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Wine companion - Wine terms
Category: Food and Drink > Wine
Date & country: 26/11/2007, UK
Words: 247


Acidity
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.

Acrid
A tasting term for a wine with overly pronounced acidity, this is often apparent in cheap red wines.

Aftertaste
A tasting term for the taste left on the palate after wine has been swallowed.

Aging barrel
A barrel, often made of oak, used to age wine or distilled spirits.

Alcohol
Generally refers to ethanol, a chemical compound found in alcoholic beverages. It is also commonly used to refer to alcoholic beverages in general.

Altar wine
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.

Amphora
A type of ceramic vase, used for transporting and storing wine in ancient times.

Angel's share
The portion of a wine in an aging barrel that is lost to evaporation.

Anthocyanin
Phenolic pigments that give red wine its colour.

Appellation
A geographical based term to identify where the grapes for a wine were grown.

Aroma
The smell of a wine. The term is generally applied to younger wines, while the term Bouquet is reserved for more aged wines.

ATF
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.

Balance
The harmonious relationship of the components of wine - acids, fruit, tannins, alcohol, etc. - resulting in a well proportioned, or well balanced, wine.

Barrel
A hollow cylindrical container, traditionally made of wood staves, used for fermenting and aging wine. Sometimes called a cask.

Barrique
The French name for a 225 litre Bordeaux style barrel.

Baumé
A measure of the sugar concentration in the juice or wine.

Beeswing
A light sediment, chiefly mucilage, found in Port.

Bentonite
A type of clay used in wine clarification.

Biodynamic wine
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.

Blatina
a red wine grape of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Blending
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.

Blind tasting
Tasting and evaluating wine without knowing what it is.

Bodega
A Spanish wine cellar. Also refers to a seller of alcoholic beverage.

Body
The sense of weight imparted by a wine to the mouth of a taster. A wine may be light- or full-bodied.

Botrytis cinerea
See Noble rot.

Bottle
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.

Bottle shock
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.

Bottle variation
The degree to which bottled wine of the same style and vintage can vary.

Bouquet
A tasting term for the complex aromas of an aged wine. The term is generally not applied to young wines.

Box wine
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.

Brandy
See 'Burnt wine'.

Brettanomyces
A wine spoilage yeast that produces taints in wine commonly described as barnyard or band-aids.

Bright
Describes a wine that has high clarity, very low levels of suspended solids.

Brix
A measurement of the dissolved sucrose level in a wine.

Brut
A extra dry.

Bung
A stopper used to seal a bottle or barrel. Commonly used term for corks.

Burnt wine
Another name for Brandy, a liquor made from distilled wine. It is often the source of additional alcohol in fortified wines.

Butt
An old English unit of wine casks, equivalent to about 477 litres (126 US gallons/105 imperial gallons).

Cabernet Sauvignon
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).

Capsule
The plastic or foil that covers the cork and part of the neck of a wine bottle.

Carbonic maceration
A winemaking practice of fermenting whole grapes that have not been crushed.

Cellaring
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.

Champagne flute
A piece of stemware having a long stem with a tall, narrow bowl on top.

Chaptalization
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.

Chardonnay
A type of wine, one of the 'noble' white varietals.

Charmat process
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.

Château
Generally a winery in Bordeaux, although the term is sometimes used for wineries in other parts of the world, such as the Barossa Valley.

Claret
British name for Bordeaux wine. Is also a semi-generic term for a red wine in similar style to that of Bordeaux.

Clarification
A winemaking process involving the fining and filtration of wine to remove suspended solids and reduce turbidity.

Cleanskin
In Australia, wine bottled without a commercial label, usually sold cheaply in bulk quantities.

Cold Duck
A mixture of red and white sparkling wine that has a high sugar content.

Cold stabilization
A winemaking process where wine is chilled to near freezing temperatures for several weeks to encourage the precipitation of tartrate crystals.

Cork
A wine bottle stopper made from the thick outer bark of the cork oak tree.

Cork taint
A type of wine fault describing undesirable aromas and flavours in wine often attributed to mould growth on chlorine bleached corks.

Corked
A tasting term for a wine that has cork taint.

Corkscrew
A tool, comprising a pointed metallic helix attached to a handle, for drawing Corks from bottles.

Country wine
See 'Fruit wine'.

Crackling
Semi-sparkling wine; slightly effervescent. Also called frizzante.

Crémant
French sparkling wine not made in Champagne region.

Crust
Sediment, generally potassium bitartrate, that adheres to the inside of a wine bottle.

Cult wines
Wines for which committed buyers will pay large sums of money because of their desirbility and rarity.

Cuve
A large vat used for fermentation.

Cuvee
The pressing, or a blending of several wines.

Decanting
The process of pouring wine from its bottle into a decanter to separate the sediment from the wine.

Dégorgement
The disgorging or removal of sediment from bottles that results from secondary fermentation.

Demi-sec
Moderately sweet to medium sweet sparkling wines.

Dessert wine
Varies by region. In the UK, a very sweet, low alcohol wine. In the US by law, any wine containing over 15% alcohol.

Devatting
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.

DO
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.

DOC
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.

DOCG
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.

Doux
The French word for sweet. Usually refers to the sweetest category of sparkling wines.

Drawing off
see Devatting.

Drip dickey
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.

Dry
Wines with zero or very low levels of residual sugar. The opposite of sweet, except in sparkling wines, where dry means sweet.

Eiswein
German for ice wine, a dessert wine made from frozen grapes.

en Tirage
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.

Enology
American English spelling of oenology, the study of wine.

Estate winery
A United States winery license allowing farms to produce and sell wine on-site, sometimes known as a Farm winery.

Extra dry
A champagne or sparkling wine with a small amount of residual sugar (slightly sweet). Not as dry as Brut.

Farm winery
A United States winery license allowing farms to produce and sell wine on-site.

Fault
An unpleasant characateristic of wine resulting from a flaw with the winemaking process or storage conditions.

Fermentation
The conversion of grape sugars to alcohol by yeast.

Fiasco
The straw-covered flask historically associated with Chianti.

Fighting varietal
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.

Fining
A clarification process where flocculants, such as bentonite or egg white, are added to the wine to remove suspended solids.

Finish
A tasting term for the lingering aftertaste after a wine has been swallowed.

Flabby
Tasting term used to indicate a wine lacking in structure, often marked by low acidity.

Flagon
A glass bottle that holds two litres of (usually inexpensive) table wine.

Flor
The yeast responsible for the character of dry Sherries.

Fortified wine
Wine to which alcohol has been added, generally to increase the concentration to a high enough level to prevent fermentation.

Foxy
A tasting term for the musty odor and flavor of wines made from Vitis labrusca grapes native to North America.

Free run
Juice obtained from grapes that have not been pressed.

Frizzante
See 'crackling'.

Fruit
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.'