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Wine Glossary
 
At times, it is likely to get stranded by some of the geeky wine terms. To help you with that, we have complied following explanations of some of the Wine related terms.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | WXYZ

A Acetic Something that contains acetic acid. Acetic acid is a colourless acid with a pungent odour that is the main component of vinegar. All wines contain a little acetic acid (usually <0.10% by volume). Higher the acetic acid sharper it feels on the tongue.

Acidity It refers to the various acids present in the wine such as citric acid, malic acid, lactic acid and tartaric acid. These acids are essential to give desired taste, crispiness, balance and aging characteristics. Dispropotionately high acidity makes wine taste tart or saur and low acidity makes wine taste too flat.

Aftertaste Also referred to as Finish or Length by tasters. It is simply the sensory evaluation of the taste in your mouth and body after swallowing the wine.

Age In wine speak it merely means how old the wine is. Ideally wines should be drank at their oppropriate age i.e., when they get matured for drinking.

Aggressive A sharp wine with a biting taste - usually due to high acidity. Not a very desirable characteristic.

Aging Some fine wines are produced for drnking 2-20 years later. The process theses wines go through during the storage period is called aging. As a wine ages, it taste smoother as tannins get mellower. If stored in barrels, wine also picks up various subtle notes from the aging barrel.

Aging barrel A barrel/cask used to age wine.

Amaro A sweet, syrupy and bitter Italian after-dinner liquer. It comes in several varieties and Italians call it amaro alle erbe.

Angel's share The portion of a wine that is lost to evaporation during aging in oak barrels.

Anthocyanin Phenolic water-soluble pigments that give red wine its colour.

Aperitif An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

AppellationClassification system used to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown.

Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) French appellation system for identifying quality wines.

Aroma Usually refers to the smell of the younger wines.

Aromatic A wine having a pronounced spicy aroma.

Ascescence Wines high in acetic acid giving sharp sour taste.

Astringent Young red wines that are high in tannins leaving dry puckering sensation in the mouth.

Auslese a German wine term for a late harvest wine.

Austere A dry, hard and acidic wine that lacks balance. Usually a result of premature harvesting in cold regions.

Azienda Agricola An Italian farm where wine can be produced.

B Balance This refers to the balance between several essential components of wine such as surag, tannins, acid and alcohol. in a well-balanced wine, none of the components is dominant and various components complement each other to enhance the overall taste of the wine.

Barrique French term for a 225 litre Bordeaux style barrel.

Baume A measure of the sugar concentration in the wine.

Bentonite A type of clay used in wine clarification.

Big A full-bodied wine with an intense bouquet.

Blanc A white wine.

Blending Mixing two or more wines together to produce a well-balanced ready to bottle wine.

Blind Tasting Tasting wine without knowing.

Body This refers to the weight and feel of wine in the mouth. Wines could be described as either light-, medium- or full-bodied.

Botrytis cinerea A fungus or mould also known as noble rot that attacks grapes causing them to shrivel up and loose moisture. This gives complex dessert wines with higher sugar content such as Sauternes.

Bouquet Tasting term to describe the complexity of the smell of wines. As wines mature they develop Bouquet; as opposed to Aroma which is usually a characteristic of young wines.

Brandy Or Burnt Wine, a liquor made from distilled wine and aged in oak barrels. Used as an additive in fortified wines as a source of additional alcohol.

Brut A French term for extra extra dry champagne or sparkling wine.

Buttery A mild creamy taste as a result of yeasts breaking down the acids into softer ones. Typical characteristic of Chardonnay.

C Champagne A sparkling wine produced in Champagne, a northeastern region of France.

Cognac Grape brandy distilled in the Cognac district of France.

Complexity A characteristic of good wines with several layers of subtle aromas and flavours.

Crisp Pleasantly acidic wine giving feeling of freshness.

Cuvee French term used on wine labels to indicate a blend of several wines usually of the same vintage.

D Decanting Transfering wine from its bottle into a decanter (glass container) to separate the sediment from the wine and to aerate it.

Demi-sec French term for a medium dry wine.

Dessert Wine A sweet wine that is usually taken after the meal with dessert. The two popular categories of desser wines are - Fortified wines (Ports and Sherries) and late-harvest wines (Sauternes, Muscatel etc.)

Developed A wine that has improved or matured as a result of aging and is ready for drinking.

Dry Opposite of sweet; usually < 0.5% residual sugar.

E Earthy Wine tasting term suggesting odor or flavor of earth or soil.

Enology Also called oenology; the study of wine.

En Primeur When wines are purchased after the harvest but before bottling. Also called as Wine Futures.

Extra-dry A term used on labels of sparkling wines that are not brut. Simply put, Extra-dry refers to semi-dry for sparklings.

F Fermentation A natural process in which yeast causes grapes' sugar to break down into into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Finesse Usually used to describe distinctively elegant wines.

Finish See Aftertaste.

Firm Tasting term used for the wines with medium-high tannic and acidity.

Flat A negative term for insipid/dull wines with low acidity, hence lacking balance.

Flinty Watch this space!.

Fruity Tasting term for wines with fresh, sweet and fruity (apple, pear, banana, berries) character.

Full-Bodied A mouth-filling and heavy wine with high alcohol content.

G Green Pleasant freshness from Wines made of young green (unripe) grapes.

Grenache A red-wine grape widely grown in Spain, south of France and California.

H Hard Tasting term for wine containing unpleasantly high tannin.

Herbaceous Tasting term for describing herbal notes, typical of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.

Hogshead A wine barrel that holds approximately 63 gallons.

I Intricate Watch this space!

Imperial Watch this space!

J JeroboamA large bottle (three litres) equivalent of four regular wine bottles.

Jug Wine American term for table wine.

K Keg A small cask or barrel with a capacity of about 30 gallons.

Kosher Wine Wine produced according to Judaism's or Jewish dietary law.

L Lambrusco A lightly sparkling red wine from Lambrusco region in Italy made from the grape variety of the same name.

Lean An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Legs This tasting term refers to the streams of the wine on the side of the glass after swirling.

Length An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Light An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Lively An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Long An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Lush An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

M Maderized Tasting term to describe damage to the wine due to excessive oxidation. A maderized wine develops a brown or amber color and a stale odor.

Magnum Magnum is a wine bottle twice the normal size (1.5 litres).

Malbec Malbec is a native Bordeaux grape variety usually blended with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mature See Developed .

Médoc Red Bordeaux wine from the Médoc district of southwestern France.

N Noble Rot See Botrytis cinerea.

Nose It simply refers to the smell of the wine. Good nose means desirable smell and off-nose implies defective odors.

Nutty Watch this space!

O Oaky An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Off An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Off-dry An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Open An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Overripe An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Oxidised See Maderized.

P Palate An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Peppery .

Pétillant Refers to the very mild effervescence/sparkling characteristic in still wines such as Rieslings.

pH A scientific measure of acidity.

Phylloxera Worse enemy of grape vines; a microscopic underground insect that kills grape vines by attacking their roots.

Pressing The process of separating skins from grapes and extracting juice for wine making.

Q Quinta An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

R Racking Traditional method of separating wine from the sediment by moving it to another vessel

Reserva Spanish legal term for red wines that are aged for for atleast three year including, atleast one year in oak barrels.

Rich An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Ripe An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Robust An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Rough An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Round An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

S Sauternes Semi-sweet golden-colored table or dessert wine from around Bordeaux in France.

Sec French term for dry, however, in the case of Champagne it means sweet.

Smoky An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Soft An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Solera An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Sommelier French term for wine waiter; Expert in the art of selecting and serving wine.

Sparkling An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Spicy An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Structure An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Supple An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

T Table Wine Generally any wine that is not sparkling or fortified. In the US these wines must also be between 7% and 14% alcohol by volume.

Tannin An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Tart Tasting term for highly young acidic wines made from unripe grapes.

Tawny An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Terroir An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Texture An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Thin An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Tired An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

U Ullage Or headspace. The small unfilled space in the bottle between the top of the wine and the cork. The term also applies to the unfilled space in the barrel.

V Vanilla An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Varietal Wine made from a single grape variety.

Vermouth A fortified wine that has been flavoured with several herbs and spices.

Vin de Pays An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Vin de Table An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Viniculture Also known as Enology or Oenology. The art and science of making wine.

Vinifera Also called Vitis Vinifera, Eurpoe's native grape vine species.

Vinification The process of making grape into wine.

Vinous A simple wine lacking complexity.

Vintage The year in which the grapes were harvested to make the wine.

Vintner Wine merchant or someone related to wine trade.

Viticulture The science of cultivating and growing grapevines.

WXYZ Weight An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Woody Exhibiting aroma or taste of wood as a result of aging in wooden barrels.

Yeast An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Yield An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Young An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Zinfandel An alcoholic drink that is taken as an appetizer before a meal.

Zymology The science of fermenting grapes.


A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | WXYZ

Updated: Monday, October 8, 2007, 08:33 PM

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