I am attracted to complexity. That’s why I love chess. And it’s part of the reason why I love wine (apart from the fact that I love drinking the stuff :)
The wine world is immensely complex. So many different producing countries, with an endless number of regions and appellations, grape varietals and vintners.
Take just France, for example. The permutations are staggering…
In the Bordeaux region, you have the Left bank vs. Right bank, and you have a bunch of AOC’s like Medoc, St.-Estephe, Pauillac, St. Julien, Haut-Medoc, Margaux, Pessac-Leognan, Graves, Entre-Deux-Mers, Barsac, Sauternes, Pomerol, Lalande-de-Pomerol, St.-Emilion, Cotes de Castillon….
Within the Medoc, you have the Classed Growths (premier crus, deuxiemes crus, troisiemes crus, quatriemes crus, and cinquiemes crus. With one exception – Chateau Haut-Brion is not in the Medoc but in Graves…) Then you have Bordeaux’s Cru Bourgeois classification for a lot of high quality wines that were not included in the Classed Growths…
In Burgundy, you have a different classification system with Grand Crus, Premier Crus, Villages, Regionals, etc…
And so on and on and on… Haven’t even touched on the Loire, Northern and Southern Rhone, Languedoc, Champagne, etc. And to make it all just a bit more complex, some names are confusingly similar. Take for example the following:
Sauternes: a sweet wine from the Sauternes region of the Graves section in Bordeaux, made from Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle grapes
Sancerre: wine from Sancerre in the eastern part of the Loire valley, mostly from Sauvignon Blanc grapes
Montrachet: an AOC and a Grand Cru vineyard in Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune region, mostly Chardonnay.
Meursault: an AOC, also in the Côte de Beaune region, mostly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Muscadet: from the Loire Valley, made from Melon de Bourgogne grapes
Vouvray: from the Loire Valley, mostly made from Chenin Blanc grapes
Volnay: from Burgundy, mostly Pinot Noir
Sauternes, Sancerre, Montrachet, Meursault, Muscadet, Vouvray, Volnay…. Confused yet? :) And these are just a few selected examples, from a few selected areas in France. Haven’t even touched on any other countries… How about Piedmont in Italy, where Barolo and Barbaresco are made from Nebbiolo grapes, but Barbera is made from the Barbera grape… How about the US, Argentina, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Australia, Chile, South Africa, Greece, Hungary…
And of course, in each country, in each region, in each appellation, you have dozens or hundreds of different wine makers.
It goes on and on and on. Truly fascinating if you like complexity :)