With so many wines from around the world available today, who has time to sort through them all and figure out what’s what? To simplify your search, we’ve compiled this useful list of wines with commonly confused names. Refer to it whenever you need!
Barbaresco and Barbera
Two unique red wines from Italy’s Piedmont region.
Barbaresco, like Barolo, is usually a cellar-worthy wine made from Nebbiolo. These tannic and structured reds can be deceptively powerful, often displaying bright red fruit and floral qualities in their youth that evolve into more earthy and savory notes with bottle age. Barbaresco is built for delicious food, such as beef braised with mushrooms and herbs in a red wine sauce.
Barbera, a grape used to make vibrant red wines, commonly hails from two towns in Piedmont – Asti and Alba. Mouthwatering red berry and plum flavors, along with fine tannins, make Barbera wines ideal for drinking young, especially with fresh pasta and tomato sauce.
Pomerol and Pommard
Two contrasting reds from opposite ends of France.
If you want to taste one of the most collectible wines in the world, Pomerol should be on your radar. Full-bodied, velvety, and arguably the ultimate expression of Merlot, bottles of this Right Bank Bordeaux are in high demand and usually command premium prices. Try some Pomerol with juicy bone-in pork chops cooked on the grill.
Hailing from Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune region, Pommard is a varietal Pinot Noir that simultaneously displays complex intensity and elegance. After some time in the glass, surprising aromas and flavors will spring forth. Pommard is a versatile wine for food, but you can’t go wrong by pairing it with a succulent roast duck.
Pouilly-Fuissé and Pouilly-Fumé
Two white wines from France – strikingly different in character.
Pouilly-Fuissé is composed of Chardonnay grown in Burgundy’s southern Mâconnais district. It is generally warmer here than in regions to the north, which allows ripe grapes to produce wines with fresh orchard, stone, and tropical fruit flavors. Some versions may be aged in oak barrels. Pouilly-Fuissé is excellent to drink alongside oven-roasted chicken with herbs.
Pouilly-Fumé is produced from Sauvignon Blanc, which some growers call “Fumé Blanc.” Many vineyards here have soils which contain silex, or flint. The wines are known for their intense aromas of flowers, citrus, and stone fruits, as well as lively acidity and expressive minerality. Pouilly-Fumé pairs wonderfully with scallops sautéed in white wine.
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano
Two more Italian red wines.
The smooth, round, and fruit-driven wines of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo utilize the Montepulciano grape. They represent some of the best wine values from Italy and can pair well with a variety of dishes. Roasted pork shoulder with garlic and herbs is a fine match for these wines.
In addition to the cherry-scented Sangiovese-based wines of Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany is home to Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, where Sangiovese is called “Prugnolo Gentile.” Fine examples with lively acidity have great aging potential, and they make for an outstanding complement to savory grilled lamb dishes.
Now that you’ve read about the differences in the wines above, try to taste some examples to help you remember!