Wine: Figuring out the rules of French wine

Even with a little bit of knowledge, French wine labels are not so hard to interpret

A typical Burgundy vineyard: Grand Cru holds the highest ranking in the region

When I first became interested in wine, I was somewhat intimidated by the mystical allure of a French label. The appellations, châteaux and other classifications were both enchanting and anxiety-inducing. Then the New World arrived and simplified everything – grape variety, region, country and year was all the information that one needed and this changed the way people engaged with wine.

While French labels still denote sophistication and refinement, they are much easier to decipher ...