Wine 101

Glossary of Wine Terms

 

Wine enthusiasts and connoisseurs have their own language when speaking and writing about wine. We’ve put together this handy compendium of common wine terms so you can feel confident and knowledgeable when talking about wine.

Aging

The process of keeping wine at the proper tempature and humidity to allow it to reach it’s fullest potential

Apertif

The french word used in a general way to describe almost any alcoholic beverage consumed before a meal to “whet” the appetite

Appellation controlee

Two words seen on (almost) French wine meaning “controlled Place name” used as a guide to the origin and quthenticity of the wine whose label bears those names

Blending

Mixing wines from different grape varities, different origins, different vintages, or similar wines with differing characteristics

Blush

Wines whose color varies from pale pink to dark pink and are simple, light-bodied, and somewhat sweet

Bouquet

The smell of a wine

Breathing

Aerating wine before drinking it – best done by decanting

Chateau

Synonymous with vineyard

Cru

The french word meaning growth, and a specific vineyard

Domaine

French word for estate

Enology

The science of wine production from harvest to bottling

Hybrid

The result of a cross between two different grape varities

Late harvest

Used to describe wines made from especially ripe grapes or from grapes infested with noble rot

Micro climate

Refers to the combination of soil, altitude, angle of slope, drainage, orientation of the sun and their influences on wine quality

Napa

Most popular wine region in california

Noble rot

“BOtrytis cinerea” a beneficial mold responsible for the taste of some wines most notably sauternes. the mold forms on the skins of ripe grapes under specific conditions – humidity alternating with dry heat – sending filaments into the grapes, perforating the skin

Oak

The one wood in which wine can be counted on to imporve and is used for small to medium containers such as barrels, casks, pipes

Phylloxera

A devastating insect which destroys grape crops

Reserve

Word used on wine labels with no legal meaning

Sediment

Deposit most red wines throw as they age in the bottle, not to be confused with cloudiness, haziness, or lack of clarity

Tannin

A group of non-organic compounds, known as phenolic compounds, that exist in bark, wood, roots, seeds and stems of plants. in red wines, they are extracted from skins, seed, and possibly stems during fermentation and they impart structure, flavor, texture, and complexitity. since it is also an antioxidant, it also enables a wine to age

Vinifera

The most important ot the 40 odd species that make up the genus vitis. named “wine bearer”, vitis vinifera is responsible for almost all of the world’s finest wine

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