French wine tops: what the colours and letters mean

French wine tops: what the colours and letters mean

Just like milk colour tops, French wine tops tell you details about the wine inside. Do you know the difference between the letters and colours on the capsule? 🟢🔴🔵

Snuggle in. Here’s the lowdown:

Let’s start with the letters. You will notice one of the following on the on the cap:

N = Negociant

A Negociant is someone who buys ready-made-wine and puts their own label on it. OR buys grapes/juice from farmers then makes it themselves. This doesn’t mean that Negociants are baddies. You can get some incredible wines by Negociants; for example, the infamous Louis Jadot of Burgundy is one of these guys. Jadot is of the latter variety, he buys the grapes and makes the wine from scratch. This is called a negociant-éleveur. How do you know if your negociant is one of these? Google.

R = Recoltant

Recoltant indicates that the bottler has done the whole shebang: grape-growing, wine-making and bottling. Total grafters.

Colour top

🟢 Wines classified as an Appellation d’Origine Controllee . They come from a certain region (e.g. Chablis) and made to the rules and regulations of the area (high quality, un-oaked Chardonnay with zippy acid and minerality)

🔵 All other wines – table wines and those made outside of the region’s strict criteria. You can still find good wines if you trust the producer

🔴 Are you ready….? Can be used instead of blue or green! In 2011 this law was passed.

Who’s the lady?

Decorated with the seal of ‘Marianne’ the woman chosen to represent the French republic after the French Revolution at the end of the 18th century

There, now you know your capsule-language. Check out your wine rack, what have you got?