Welcome to our big Cuvée test 2021. Here we present all the cuvées we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet.
We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best Cuvée for you.
You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of if you want to buy a Cuvée.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important Facts
- 3 The Best Cuvée: Our Picks
- 4 Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a Cuvée
- 4.1 What is the origin and background of Cuvée ?
- 4.2 What is the difference between Cuvée, Verschnitt, Assemblage, Coupage, Gemischtem Satz and Blend ?
- 4.3 How is Cuvée made?
- 4.4 What does Cuvée cost ?
- 4.5 What alternatives are there to cuvées?
- 4.6 Do cuvées still exist in other foods and beverages?
- 5 What Types of Cuvée are there and which is the right one for you?
- 6 Buying Criteria: These are the Factors you can use to compare and evaluate Cuvées
- 7 Facts worth knowing about Cuvée
The most important Facts
- Cuvée (or also called blending) is a process, especially in wine and sparkling wine production, in which several grape varieties are mixed or blended into one wine or sparkling wine. The best cuvées are usually red wines and often come from France.
- Blending wines is nothing inferior, but quite normal in warm growing regions, as vines can only develop great complexity in a cool climate. Consequently, winegrowers from warm regions compensate for this deficiency by blending or assemblage.
- The shelf life of cuvées depends on various criteria and since you can choose from red, white, rosé and sparkling wines, you will have no problem finding a suitable cuvée for every meal and course. Good cuvées are available from 10 to 30 euros.
The Best Cuvée: Our Picks
Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a Cuvée
What is the origin and background of Cuvée ?
Such a result would otherwise only be possible, if at all, under ideal conditions in peak years.
It is important that the individual wines, which then form the cuvée at the end, are first pressed alone and only blended after maturing. Other synonyms for cuvée or blend are meritage or mélange (for further definitions see chapter 3.2).
There can be various reasons for a cuvée in the German-speaking sense:
- Normally, the aim is to obtain a final product that, in combination with a harmonious overall composition, is better than the respective individual wines together.
- But other reasons can also be that the winemaker wants to ensure a consistent quality or similar taste year after year, or that a wine variety once did not turn out so well and therefore exceptionally has to be corrected with other varieties.
In reality, you will find relatively few cuvées in the German-speaking wine-growing regions, as the vines here develop more complex flavours due to the cooler climate and can therefore be sold as single varieties without any problems.
This will also be the reason for the bad reputation of cuvées - but as this article will show, this is completely unfounded !
What is the difference between Cuvée, Verschnitt, Assemblage, Coupage, Gemischtem Satz and Blend ?
- Cuvée (in the French sense): Since the name actually comes from the French word cuve, which means "cuvée", it means "cuvée". Since the name actually comes from the French word cuve , which simply means container, cuvée in French is any separately bottled wine, which can be a blend or pure variety.
- Assemblage: The French equivalent of the German Verschnitt or, in other words, Assemblage is the synonym for Cuvée in the German-speaking sense.
- Gemischter Satz: The same as a cuvée in the German-speaking sense, but with the difference that the different grape varieties are pressed together in one barrel from the beginning .
- Blend: The English word for blend - for wines, but also for rum or whisky (cf. chapter 3.7).
Whenever you read Cuvée in this article, the German meaning or the French Assemblage is always meant.
How is Cuvée made?
After that, the winemaker can take samples and mix the different types of wine again and again with pipettes in hundreds of test series until he finally arrives at a first satisfactory result.
Since a cuvée represents a considerable risk for a winery, the house winemaker will in most cases not decide on the blend alone and conclusively, but instead consult external experts and professional colleagues.
Finally, the winemaker can then begin with the actual physical blending of the varieties.
What does Cuvée cost ?
Award-winning cuvées, on the other hand, cost about 30 to 50 euros, while award-winning wines from additionally well-known and strong brands can quickly cost up to 600 or 800 euros.
However, if you take a closer look at the offer of Weinfreunde.de, for example, you can see that you can also get award-winning cuvées for 5 to 20 euros without any problems, which will certainly satisfy you.
What alternatives are there to cuvées?
- France: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay (see also Chablis made from 100% Chardonnay), Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris
- Austria and Germany: Grüner Veltliner or Riesling
- Italy: Barolo, Barbaresco or Brunello
Do cuvées still exist in other foods and beverages?
- Beer: An example of a cuvée in beer is Geuze from Belgium, in which one-year-old lambic beer (also from Belgium) that has not yet fermented is combined with two- to three-year-old lambic beer and fermented again in the bottle. This produces carbonic acid, which is why all Geuzes also have a cork.
- Rum: Rums are often blended by filtering them or adding caramel or similar for sweetness. An example you might know is STROH rum from Austria, where rum is imported from sugar cane and then refined with flavourings (see picture below).
- Whisky: Whiskies are also often blends of different types of whisky from the same or different distilleries.
- Olive oil: As with wines, you can also blend different types of olive oil that complement each other sensorially. Traditionally, you could use renowned olive oil cuvées from Tuscany and Sicily, although you should avoid anonymous cuvées without any indication of the variety
What Types of Cuvée are there and which is the right one for you?
From which countries can you buy cuvée and how do the wines differ?
Since cuvée is a type of winemaking and not a specific grape, you can find cuvée wines - blends - all over the world.
Nevertheless, we would like to show you the country-specific regulations of Germany and France in detail - two countries from which you can buy cuvées in particular:
You have already read in the first question what is meant by cuvée in Germany (see chapter 3.1). Therefore, the focus here is on how you can recognise cuvées in Germany.
Germany is the only country in the EU that has specific regulations on this issue: it is stipulated that a cuvée may consist of exactly two grape varieties, which may then also be indicated separately on the bottle.
As soon as more than two grape varieties are contained in a wine, the indication of all varieties is no longer permitted.
In France, on the other hand, you will not find any wines that are clearly marked as blends - neither in the form of a quality title nor by indicating the varieties contained.
The reason for this is that wines in southern climates do not develop such complex aromas as in the cooler north and it is therefore indispensable or quite normal to combine the different flavour profiles of the various varieties and thus complete them.
In other words, practically all wines from France but also from Italy are cuvées or blends - which are not explicitly labelled as such.
For example, in the case of wines from the Bordelais, the blending of up to five individual varieties is permitted and all of the best wines from this region (cf. the quality label "Grand Cru" in chapter 5.1) are assemblages or cuvées.
With Châteauneuf du Pape from the Côte-d'Azure region, you will even find a French red wine with 13 (!) blends - in the picture, the wine barrels of a winery in this wine region (on the very back of the large wooden sign is written "Châeauneuf du Pape" and "depuis 1898", i.e. "since 1898").
But not only French top wines (e.g. from the Bordelais, i.e. the wine-growing region of Bordeaux), but also the 10 best wines in the world (you can find the detailed list here) are all cuvées, with the exception of Pétrus.
Exceptions in France are mainly Burgundy and Alsace, where primarily single-varietal wines are produced.
Other relevant wine-growing countries
While the situation in Italy, for example, is the same as in France, you will also find many cuvées from the New World and thus from countries such as the USA, Argentina, Chile or Australia, in addition to other European wine-growing countries.
What other growing regions can you pay particular attention to in the case of Cuvée?
Within the growing countries, you can also pay particular attention to these growing regions for Cuvées:
|Land||Interesting growing regions|
|German-speaking regions||Saxony and Vaud|
|France||Bordeaux (Bordelais), Languedoc and Rhône|
|Italy||Tuscany and Piedmont|
|Spain||Rioja and Priorat|
The absolute best wines of the Bordelais can be found in the sub-regions of Pomerol, Pauillac and Médoc.
In the Rhône region, you should pay particular attention to wines from the Côtes du Rhône (i.e. the slopes of the Rhône) and Châteauneuf du Pape.
Finally, in Tuscany, the Chianti region is particularly noteworthy (also with regard to cuvées).
What Types of Cuvée wines can you choose from?
In general, you can also buy red wine and white wine cuvées, just as you can with varietal wines, and therefore we would like to present you with the possible combinations of the different types of wine that are particularly recommended:
For white wines, the focus is on Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Sauvignon Blanc is usually blended with Muscadelle or Sémillon (Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon are a special recommendation) and Chardonnay with Albana, Cortese or Favorita, for example.
|Sangiovese||Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Canaiolo and also Mammolo|
|Syrah||Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache|
|Cabernet Sauvignon||Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot|
|Merlot||Sangiovese and Tempranillo|
|Nebbiolo||Merlot and Cabernet Franc|
The most famous cuvée to remember here is the one between Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Rosés are often considered a separate category of wine, but they are actually red wines that have been pressed only slightly differently, so by definition a rosé cannot be a blending partner. However, if you were to buy very cheap rosés outside the EU, you would most likely get a cuvée of red and white wines.
To give you some orientation, however, we have looked through various rankings and picked out the best producers of cuvée white wines and cuvée red wines of recent years:
|Cuvée white wine producers||Cuvée red wine producers|
|Château Doisy Daëne (Les Landes des Graves, 15-40 euros)||Marie-Thérèse Chappaz (Valais, 20-40 euros)|
|Weingut Knipser (Pfalz, 10-20 euros)||Château Les Jonqueyres (Blaye, 20-40 euros)|
|Château Guiraud (Le Sud Gironde, 15-60 euros)||Weingut Wilker (Pfalz, 10-15 euros)|
|Weingut Alte Grafschaft (Franconia, 15-40 euros)||Château Les Jonqueyres (L'Estuaire, 20-60 euros)|
Which Cuvée champagnes and Cuvée sparkling wines are available?
In addition to wines, you can also choose from sparkling wine cuvées - be it a champagne from France or a sparkling wine from Germany.
The most important thing to know about champagne is that the word cuvée has a completely different meaning in France: There, the must (i.e. the unfermented grape juice) of the first pressing is also called cuvée.
Nevertheless, you will also find sparkling wines as a product type in this article, as both champagne and sparkling wine are practically always blended.
Single-varietal sparkling wines are not only in the minority, but the cuvée is so commonplace that a sparkling wine is usually not even explicitly labelled as a cuvée.
Specifically, sparkling wines are made by blending several non-bubbly wines together so that it has a consistent taste at the end.
In the case of champagnes, you will find blends of different varieties (practically always Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) as well as different qualities and vintages.
To give you an overview of excellent and affordable champagnes and sparkling wines, we have compiled a list of producers of French (cuvée) champagnes and German (cuvée) sparkling wines:
|Cuvée Champagne Producers||Cuvée Sparkling Wine Producers|
|Champagne Laurent-Perrier (Tours-sur-Marne, 20-40 euros)||Sekthaus Raumland (Rheinhessen, 15-40 euros)|
|Champagne Piper-Heidsieck (Reims, 20-40 euros)||Weingut Riffel (Rheinhessen, 20-40 euros)|
|Champagne Lanson (Reims, 15-40 euros)||Wageck Weine (Palatinate, 20-40 euros)|
|Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte (Chouilly, 15-20 euros)||Gut Hermannsberg (Nahe, 10-15 euros)|
|Champagne Montaudon (Reims Cedex, 15-20 euros)||Bischöfliche Weingüter Trier (Mosel, 10-15 euros)|
Practically the only single-varietal champagnes are Blanc de Blancs, made only from Chardonnay, and Blanc de Noir, made only from Pinot Meunier.
Varietally pure sparkling wines are made from Riesling, White and Grey Burgundy or Chardonnay in Germany, among others.
Buying Criteria: These are the Factors you can use to compare and evaluate Cuvées
In the following, we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate cuvées. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a particular Cuvée is suitable for you or not.
In summary, these are:
Quality seals and quality titles
Here is an overview of the most important Cuvée quality seals and titles for wines and sparkling wines:
- AOC and AOP: AOC is the former designation for AOP and means wines with a clearly definable origin that are rooted in local tradition. In Bordelais, however, the châteaus (i.e. the local vineyards) as well as their cru (i.e. growth) are more important (cf. "Grand Cru" below) .
- Tête de Cuvée, Tête de Vin: This is the champagne made only from cuvée (must).
- Grand Cru: In Bordelais, this designation does not refer to individual wines but to the characteristics of an entire vineyard (château) and thus specifically means wines from the best vineyards in the Bordeaux wine region. In Champagne, on the other hand, classification is by commune, and since many champagnes are cuvées of wines from different communes, this designation is also rather rare there.
- Grand Vin: The best wine of the vintage of a large vineyard (primarily in the Bordelais).
- List of the most important wine-growing regions for quality wines: Nahe, Pfalz, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Nahe, Mosel, Württemberg and Franconia
- Großes Gewächs: The German equivalent of the French "Grand Cru".
Since the cuvée is ultimately only the production process and not an actual type of wine, the aroma of cuvées cannot be described in general terms.
Accordingly, it is best to simply choose a specific cuvée and then look up the aromas (you can find them in all online shops or, of course, ask the experts in the wine trade directly).
Goes with ..
Since cuvée is not a grape variety but a process, we have to distinguish between white wines, red wines, rosés and sparkling wines, whereby the same general rules apply to cuvées as to all other wines:
- (dry) fish risotto
- (dry) Chicken
- (sweet) pies
- Pasta with fish
- Veal and pork or red meat in general
- Risotto with meat
- (young) pasta with meat
- (light) mushroom risotto
- (dry) pasta with tomato sauce
- Oysters and scallops
- Crustaceans (lobster, prawns, etc.)
- White fish such as turbot, sea bass or sole
- Chicken, pork or veal
The sweetness level is the residual sugar content (the amount of sugar in the wine after the end of fermentation) of the wine, which, in contrast to the acidity level, increases continuously with the ageing period.
This depends on the food you want to serve (see the answer to the previous question) and on your preferences.
In Europe, the following names and categories apply to wines, ordered by decreasing residual sugar content :
- Sweet (French doux and Italian dolce): residual sugar content over 45 g/l
- Sweet or semi-sweet (French moelleux and Italian amabile): up to 45 g/l
- Semi-dry (French demi sec and Italian abbocato): from 12 to 18 g/l (depending on total acidity)
- Dry (french sec and italian secco): from 4 to 9 g/l (depending on total acidity)
The names and categories for sparkling wines, on the other hand, are as follows:
- Mild (French doux and Italian dolce): residual sugar content above 50 g/l
- Semi-dry (French demi-sec and Italian abbocato): from 32 to 50 g/l
- Dry (french sec and italian secco): from 17 to 32 g/l
- Extra dry (french extra dry and italian extra secco): from 12 to 17 g/l
- Tart (French brut and Italian bruto): less than 12 g/l
- Extra dry (French extra brut and Italian extra bruto): from 0 to 6 g/l
- Naturherb (french brut nature or dosage zéro and ital. dosaggio zero): less than 3 g/l
Facts worth knowing about Cuvée
How long can you keep or store Cuvée?
In general, you can store very sour, very sweet (here the sugar has a preserving effect) and wines with a high alcohol, sulphite or tannin content (also an acid) for a particularly long time. In addition, wines from old vines also have a longer shelf life.
However, most of today's cuvées come from young vines and are generally produced in such a way that you should drink them within two years. This also applies to champagnes without a vintage date.
Exceptions are, among others, all sweet wines, wines with more than 12.5 percent by volume, the varieties Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Syrah, Tannat as well as Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Rioja, Burgundy and Chianti (the latter 6 all contain many tannins).
Wines that are vinified in barriques also have a long shelf life because they contain at least 13 percent by volume.
Against this background, however, it is always a good idea to check the wine description or ask the wine shop how long your specific wine will keep for.
In addition, you should urgently remember to store your cuvée in the dark and, above all, horizontally , as this is the only way to constantly wet the cork with moisture and prevent oxygen from penetrating.
Otherwise, the wine would oxidise and become undrinkable. Exceptions to this rule are wines with artificial corks and screw caps, which you can also store vertically without any problems.
At what temperature is it best to drink your cuvée?
The general rule here is that white wines should not be drunk too cold and red wines not too warm, or in other words, the lighter the wine, the cooler you should drink it.
However, here is a detailed overview for white and red cuvées as well as champagne, sparkling wine and spumante:
|Type of wine||Optimal temperature|
|Champagne, sparkling wine and spumanti||about 5 degrees|
|Light white wines||8 to 10 degrees|
|Strong white wines||10 to 12 degrees|
|Light red wines||12 to 14 degrees|
|Heavy, intense and strong-aromatic red wines||15 to 18 degrees|
Depending on the cuvée you have found for yourself, slightly different optimal drinking temperatures apply. In any case, you should keep these things in mind:
- Make sure you chill it about 2 degrees more so that it won't already be too warm when you first start drinking it.
- It's best to take the white wine out of the fridge early, let it warm up to room temperature and then chill it down in the fridge, ice bucket, icebox or water bath with ice cubes - depending on how quickly you need it.
- If you haven't taken it out of the fridge in time, you can easily warm it up to the required temperature in a lukewarm water bath.
Image source: pixabay.com / PhotoMIX-Company