Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC)
The premier quality control, protected by law, awarded to the highest quality wines in specifically demarcated areas.
Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure (VDQS)
Quality award just below full AOC.
Vin de Pays
Followed by the name of the region from which it comes; local table wine.
Vin Doux Natural (VDN)
Naturally sweet wine (dessert wine).
Notable examples include: Muscat de Rivesaltes, one of Europe's oldest pedigree sweet wines; Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois; Banyuls; and Maury, all from Languedoc-Roussillon, produced using a base of Muscat and/or Malvoisie grapes.
There are two distinct meanings to this term: it can refer to the specific terrain where a wine originates from, but it is also used in its literal form meaning ‘growth’ in classifications used for champagnes and fine wines.
The terms ‘Premier Cru’ (‘First Growth’), ‘Grand Cru’ and ‘Premier Grand Cru’, denote the very highest qualities.
Followed by the year of vintage; literally means ‘harvest’.
Wine aged at least one year in barrels, then for some months in the bottle until at least two years old before sale.
Denominación de Origen (DO)
The Spanish equivalent of the French ‘Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC)’.
Wine selected for long ageing; at least one year in barrels before bottling, then at least three years old before being released for sale.
Exceptional vintages aged for two years in barrels and then three years in the bottle before being released for sale.