the USA, is a hybrid where Syrah was just one parent, so Durif/Petite Sirah is not really "Syrah" and really should not use that name (of course, maybe it was intended to be called Petite Syrah despite that, but there was a spelling mistake lost in history, and now formalized).

It's Petite Sirah here, but never Petite Verdot (Petit)
This one I had to look up just now (my French is still pretty weak). Seems, petite and petit actually have subtle differences in meaning that may explain it: http://wikidiff.com/petite/petit

(But I will differ this one to a real French expert.)

Grapes are varieties, wine can be single varietal
Varieties is of course just the plural of variety. While varietal means "made from a single variety of grape". Which is what adding the '-al' suffix to variety is suppose to do ;) :

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/-al
 
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sour_grapes

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Varieties is of course just the plural of variety. While varietal means "made from a single variety of grape". Which is what adding the '-al' suffix to variety is suppose to do ;) :

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/-al
Not so sure I agree with you here. (Your link only explains production of an adjective from a noun or a noun from a verb, not the production of a noun from a noun, which is the case here.) Here was my earlier attempt at an explanation of how varietal came into use. Here I argue that first variety went through the process your link describes to become an adjective ("varietal wine"). Then it underwent a second modification to become a noun.

The answer is a bit more subtle. The word variety is a noun, meaning (in this context) "A plant or animal differing from those of the species to which it belongs in some minor but permanent aspect." The word varietal is (originally) an adjective, meaning "pertaining to a distinct variety of animal, plant, or mineral." This adjectival meaning came specifically to refer to wine: "Of wine: made predominantly from a single variety of grape." This word was used in the phrase "varietal wine."

However, take a look at this list of words: Dirigible, terminal, aerial, thermal, final, social, special, principal. These all may function as nouns. Clearly, we used to say:
"dirigible ballon"
"terminal station"
"aerial antenna"
"thermal updraft"
"final exam"
"social event"
"special sale"
"principal teacher"

The words in my list were all adjectives that modified the following noun. Eventually, we dropped the noun, and used the adjective as a noun. I would argue that varietal is in the middle of this process. The earliest entry in the Oxford English Dictionary for the use of varietal as a noun is from 1955, with the meaning "A wine made from a single variety of grape."

There are words that have been used this way for so long we no longer can even see it, like capital. There are others that are still early in the process: prenuptial is practically a stand-alone noun by now.

So, back to the original question: use varietal (as a noun or adj.) when referring to a wine or its characteristics. When referring to a grape, use variety, or, increaslingly commonly, varietal as a noun.
 
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codeman

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Is Verdot the same grape as Sirah/Syrah?

I head on the radio this week that Sirah and Syrah have spelling differences to explain the style in which they're made.
Like Pinot Gris and Grigio are the same grape but Grigio is sweet.
 

sour_grapes

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Is Verdot the same grape as Sirah/Syrah?

I head on the radio this week that Sirah and Syrah have spelling differences to explain the style in which they're made.
Like Pinot Gris and Grigio are the same grape but Grigio is sweet.
No, these are three different grape varieties we are talking about (although they all tend to be pretty inky and tannic).

Petit Verdot (sometimes called just "Verdot") is a late-ripening Bordeaux variety.

Syrah is a rich Rhone variety (which Wiki tells me has been shown to be the offspring of Dureza and Mondeuse blanche). It is also called "Shiraz," and it was once thought that it originated in the Persian (Iranian) city of that same name, but this is no longer thought to be true.

Petite Sirah (known in most of the world as Durif) is a cross between the above-mentioned Syrah and the French variety Peloursin.

Is it possible that the radio program you heard was talking about Syrah vs. Shiraz? Because that would be a closer analogy to the Pinot Gris/Pinot Grigio case.
 

balatonwine

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Like Pinot Gris and Grigio are the same grape but Grigio is sweet.
Is Pinot Grigio Dry or Sweet?

It’s Dry: Pinot Grigio often tastes less sweet than Chardonnay because of high acidity.


Exceptions to the rule: There are two examples where Pinot Grigio is sweet. One example is cheap supermarket Pinot Grigio designed to woo mid-week wine drinkers. The second (and considerably more rare) are the slightly sweet Pinot Gris from Alsace.
 

Johny99

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Is Verdot the same grape as Sirah/Syrah?
Like Pinot Gris and Grigio are the same grape but Grigio is sweet.
And just because, Grigio is Italian and Gris is French and Spanish. Same grape. :f
 

sour_grapes

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No problem, because I agree with your complete explanation. I was simply pointing out where "varietal" came from, not it's conversion to a noun regarding wines (which happened in 1955 according to dictionary.com). ;)
Someone "liked" my post, and this prompted me to re-read yours with new eyes. It is funny -- when I first read your original post, I totally interpreted your phrase "made from a single variety" as if you were asserting it was a noun. Upon re-reading, I see that you say nothing of the kind! Mea culpa. :slp

Note to self: "Made from" = adjectival.
 

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