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Typicity (French typicité, Italian tipicità) is a term in wine tasting used to describe the degree to which a wine reflects its varietal origins and thus demonstrates the signature characteristics of the grape from which it was produced, e.g., how much a Merlot wine “tastes like a Merlot”. It is an important component in judging wine competition when wines of the same variety are judged against each other.[1]

In some countries, such as Austria, typicity is used as part of a qualitative hierarchy that takes into consideration soil, climate and vintage. A similar concept to the French terroir, though slightly less controversial, Austrian Qualitätswein (literally "quality wine") is tested for typicity with the classification printed on the wine label.[2]

As a concept, typicity relies on both historical precedent and a sentiment of what the present-day majority view how a certain variety should “taste”. This can be considered a subjective and unreliable way to measure wine,[1] opening the door to elitism with what has been criticized by some, such as Sean Thackrey, as viticultural racism.[3]


  1. ^ a b J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 716 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0-19-860990-6
  2. ^ J. Robinson (ed) "The Oxford Companion to Wine" Third Edition pg 54 Oxford University Press 2006 ISBN 0-19-860990-6
  3. ^ Allan Bree "An Afternoon with Sean Thackrey" Califusa's Archive, Gang of Pour Accessed: October 15th, 2008