Q. What is a “vintage?”
A. In the wine industry, the word vintage has two meanings: (1) the harvest for winemaking of grapes from a particular year, or (2) wines that are made primarily from the grapes of one particular year and labeled for that year.
For example, a wine labeled as a 2008 vintage was made primarily from grapes from the 2008 harvest. Non-vintage wines are blends of wines made from grapes harvested in two or more different years, a practice often used with major name-brand wines, for which a consistent flavor year after year is important.
Q. What is a dry wine?
A. In wine terminology, dry simply means “not sweet.” The term distinguishes non-sweet red wines like merlots, or white wines like chardonnays, from sweet wines like ports and sherries.
Q. What is a dessert wine?
A. Under U.S. wine labeling requirements, dessert wine refers to port-style wines that have been fortified with a distilled spirit such as brandy to stop fermentation. This retains more natural sugar from the grapes, resulting in a comparatively sweet taste.
Informally, the fine-wine community also uses the term dessert wine to refer to sweet wines that are customarily served at the end of a meal, like ports and sauternes. An example of a dessert wine is Vignoles, a sweet wine with a hint of apricot, from Seven Mountains Wine Cellars.
Q. What is a fruit wine?
A. Simply put, fruit wines are fermented from the juices of fruits other than grapes. Examples from Seven Mountains Wine Cellars include our Black Raspberry dessert wine and our Rhubarb wine.
Fruit wines have distinctive and even unexpected tastes. You might know what the fruit tastes like, but if you blind-taste a fruit wine, it might not be obvious what fruit was used. Just as grape wines don’t “taste like grapes” per se, fruit wines have a distinct character of their own that can be quite different from the flavor of the freshly harvested fruits or unfermented juices.