The characteristic in wine that gives it a refreshing taste, naturally present in grapes and extracted during the winemaking process.
The percentage of the total volume of ethanol in an alcoholic drink. Normally ranges from 7% to 14% abv (alcohol by volume).
Abbreviation for 'Appellation d'Origine Controlee' (AOC). France's top ranked wines, which must abide by stringent regulations to use this name on the label; defining grape varieties used, % blended, defined area and many more guidelines.
The official place name a wine comes from in France, controlled nationally,with stringent regulations to use this name on the label.
How a wine smells. Once referred to as 'bouquet', but now the common term used is aroma.
If all the components of a wine perfectly interact and none of the characteristics are overwhelming, e.g high alcohol level leaves a burning sensation in your mouth, or acidity levels etc; then the wine is said to be well balanced.
Small wooden barrel, used for ageing wines, with a capacity of 225 litres. The smaller the barrel, the more of the wine is in contact with the wood, therefore it takes on deeper oak flavours.
Wines made and processed using Biodynamic agricultural methods. The practice is on a spiritual and organic basis, using energy patterns, nature's cycles and the way in which the land works in harmony with the vines. Also advocates claim that the taste of wine is influenced by the Moon cycle and will taste different on each classified day of the Biodynamic calendar; divided into root, flower, fruit or leaf days.
French and Italian words, respectively, for white (wine).
Blended wine is wine that is made with either a mixture of different wines, or made with a mixture of juices from different grape varieties to make a final wine e.g. a Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot blend is a wine made from blending different quantities of each grape variety. Blends are made to improve the balance and/or the quality of the wine as each grape variety has different characteristics that bring something unique to the table, often producing a better overall wine. In the case of non-vintage Champagne, base wines are blended from different years (vintages) to produce a consistent 'house' style year on year.
In wine terms, this is expressed as light, medium or full-bodied. It is the weight, the 'mouth-feel' of the wine.
The latin word for rot, known also as 'noble rot' in the wine world. This fungus is a highly desirable form of rot, which infects the grapes in conditions of warmth and damp humidity. It literally 'sucks' the water content from the grape leaving a dried up grape full of concentrated, unique flavours which are picked and used to make the best, lucious, sweet wines of the world! e.g. Sauternes AC, Tokaji etc.
Means 'dry'. Used to describe the style of certain sparkling wines and Champagne.
A red winemaking process whereby whole bunches of grapes are fermented, under a cover of carbon dioxide. The grapes are not pressed or broken as would be usual. Fermentation therefore occurs within the grapes themselves and produces highly fruity, light wines with low tannins. A good example of a wine made in this way is Beaujolais Nouveau.
Word or container used for 12 standard bottles of wine or 6 magnums.
The process whereby the final alcohol level of a wine is increased by adding more sugar to the must during fermentation. The sugar is what converts to alcohol. This process is required with some wines grown in cooler climates, as the grapes have difficulty reaching their full ripeness and therefore their full alcoholic capacity is not reached, as all the sugar has not been converted.
A Bordeaux wine estate. The vineyard may or may not have a grand house present.
The English term for Bordeaux red wines. It's origins come from the 12 Century when Bordeaux was owned by the British Empire and the wines were known as 'Clairet'.
Originally a French word, now used elsewhere, it is used to define a vineyard surrounded by a wall. In a walled vineyard, the vines would be sheltered from the wind and receive increased sunshine and heat. An example of a very famous walled vineyard, is Clos du Mesnil. This is the only single 'walled' vineyard in Champagne, and is owned by Krug.
When wine has a musty and mouldy smell it is corked. This is caused by a contaminated cork. NOT the bits of cork floating in your glass if you broke it!
French word for 'hillside,' e.g. Cotes du Rhone means 'the hillsides of the river Rhone'.
French word for 'growth'. One of particular quality e.g. Premier Cru means 'first growth'. Also it is used for the name of an individual vineyard.
The French word for the wine made from the contents of a specific vat. For example, the juices in this vat could be the first pressings of a particular grape, producing their top ranked wine. Or is means 'a blend'.
Pouring wine from the bottle into a separate vessel, e.g. a glass decanter. This aerates the wine, allowing further flavours to develop as the oxygen comes into contact with the wine. Decanting benefits some red and white wines (especially young ones), those with a sediment and vintage ports. With very aged wines, nearing their demise after decades in the bottle, it is extremely detrimental to decant them as when the oxygen hits the wine, this can cause any remaining flavours to be lost altogether!
Abbreviation for 'Denominación de Origen' and 'Denominação de Origem', Spain and Portugal respectively, top ranked wine category. It's the name of the place they originate and must adhere to stringent regulations to use this name on the label; defining grape varieties used, minimum ageing periods, % grape varieities blended, defined area and many more.
Abbreviation for 'Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantia. This is the Italians top ranked wine classification. It's the name of the place the wine originates and must adhere to stringent regulations to use this name on the label; defining grape varieities used, % grape varieties blended, defined area and many more.
French word meaning a wine estate, used in the Burgundy region.
Word used to describe the style of wine. but in wine terms it means specifically 'not sweet' therefore ALL wines which are not sweet wines are classified as dry. It doesn't mean they will tasted dry!
Term found on the label of particular wines, meaning sweet. Spanish, Italian and French word respectively.
A German sweet wine, made from grapes which are frozen on the vine. They are picked by hand in freezing temperatures and the juice is extracted, minus the frozen water content which is separated, producing highly sweet, lucious, rich wines.
In Bordeaux, France, these sales are the first buying opportunity before the wine is actually bottled. The wine is usually released to buy in tranches, following critics tastings, to hopefully boost sales value. It is risky to buy wines like this but a huge potential investment as the wine's value could increase considerably by the time it is released. This process also assists the Chateaux financially, as it is expensive to age and store these wines for many years until they reach their minimum optimum drinking time.
Often seen on labels especially from the New World. It states that the wine is bottled in the same vineyard(s)/Estate, to which it was grown.
The natural process which turns the sugar in the grapes into alcohol. Yeast is the enzyme 'trigger' that sets off this chemical process. glucose = ethanol + carbon dioxide Carbon dioxide is the by-product of fermentation and in the process of making Champagne, for example, this carbon dioxide is 'trapped' or dissolved back into the wine, as the second fermentation takes place inside the bottle and it has nowhere else to go. This is what creates the bubbles! Also the same process is used for making bread- the carbon dioxide is trapped in the dough to make it rise.
Some wines have particles suspended in them which makes the wine appear cloudy, created during the winemaking process. Years ago, wine was drank like this. Fining agents are now added e.g. betonite, albumen, isinglass etc, to remove these particles by creating a sediment which can easily be removed, thus producing the clear wines we know and love today.
Wine that has had extra alcohol (spirit) added to it throughout its making process. Examples of wines made this way are Sherry and Port.
The joining together of two vine plants, one with a bud on it and one with a root. They are bound together, 'grafted', and become one new plant. This method saved the vineyards of Europe when the Phylloxera disease spread and killed most of the vines in the 19th Century. The varieties we know today were cut and grafted onto American vine roots (called rootstocks), which were disease resistant as this is where the disease came from. They therefore had built in immunity to the disease. This enabled the European vines to flourish again under their newly attained immunity.
The resultant new vine variety from crossing of one vine variety with another (see grafting).
The artificial watering of vines by many different methods (if insufficient rainfall or water saved from rainfall). Commonly used in the New World and until recently, it was banned in Europe which caused even more variation on vintage.
The sediment which is deposited at the bottom of the tank, cask or bottle ( in reference to second fermentation within the bottle in Champagne). This sediment is made up of the dead yeast cells, all used up after fermentation has taken place. Often, wines are left to stand on their lees, which adds a complex flavour to the wines.
When you swirl the wine in your glass and allow it to rest, the 'legs' are what you see falling at intervals down the inside of the glass. (Sometimes these are called tears, but how can anything be sad related to a glass of wine?!). These are not, as commonly believed, to indicate the alcoholic content of the wine, but are purely indicative of the evaporation rate of the alcohol in the wine.
The impression your mouth feels when the flavours of a wine remain in your mouth. The longer this continues, the better the wine. Usually noticeable in fine wines.
This mixture of wine, sugar and yeast is the trigger to set off second fermentation within the sparkling wine/Champagne process. It is added to the bottle, sealed and then this second fermentation takes place, with a by-product of carbon dioxide, which dissolves into the wine making bubbles.
When wines are aged in a cask or once they are in the bottle, to attain their optimum drinking period they need to mature. Flavours develop over time and some fine wines don't reach maturation for over 20 years or more!
The pulped grapes, mashed up, before fermentation takes place and the grape juice becomes wine.
Newer wine producing countries, all outside of Europe. These countries embrace modern techniques and technology and generally produce fruiter wines e.g. Australia, California, New Zealand, South Africa. It is also known as an 'attitude', one taking on new ideas and modern thought to winemaking.
(see Botrytis Cinerea)
Term used in Champagne and sparkling wines. These are wines not produced in a particular, special year (vintage) and are made by blending base wines from different years to release a consistent, atypical style of the producer/house.
These flavours in a wine are toasty, vanilla and smoky.They are added to the wine either by maturing in oak barrels (the newer and the smaller the barrels, the more oak flavour is imparted into the wine as more wine is in contact with the wood), or by oak chips which is a cheaper method.
The scientific study of wine.
Wine which is made from grapes which are farmed organically, not using man-made fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides etc.
The dreaded insect that feeds on the roots of the vines, destroying many species, particularly European vines (Vitis Vinifera). It originated in America and in the 19th Century it spread throughout Europe virtually destroying all the vineyards (see 'grafting'). Grafting onto American rootstocks is the only known way to prevent destruction from this as they have developed immunity.
The abbreviation for Qualitatswein bestimmter Anbaugebiet (QbA) and Qualitatswein mit Pradikat (QmP). These are the top classifications for German wines, the latter being unable to be enriched with sugar (thus increasing the alcohol content) and is only allowed to be from one grape variety.
The Portuguese word for a wine estate.
A dried grape. It is actually the French word for grape.
Portuguese, Spanish and Italian word, respectively, for wines which have been aged in barrel or bottle for a specific, minimum, legal time period. These vary from country to country and are often exceeded at the discretion of the producer.
A word which has no legal meaning or stipulations imposed upon a wines grape growing, winemaking or maturing process. It is purely used as a marketing tool. It is usually, however, used to refer to a higher quality wine from a particular producer/vineyard, but this cannot and is not guaranteed.
The process in sparkling wine production (including Champagne), where the sediment deposited by the second fermentation in the bottle (the 'lees'), is removed by a quick shake and turn each day, by hand, or by a machine called a gyropalette. This is done until the sediment reaches the neck of the bottle (the bottle will then be upside down), whereby it can be removed swiftly and the bottle re-corked. This is a traditional process and only occurs in the traditional sparkling wine and Champagne methods.
Spanish, Italian and French words for rosé wine.
Italian and French word for red wine.
French, Italian and Spanish words, respectively, for 'dry'.
Wine which has bubbles in it! These bubbles are carbon dioxide, dissolved into the wine either by second fermentation in a bottle, second fermentation in a tank or by carbonation. Fermentation: glucose = ethanol + carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the by-product when alcohol is produced and is either allowed to escape, in the case of still wines, or is trapped in sparklng wines to produce the bubbles.
Italian word for sparkling.
The word used to describe any wine without bubbles.
French phrase for wine which is allowed to mature on its 'lees' (see definition). This is the deposit of dead yeast cells left after fermentation. This imparts extra flavour into the wine, hence being left to rest on them for a period of time.
A chemical compound found in grape skins, stalks and pips. As red wine production uses the skins of the grapes to colour the wine, these tannins are expressed in red wines felt by a cheek or gum drying sensation in your mouth. Tannins preserve wine so they are of vital importance in the ageing process.
French word which has no direct translation. It is used for the description of what gives a wine a 'sense of place'. The certain 'je ne sais quoi' with which a wine can be sourced to it's homeland, it's specific vineyard, and is affected by many factors including climate, soil type, slope and a little magic! The French believe that a wine has a home, that is why they name their wines by place, rather by grape variety or brand.
Spanish and Portuguese word for red wine.
German word for 'dry'.
The space between the wine and it's container, either a bottle or a barrel. The space between the wine level and the cork, in the case of a bottle of wine. This empty space, ullage, increases in size over time.
A wine named after the sole grape variety (or dominant one if a blend), from which it was made.
Unbeknown to many vegetarians, most wine is filtered (see fining definition) and animal products are commonly used for this process, such as isinglass (from fish) and animal bone char. So if you are a true vegetarian or a vegan, then a little more care is required when choosing a wine to drink. There are many fantastic organic wines, which are mainly vegetarian, and also there are websites dedicated to this topic, listing wines to drink and supermarkets and merchants that stock them.
The French word defining the moment a grape begins to change colour, upon ripening. This is something growers look out for to gauge harvest time.
French word for wine.
The Portuguese, Spanish and Italian words for wine.
The year in which grapes were harvested. So vintage means the 'year', not a superior wine, as every wine is from a particular vintage! However, it is commonly applied to finer wines as these will have the vintage on the label.
The agricultural practice of growing grapes.
The single-celled organism that assists in the conversion of sugar into alcohol (fermentation), thus turning grape juice into wine.
The measure of productivity of a vineyard. However, the lower the yield of a wine (the least amount of grapes it produces), the more intense the flavours in the juice and therefore the better the quality of the wine. So less is definately more when it comes to winemaking!