The federal government defines an aperitif wine as "one with an alcoholic content of not less than 15 percent, made from grape wine containing addded brandy or other distilled spirits. These wines are flavored with various herbs and other natural aromatic flavoring materials and possess the aroma, taste, and characteristics generally attributed to an aperitif wine."


An aperitif wine usually opens lunch or dinner, is sweet in taste and stimulates and cleans the palate. The French government mandates that aperitifs be produced at least 80 percent from wine with an alcoholic strength of at least ten percent before alcohol is added to raise the strength to between 16 and 19 percent.


Aperitifs are usually grouped into categories depending on the nautre of their base ingredient.


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