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The quality of wine that gives it its crispiness and vitality. A proper balance of acidity must be struck with the other elements of a wine, or else the wine may be said to be too sharp - having disproportionately high levels of acidity - or too flat - having disproportionately low levels of acidity.
A tasting term for a wine with overly pronounced acidity, this is often apparent in cheap red wines.
A tasting term for the taste left on the palate after wine has been swallowed.
A barrel, often made of oak, used to age wine or distilled spirits.
Generally refers to ethanol, a chemical compound found in alcoholic beverages. It is also commonly used to refer to alcoholic beverages in general.
The wine used by the Catholic Church in celebrations of the Eucharist.
Alternative wine closures
Various substitutes used in the wine industry for sealing wine bottles in place of traditional cork closures.
A type of ceramic vase, used for transporting and storing wine in ancient times.
The portion of a wine in an aging barrel that is lost to evaporation.
Phenolic pigments that give red wine its colour.
A geographical based term to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown.
The smell of a wine. The term is generally applied to younger wines, while the term Bouquet is reserved for more aged wines.
Abbreviation for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, a United States government agency which is primarily responsible for the regulation of wines sold and produced in the United States.
The harmonious relationship of the components of wine - acids, fruit, tannins, alcohol, etc. - resulting in a well proportioned, or well balanced, wine.
A hollow cylindrical container, traditionally made of wood staves, used for fermenting and aging wine. Sometimes called a cask.
The French name for a 225 litre Bordeaux style barrel.
A measure of the sugar concentration in the juice or wine.
A light sediment, chiefly mucilage, found in Port.
A type of clay used in wine clarification.
Wines produced by the principles of biodynamic agriculture.
Blanc de Blancs
A white wine, usually sparkling, made exclusively from white grapes, often Chardonnay.
Blanc de Noirs
A white wine, usually sparkling, made from red grapes.
a red wine grape of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The mixing of two or more different parcels of wine together by winemakers to produce a consistent finished wine that is ready for bottling. Laws generally dictate what wines can be blended together, and what is subsequently printed on the wine label.
Tasting and evaluating wine without knowing what it is.
A Spanish wine cellar. Also refers to a seller of alcoholic beverage.
The sense of weight imparted by a wine to the mouth of a taster. A wine may be light- or full-bodied.
See Noble rot.
A bottle is a small container with a neck that is narrower than the body and a 'mouth.' Modern wine bottles are nearly always made of glass because it is nonporous, strong, and aesthetically pleasing.
Also known as bottle-sickness, a temporary condition of wine characterized by muted or disjointed fruit flavors. It often occurs immediately after bottling or when wines (usually fragile wines) are shaken in travel. After several days the condition usually disappears.
The degree to which bottled wine of the same style and vintage can vary.
A tasting term for the complex aromas of an aged wine. The term is generally not applied to young wines.
Wine packaged in a bag usually made of flexible plastic and protected by a box, usually made of cardboard. The bag is sealed by a simple plastic tap.
See 'Burnt wine'.
A wine spoilage yeast that produces taints in wine commonly described as barnyard or band-aids.
Describes a wine that has high clarity, very low levels of suspended solids.
A measurement of the dissolved sucrose level in a wine.
A extra dry.
A stopper used to seal a bottle or barrel. Commonly used term for corks.
Another name for Brandy, a liquor made from distilled wine. It is often the source of additional alcohol in fortified wines.
An old English unit of wine casks, equivalent to about 477 litres (126 US gallons/105 imperial gallons).
Cabernet Sauvignon is a variety of red grape mainly used for wine production, and is, along with Chardonnay, one of the most widely-planted of the world's noble grape varieties.
California cult wines
Certain California wines for which consumers and others pay higher prices than those of Bordeaux's First Growths (Premiers Crus).
The plastic or foil that covers the cork and part of the neck of a wine bottle.
A winemaking practice of fermenting whole grapes that have not been crushed.
To age wine for the purpose of improvement or storage. Cellaring may occur in any area which is cool (12-15°C), dark, free from drastic temperature change, and free from vibrations. Bottled wines are typically cellared on their sides.
A piece of stemware having a long stem with a tall, narrow bowl on top.
A winemaking process where sugar is added to the must to increase the alcohol content in the fermented wine. This is often done when grapes have not ripened adequately.
A type of wine, one of the 'noble' white varietals.
The Charmat or bulk process is a method where sparkling wines receive their secondary fermentation in large tanks, rather than individual bottles as seen in Méthode champenoise.
Generally a winery in Bordeaux, although the term is sometimes used for wineries in other parts of the world, such as the Barossa Valley.
British name for Bordeaux wine. Is also a semi-generic term for a red wine in similar style to that of Bordeaux.
A winemaking process involving the fining and filtration of wine to remove suspended solids and reduce turbidity.
In Australia, wine bottled without a commercial label, usually sold cheaply in bulk quantities.
A mixture of red and white sparkling wine that has a high sugar content.
A winemaking process where wine is chilled to near freezing temperatures for several weeks to encourage the precipitation of tartrate crystals.
A wine bottle stopper made from the thick outer bark of the cork oak tree.
A type of wine fault describing undesirable aromas and flavours in wine often attributed to mould growth on chlorine bleached corks.
A tasting term for a wine that has cork taint.
A tool, comprising a pointed metallic helix attached to a handle, for drawing Corks from bottles.
See 'Fruit wine'.
Semi-sparkling wine; slightly effervescent. Also called frizzante.
French sparkling wine not made in Champagne region.
Sediment, generally potassium bitartrate, that adheres to the inside of a wine bottle.
Wines for which committed buyers will pay large sums of money because of their desirbility and rarity.
A large vat used for fermentation.
The pressing, or a blending of several wines.
The process of pouring wine from its bottle into a decanter to separate the sediment from the wine.
The disgorging or removal of sediment from bottles that results from secondary fermentation.
Moderately sweet to medium sweet sparkling wines.
Varies by region. In the UK, a very sweet, low alcohol wine. In the US by law, any wine containing over 15% alcohol.
The process of separeting red must from pomace, which can happen before or after fermentation.
Diurnal temperature variation
The degree of temperature variation that occurs in a wine region from daytime to night.
1. The abbreviation for Denominación de Origen, or 'place name.' This is Spain's designation for wines whose name, origin of grapes, grape varieties and other important factors are regulated by law. 2. The abbreviation for dissolved oxygen, the degree of oxygen saturation in a wine, which strongly affects oxidation of the wine and its ageing properties.
The abbreviation for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, or 'controlled place name.' This is Italy's designation for wine whose name, origin of grapes, grape varieties and other important factors are regulated by law. It is also the abbreviation for Portugal's highest wine category, which has the same meaning in that country.
The abbreviation for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, or controlled and guaranteed place name, which is the category for the highest-ranking wine in Italy.
The French word for sweet. Usually refers to the sweetest category of sparkling wines.
A wine accessory that slips over the neck of a wine bottle and absorbs any drips that may run down the bottle after pouring - preventing stains to table cloths, counter tops or other surfaces.
Wines with zero or very low levels of residual sugar. The opposite of sweet, except in sparkling wines, where dry means sweet.
German for ice wine, a dessert wine made from frozen grapes.
French for 'in pulling', refers to the period of time in which bottled sparkling wine is rested in contact with lees generated during secondary fermentation. Part of the Méthode Champenoise process.
American English spelling of oenology, the study of wine.
A United States winery license allowing farms to produce and sell wine on-site, sometimes known as a Farm winery.
A champagne or sparkling wine with a small amount of residual sugar (slightly sweet). Not as dry as Brut.
A United States winery license allowing farms to produce and sell wine on-site.
An unpleasant characateristic of wine resulting from a flaw with the winemaking process or storage conditions.
The conversion of grape sugars to alcohol by yeast.
The straw-covered flask historically associated with Chianti.
A term that originated in California during the mid 1980s to refer to any inexpensive cork-finished varietal wine in a 1.5 liter bottle.
A clarification process where flocculants, such as bentonite or egg white, are added to the wine to remove suspended solids.
A tasting term for the lingering aftertaste after a wine has been swallowed.
Tasting term used to indicate a wine lacking in structure, often marked by low acidity.
A glass bottle that holds two litres of (usually inexpensive) table wine.
The yeast responsible for the character of dry Sherries.
Wine to which alcohol has been added, generally to increase the concentration to a high enough level to prevent fermentation.
A tasting term for the musty odor and flavor of wines made from Vitis labrusca grapes native to North America.
Juice obtained from grapes that have not been pressed.
The main component of the wine, usually grape but other fruits are also used to make wine, such as pear, plum, etc. Often mentioned when the fruit isn't grown in the same site as the winery, such as 'the wine is produced here on-site, but the fruit is purchased from a vineyard upstate.'
A fermented alcoholic beverage made from non-grape fruit juice which may or may not include the addition of sugar or honey. Fruit wines are always called 'something' wines (e.g., plum wine), since the word wine alone is often legally defined as a beverage made only from grapes.
Gewürztraminer is a white wine grape variety from the wine producing region of Alsace in France.
Globalization of wine
Refers to the increasingly international nature of the wine industry, including vineyard management practices, winemaking techniques, wine styles, and wine marketing.
The free-run or pressed juice from grapes. Unfermented grape juice is known as 'must.'
The harvesting of green (unripe) grapes in an attempt to increase the yield of quality grapes.
A red wine grape of the Rhone Valley of France, and elsewhere (especially Spain). In the southern Rhone, Grenache replaces Syrah as the most important grape (Syrah being more important in the north).
A tasting term for a wine that containins too much tannin and is therefore unpleasant. Hard wines often take a long time to mature.
A metric measure that equals 10,000 mÂ² (2.471 acres).
Term for Rhine wines, usually used in England.
A wine barrel that holds approximately 239 litres (63 gallons).
Wine made from frozen grapes. Called eiswein in German.
Abbreviation for 'Indicazione Geografica Tipica', the lowest-ranking of the three categories of Italian wine regulated by Italian law.
A large bottle holding three litres, the equivalent of four regular wine bottles.
American term for inexpensive table wine.
Wine that is produced under the supervision of a rabbi so as to be ritually pure or clean. Although commonly sweet, it need not be so.
Late harvest wine
Also known as late picked, wine made from grapes that have been left on the vine longer than usual. Usually an indicator for a very sweet or dessert wine.
Wine sediment that occurs during and after fermentation, and consists of dead yeast, grape seeds, and other solids. Wine is separated from the lees by racking.
The tracks of liquid that cling to the sides of a glass after the contents have been swirled. Often said to be related to the alcohol or glycerol content of a wine. Also called tears.
A tasting term for a wine that has had long exposure to Ultraviolet light causing 'wet cardboard' type aroma and flavour. metric measure of volume equal to 33.8 fluid ounces (U.S.) or 35.2 fl oz (imperial).
A tasting term for the casual sensory evaluation of a wine.
The contact of grape skins with the must during fermentation, extracting phenolic compounds including tannins, anthocyanins, and aroma.
A wine showing oxidation. Sometimes used to describe white wine that has been kept long past its prime.
A bottle holding 1.5 litres, the equivalent of two regular wine bottles.
Also known as malo or MLF, a secondary fermentation in wines by lactic acid bacteria during which tart tasting malic acid is converted to softer tasting lactic acid.
French for 'fruit skins'. See 'pomace'.
Master of Wine
A qualification (not an academic degree) conferred by The Institute of Masters of Wine, which is located in the United Kingdom.
A light German wine flavored with sweet woodruff in addition to strawberries or other fruit.
A wine-like alcoholic beverage made of fermented honey and water rather than grape juice.
Merlot is a variety of wine grape used to create a popular red wine.
Process whereby sparkling wines receive a second fermentation in the same bottle that will be sold to a retail buyer. Compare with Charmat or bulk fermented.
A large bottle holding six litres, the equivalent of eight regular wine bottles.
The controlled exposure of wine to small amounts of oxygen in the attempt to reduce the length of time required for maturation.
A tasting term for the feel and taste of a wine when held in the mouth.
A French term referring to a viticultural problem in which grape bunches contain berries of greatly differing size and levels of maturity. Caused by cool weather during flowering.
Mis en bouteille au château
French for 'bottled at the winery', usually in Bordeaux.
Wine that is spiced, heated, and served as a punch.
Unfermented grape juice, including pips, skins and stalks.
The level of fermentable sugars in the must and the resultant alcohol content if all the sugar was converted to ethanol.
A large bottle holding 15 litres, the equivalent of 20 regular wine bottles.
French for 'trader'. A wine merchant who assembles the produce of smaller growers and winemakers and sells the result under its own name.
New World wine
Wines produced outside of the traditional wine growing areas of Europe and North Africa.
Another name for the Botrytis cinerea mould that can pierce grape skins causing dehydration. The resulting grapes produce a highly prized sweet wine, generally dessert wine.
A tasting term for the aroma or bouquet of a wine.
Small pieces of oak wood used in place of oak barrels in fermenting and/or ageing wine.
The science of wine and winemaking.
A wine aficionado or connoisseur.
A wine that has the barest hint of sweetness; a slightly sweet wine in which the residual sugar is barely perceptible.
Wine produced from vines that are notably old.
Old World wine
Wines produced inside of the traditional wine growing areas of Europe and North Africa.
An acronym for 'potential hydrogen' a measure of acidity. The lower the pH, the higher the acidity.However pH is actually a shorthand for its mathematical approximation: in chemistry a small p is used in place of writing - log10 and the H here represents [H+], the concentration of hydrogen ions.
A microscopic underground insect that kills grape vines by attacking their roots.
A cask holding two hogsheads or 126 U.S. gallons of wine.
A proposal for enhancing the economic status of the wine industry in Bordeaux.
British English slang for an inexpensive bottle of wine. The term is thought to originate from the French word for white wine, 'blanc'.
The skins, stalks, and seeds that remain after making wine. Also called marc.
A sweet fortified wine, which is produced from grapes grown and processed in the Douro region of Portugal. This wine is fortified with the addition of distilled grape spirits in order to boost the alcohol content and stop fermentation thus preserving some of the natural grape sugars. Several imitations are made throughout the world.
The legal name for a true Port wines sold in the United States since imitation ports may be labeled as a 'port' there .
A wine stabilizer and preservative.
Refers to the alcohol content of a beverage. In the United States, proof represents twice the alcohol content as a percentage of volume. Thus, a 100 proof beverage is 50% alcohol by volume and a 150 proof beverage is 75% alcohol. In the Imperial system, proof, (or 100% proof), equals 57.06% ethanol by volume, or 48.24% by weight. Absolute or pure ethanol is 75.25 over proof, or 175.25 proof.
A wine barrel that holds approximately 84 U.S. gallons (318 litres) .
The indentation found in the base of a wine bottle. Punt depth is often thought to be related to wine quality, with better quality wines having a deeper punt.
A designation of better quality German wines.
Qualitätswein bestimmter Anbaugebiete
A designation of better quality German wines from recognized viticultural areas.
Qualitätswein mit Pradikat
A designation of best quality German wines that must conform to specific requirements of origin and composition.
The process of drawing wine off the sediment, such as lees, after fermentation and moving it into another vessel.
A large bottle holding 4.5 litres, the equivalent of six regular wine bottles.
Spanish and Portuguese term for a reserve wine.
A term given to wine to indicate that it is of higher quality than usual.
Also known as RS, the level of sugar that remains unfermented in a wine. See also sweetness of wine.
A process used to remove excess alcohol from wine made from intentionally overripe grapes.
Also known as 'Rémuage' in degorgement. Part of the Méthode Champenoise process.
Also known as White Riesling in countries outside of Germany. Riesling is a variety of grape used to make white wine. It is grown mainly in Germany, where the relatively cold climate enables it to produce grapes for some of the best white wines in the world. Riesling, however, is used for high quality wines also in Austria and can be found in countries like Australia, South Africa and Canada as well. Riesling is famous for its vivid acidity and fruitiness both in the nose and on the palate.
Pink wines that are produced from the shortened contact of red wine juice with its skins, reducing the red colour of the wine. These wines can also be made by blending a small amount of red wine with white wine.
A style of Port wine that is generally sweet.
An early English term for what is now called Sherry.
A large bottle holding nine litres, the equivalent of 12 regular wine bottles.
A tart punch made from red wine along with orange, lemon and apricot juice with added sugar.
An alternative to cork for sealing wine bottles, comprising a metal cap that screws onto threads on the neck of a bottle. Also called a 'Stelvin'.
French for dry, except in the case of Champagne, where it means sweet.
German sparkling wine.
Wines made in the United States but named after places that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau requires be modified by a US name of geographic origin. Examples would be New York Chablis, Napa Valley Burgundy or California Champagne.
A fortified wine that has been subjected to controlled oxidation to produce a distinctive flavor.
Shiraz or Syrah is a variety of grape used to make red wine.
A process used to systematically blend various vintages of Sherry.
A trained wine expert that often works in fine restaurants.
Effervescent wine containing significant levels of carbon dioxide.
A wine bottle that holds approximately 6 oz (175-187 mL) or one-fourth the equivalent of a typical 750 mL bottle; a single-serving.
Italian for 'sparkling'. Generally any sparkling wine from Italy, although producers of Franciacorta (wine) have recently started stating that Franciacorta is not a 'spumante'.
German for 'late harvest'.
A brand of screwcap.
Wine that is not sparkling wine.
A production method of artificially mellowing wine by exposing it to heat.
Compounds (typically: potassium metabisulfite or sodium metabisulfite) which are added to wine to prevent oxidation and microbial spoilage.
A substance used in winemaking as a preservative.
Sweetness of wine
Defined by the level of residual sugar in the final liquid after the fermentation has ceased. However, how sweet the wine will actually taste is also controlled by factors such as the acidity and alcohol levels, the amount of tannin present, and whether the wine is sparkling.
Syndicat des Vins de Bordeaux et Bordeaux Superieur
An organisation representing the economic interests of wine producers in Bordeaux.
Generally any wine that is not sparkling or fortified. In the US these wines must also be between 7% and 14% alcohol by volume.
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