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Varietal is a wine made from a single variety of grapes. Varietal is the terminology typically used in the wine industry and points to the particular characteristics of a wine variety. Varietal refers to the specific wine made purely from a single selected variety of grape. Such a wine clearly indicates the name of the grape from which it is made, on the label. Some examples of varietal wines are Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot, Pinot noir, Sauvignon blanc, Shiraz and Semillon. When wine labels display two or more wine varieties on their label, for e.g. Chardonnay-Viognier, then these are not considered varietal wines, rather they are called blends.

Difference between ‘Variety’ and ‘Varietal’

The term ‘varietal’ is frequently though incorrectly used in place of wine ‘variety’; actually while the term ‘variety’ refers to the type of ‘vine or grape’ used, varietal in fact refers to the wine produced by making use of a certain grape variety.

Similarly, the term varietal can also be used to describe cider made from a single variety of apple; or to describe a particular subspecies of coffee; or tea that has been made from a single variety of leaf and following a set method of preparation. Varietal chocolates are available with their own set of distinguishing characteristics.

Varietal Wines

Connoisseurs, wine tasters as well as consumers who seem to possess great interest and knowledge have over a period of time become increasingly aware about the characteristic features of individual varieties of different grape wines, as a result of which wines have come to be identified by varietal names. There has been a long-standing tradition of varietal labelling in Germany and many other German-influenced wine countries such as Austria, Alsace, and the Czech Republic. In general, Varietal wines are commonly associated with New World wines. However, Varietal labelling is perhaps becoming the most popular means to ascertain quality wines in many markets across the globe today.

Varietal Teas

Camellia sinensis is the scientific name of the plant species which produces all kinds of tea. Within that species itself, there exist plenty of varieties (also referred to as cultivars or varietals).

This single plant which produces all the tea in the world tea has over 3000 hybrids. These in turn are referred to as varietals – which is a terminology borrowed from the affluent world of wine grape cultivation.

Tea varietals are however, developed with the aim of producing a particular type of tea in a particular location. For instance, varietals suited for use in the manufacture of the fine Indian black tea would not necessarily work in making a high-quality Japanese green tea.

Chocolate Varietals

With the emergence of both single-origin and varietal chocolate and latest research regarding its multiple health benefits, this irresistible delicacy has gradually earned a distinction equalled only by fine wine.

The famous E. Guittard Collection’s vintage line of chocolates contains both blends as well as single bean varietal chocolates. The Quevedo, is one such varietal couverture chocolate originating from Ecuador. Other such varietal chocolates include the Chucuri from the northwest of Colombia, the Sur del Lago, again a couverture chocolate belonging to western Venezuela, and the Ambanja from Madagascar.

Utah’s Amano Artisan Chocolates are known to create award-winning, single varietal luxurious handmade chocolate bars. These incorporate carefully resourced beans obtained from Venezuela, Ecuador, Bali, Ghana, Madagascar and even beyond.