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The word “varietal” is among the most misused in wine. Many people think of it as a synonym for “grape,” as in, “What varietals are in that wine?” Not to be pedantic, but that is wrong. Varietal is not a noun, it is an adjective. One may properly refer to a “varietal wine,” like a cabernet sauvignon or a chardonnay, in which the wine is made with a dominant grape variety. This distinction pertains directly to our most recent topic, California grenache, in which we had one varietal wine, made entirely out of grenache, and two blends, in which grenache...

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