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Second label

Synonym for second wine; see there.

Designation (also second label) for a significantly cheaper and simpler line of a winery that is marketed under a different name than the Grand Vin (first wine). This is particularly common in Bordeaux, but the term is also used in other regions and countries. The best wines from the best vineyards are used for the main wine. The philosophy and criteria vary greatly from château to château and can also change from vintage to vintage. These are, for example, grapes from vineyards with younger vines (around 10 to 15 years old), grapes from lower quality sites compared to the first vineyards, pre-harvest batches, wines from the second pressing and wines from poorer barrel samples. In poor vintages, it can happen that the first wine is not produced, for example in 1987 at Château Lafleur and 1991 at Château Cheval Blanc. Especially in very good years, the second wine often offers much better value for money, as the Grands Vins cost at least twice as much. Since 1993, it has been permitted to use the additional designations Château or Domaine for the second or third wine.

Zweitwein - Château Latour Grand Vin, Second Vin, Troisième Vin

Quality of the second wine

The quality of second wines can vary considerably. Some houses achieve top class. For example, the second wine "Les Forts de Latour" from Château Latour comes very close to the quality and also the price of a "Deuxième Cru Classé" château (top centre of picture). For other producers, however, these wines are of very basic quality. As a rule, the second wines have less flavour, alcohol content and tannins than the main wines. They are usually fruitier, softer in structure and also mature much earlier, i.e. have a shorter shelf life. However, a winery's signature style is very often also shown to full advantage in the second wine and you can also expect the best quality from the top Châteaux.

Some wineries strive for a certain typicity. As a result, even surplus batches of very good wine are ultimately not fully incorporated into the Grand Vin, because in very good years the wine would then stand out too much from the other years. This means that even the best qualities can flow into a second wine. A good example of this is Château Léoville-Las-Cases, where the second wine from good years almost reaches the quality of the Grand Vin. However, the rank awarded in the 1855 Bordeaux classification does not apply to the second wines, regardless of their high quality. This is why they also have a different name, i.e. they may not bear the name of the château on the label.

Third wine

The term second wine is also used in Italy (and other countries), but in a slightly different form. In particularly prestigious DOC/DOCG areas, another wine from this area is labelled as a second wine. For example, Rosso di Montalcino is considered the second wine of the Brunello di Montalcino area. However, the term is particularly popular in France. Many châteaux produce a second wine. There is a third wine from Château Latour, Château Lafite-Rothschild and Château Léoville-Las-Cases, for example. Château Batailley, Château Clerc Milon, Château d'Yquem, Château Latour à Pomerol¸ Château La Conseillante, Château Le Pin, Château Pétrus and Château Trotanoy do not produce a second wine. Château Mouton-Rothschild began this relatively late in 1993.

Well-known second and third wines

Most of the wines in this list are second and third wines from France, especially Bordeaux, but there are also some from other countries:

wine estate or first wine SECOND WINE - THIRD WINE
Álvaro Palacios (L'Ermita) Finca Dofí, Les Terrasses
Capaia Blue Grove Hill
Château Angélus Le Carillon de l'Angélus
Château Ausone Chapelle d'Ausone
Château Balestard La Tonnelle Les Tourelles de Balestard
Château Barde-Haut Le Vallon de Barde-Haut
Château Beauséjour Duffau-Lagarosse La Croix de Mazerat
Château Beau-Séjour-Bécot La Tournelle des Moines
Château Bélair-Monange Les Sanges de Magdelaine
Château Belgrave Diane de Belgrave
Château Berliquet Les Ailes de Berliquet
Château Beychevelle Amiral de Beychevelle
Château Bonalgue Château Burgrave
Château Bouscaut Château Valoux
Château Boyd-Cantenac Jacques Boyd
Château Branaire-Ducru Château Duluc
Château Brane-Cantenac Baron de Brane
Château Calon-Ségur Château Marquis de Calon
Château Canon Croix Canon (formerly Clos Canon)
Château Canon-La-Gaffelière Les Hauts de Canon La Gaffelière
Château Cantemerle Les Allés de Cantemerle
Baron Villeneuve de Cantemerle
Château Cantenac...

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Andreas Essl
Autor, Modena

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