Originally posted by Michiel:
Il Duce, since w're at it now. The original Q was, what does second label mean and are there US equivalents?
As far as I know Bahans Haut Brion grapes are Haut Brion grapes that came from same vineyard (mostly) as HB but the juice was not good enough. (same for Les Forts de "Latour" and Carruades de "Lafite" e.g.) I believe same concept applies to the "Reserve" vs "Regular" bottlings in the US. I.e. Caymus regular grapes come from the same acres as Caymus SS. The fact that they have no other name is semantics (and brand positioning maybe)
Please correct me if I am wrong on the origin of the grapes being the distinctive factor.
Your example of Arrowood is good bur wouldnt you say Grand Archer is 3rd label (new can of worms). Actually Arrowood is a bad example because I believe that the grapes comes from over 15 parcels and vary from year to year.
NO, NO, NO! By your definition of second labels you are correct, but your definition is wrong. I went to epicurean.com and this is the defintion of second labels:
A term used for winery- or château-produced wines that aren't the quality necessary to be bottled under the primary label. Such wines are generally made from grapes that are either from new vineyards or below top quality because of a substandard growing season. Although not usually as wonderful as primary-label wines, second-labels can be surprisingly good. Some examples of second labels in California include Liberty School from caymus vineyards and Hawk Crest from stag's leap wine cellars. Examples in bordeaux, where such wines are sometimes referred to as second wines, are Les Forts de Latour from château latour and Moulin-des-Carruades from château lafite-rothschild".
REGULAR bottlings when compared to Reserve tiers are NOT second labels. They are tiers within the SAME (primary) label. Please look at your CORRECT French examples above of second labels. Each of them has something in the winery name that makes it different from the primary winery. That is what a second label is. When wines from different tiers are bottled under the primary winery brand name, they are all first labels, just different tiers. It's when the brand name (winery name) is changed for wines sourced from the same area and bottled under another brand name (winery name on the label) for one reason or another, are they considered second labels.
It's not semantics. You have a somewhat correct understanding of second labels, but you want to lump in other wines that are not second labels. The term isn't as broad as you interpret.
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[This message was edited by IL Duce on Mar 04, 2004 at 08:58 PM.]