Wine Words Demystified: Typicity

You know the deal, the more some folks learn about a topic, the more shortcuts/slang/acronyms/initials/technical jargon can be tossed around.  I’m here to help you understand those sometimes mysterious words and phrases, thus – Wine Words Demystified!

This week’s word/phrase is Typicity

According to Karen MacNeil‘s The Wine Bible:

A quality that a wine possesses if it is typical of its region and reflects characteristics of the grape variety from which it came…It has nothing to do with how good the wine tastes.  A wine can be quite delicious and nonetheless show no typicity. 

Typicity, which the venerable Jancis Robinson refers to as “typicality” is a controversial topic in the world of wine.  Proponents argue that a Pinot Noir should “Taste like a Pinot Noir”.  You may be thinking…um…why wouldn’t Pinot taste like Pinot.  An example might be if a significant amount of say Syrah we added for color, or other reasons.  And typicity can go beyond just taste.  For example, is that same Pinot, and inky color rather than a shade of ruby, or other color “typical” to Pinot?  Is it full-bodied, whereas Pinots tend toward being light, or medium-bodied?

Image courtesy of Pierrefeu


  1. Rich Meinecke says:

    In Burgundy, winemakers strive for typicity. They want to make a Volnay that tastes like Volnay and not like Pommard. It’s what they want to achieve.

    1. Rich – Thanks for your comment. It seems to me that typicity is more prevalent in the Old World than the New. I wonder If over time more New World wine will evolve in that direction

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