What is a signature wine: everything you need to know
Do you know what a signature wine really is? We know that there are endless ways to classify a wine: depending on its colour (reds, whites, rosés), the grape variety (Chardonnay, Viura, Sauvignon Blanc, Grenache, Tempranillo, etc.), the ageing process (young, Crianza, Reserva, Gran Reserva), the quantity of sugar (dry, Demi-Sec, semi-sweet, etc.), etc. But how do we fit signatures into this framework?
Don’t forget to take a look at this special article all about what signature wines are, what sets them apart from other wines, how they’re made and what requirements they have to meet.
What is a signature wine?
Outside the world of wine, we also use the term “signature cuisine” to refer to products that intended to be particularly exclusive. This means that they are intended for a smaller and more specific audience. This is also the case for wines.
Signature wines are ones that have been thought out and crafted in unconventional ways to make them stand out from the rest.
You may be wondering whether this is not what all wines set out to do. Of course, all wineries are trying to brand their wines with creativity and uniqueness. However, in order to label a wine as a “signature wine”, it needs to meet certain requirements. Let's see what they are.
Features of a signature wine
Signature wines are much more creative than other wines, since they seek to embody the specific personality of the winery with an unprecedented essence. These are wines with their own identity that seek to stand out from the crowd.
However, even if they have more creative freedom in terms of properties and notes, they have some common features: These are the following:
Crafted by one or more oenologists
The figure of the oenologist plays a crucial role in crafting a signature wine. This is the person (or team in some cases) who is in charge of designing, directing and supervising all of the processes involved in creating the wine. This runs from growing, ageing and storing the wine.
Their main purpose is to apply all of their knowledge and experience to create an innovative and unique wine. They can play around with the flavours, aromas and different textures of the wine. As such, the wine laboratory is the perfect place for experimenting with personal creativity.
As we mentioned at the start, wineries generally make signature wines in much smaller batches than all other wines. Why do they do this? This is basically connected to specialisation and profitability. Remember that these wines are processed in a very specific and exhaustive way, which means that is very complicated to make them in large batches.
The estimated level of production for one batch of a signature could roughly range from a minimum of 2,000 bottles to a maximum of 25,000.
Due to the care and attention they need, these wines are of a much higher quality that all other wines at a winery, or at least this is what they set out to do.
More often than not, signature wines have more resources available to get the desired results, and they are made with grapes from the best vines. As such, it’s not hard to imagine how this fusion of creativity and constant innovation ends up in an optimum result.
How are signature wines made?
Is it possible to tell the exact way in which signature wines are made? For better or for worse, no, we can’t. At the end of the day, the unique personality of each winery plays a crucial role, which make it impossible to define a standard method.
Each brand follows its own pattern, always set by the winemaker. This means that fundamental aspects, such as the time spent in the barrel, will change from wine to wine. As such, in poetic terms, it’s a complete mystery.
What do you think? Make sure you keep on top of new concepts and enjoy wine like never before. If you still want to learn more about the world of wine, you’ll love these articles on the El Coto de Rioja blog. Check out our selection!