cépage Noun, masculine
(a) (type of) vine, =grape variety; il connaît tous les ~s he knows all the different types of wine
I first heard the term cépage as part of a particular wine release. The translation the friendly winery droid provided was "family," which as a romantic I prefer over "grape variety." I think it makes the concept easier to understand when you try to wrap your head around how the syrah in your glass from the Wahluke Slope of Washington is related to the shiraz of Australia, or the syrahs of the Rhone. I've been rather fond of late of getting to know these families in more detail, by chasing them through all of their iterations, geographies and terroirs. My goal is to find those threads that tie them together to their "relations" - what are the things that you can still identify no matter where it comes from, no matter what winemaking techniques are applied?
Why not get to know your wine's family better? It's high time you were introduced. Take the wines you like, the wines you are drinking, and identify what family they come from - cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, temperanillo, sangiovese - and see if you can find other branches of the family to get to know. Maybe you'll find the mischievous cousin, the overbearing uncle, the comedian father, the flirty aunt. Families are amazing, don't ya think?