Acidity: Tartness, the taste of natural fruit acids (tartaric, citric, malic, or lactic ) in wine.
Aeration: The deliberate addition of oxygen in winemaking or decanting.
Aftertaste: The odors and flavors that linger in the mouth after swallowing or spitting out the wine.
Aging: Holding wines for a period of time in barrels, tanks, or bottles.
Alcohol: Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, formed during fermentation. A component of the odor, taste, and tactile sensations of wines.
Anthocyanins: The pigments that provide the red colors in grapes and wine.
Appellation of Origin: Term for the label designations that indicate the geographic origin of the grapes.
Aroma: odors in the wine that originate in the grape. To be distinguished from bouquet.
Astringent: Harsh, drying, tactile sensation in the mouth caused by high tannin levels. The opposite is smooth.
Balanced: A wine in which acidity, sweetness, and flavor are in pleasing proportions.
Baume: A scale for measuring the degree of potential alcohol by weighing the must. A different scale is used for Brix.
Bitter: A taste sensation, usually sensed on the back of the tongue.
Blend: To combine grapes, musts, or wines of different varieties or lots.
Body: The viscosity or thickness of wine. The higher the alcohol and extract content, the more full-bodied the wine.
Botrytis Cinerea: A mold that pierces grape skins, causing dehydration. Also called noble rot.
Bouquet: The odors in wines from fermentation, processing, and aging, especially those that develop after bottling.
Brix: A measure of the density of grape juice or fermenting wine.
Browning: A sign of aging, most often if a wine has oxidize too much.
Brut: It means dry in Champagne.
Canopy: The foliage of a grape vine
Carbonated: Wines infused with carbon dioxide to make them bubbly.
Carbonic Maceration: The fermentation of uncrushed whole grapes which takes place inside the cells of the berries.
Cava: The cellar. Greek term for high quality table wine. Also a definition of Spanish method champenoise sparkling wine.
Chaptalization: The addition of sugar to the must early on during fermentation in order to increase a wine’s alcohol content. All the sugar is converted to alcohol and the process is not used to "sweeten". Chaptalization is not permitted in Greece.
Charmant Process: A method to produce sparkling wine in which the second fermentation takes place in a pressurized tank instead of individual bottles (method champenoise).
Cold Stabilization: Chilling wine before bottling to precipitate sediments (potassium acid tartrate crystals).
Complex: A wine with numerous odors and flavors, each one usually rather subtle.
Corked: A moldy odor and flavor from a fungus-infected cork.
Crush: Breaking the grape skins prior to pressing or fermentation and the season of the year when this occurs.
Cuvee: A specific blend of wines, often of different varieties and vintages, combined to make sparkling wine. Occasionally also used for table wine.
Decanting: The process of moving the wine to another container, usually in order to separate the sediment from the clear wine.
Demi-Sec: Medium dry, but in champagne it is medium sweet.
Deposit: The sediment of solid particles found in wine. In the case of white wines, these are often fragments of colorless crystals of tartrate. In red wines they are usually a combination of tannins and pigments.
Domaine: A wine estate. The wine is made and bottled by the landowner.
Doux: Sweet. Usually the sweetest category of sparkling wines.
Dry: Without a sweet taste. But in Champagne it means sweet.
Enology (also spelled oenology): The science of wines and winemaking. Also called viniculture.
Fermentation, Alcoholic : The conversion by yeast enzymes of the grape sugar in the must or juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Finning: The removal of particles in a wine that are too small to be filtered out.
Flat: Wine lacking a refreshing slightly sour taste and sparkling wines that have lost most of their carbon dioxide.
Fortified wine: A wine in which the alcohol content has been increased by the addition of wine, spirits, or brandy.
Free run wine: Wine derived from the grape juice obtained before pressing, through the natural bursting of the skins.
Full-Bodied: A wine that is high in alcoholic content and extract.
Green: The high acid taste of wines made from unripe grapes.
Herbaceous: An agreeable odor reminiscent of herbs, and usually associated with Sauvignon Blanc when grown in cool climates.
Lees: The sediment deposited by young wines in barrel or vat, consisting mainly of inactive yeasts and small particles of solid matter from the grape.
Legs: The drops that inch up the inside surface of a glass above the wine and slowly run back down. Also known as "tears".
Malolactic Fermentation: A bacterial fermentation that converts malic to lactic acid and carbon dioxide and can add complexity to wines.
Mature: A wine which has reached its optimum point in aging and has a pleasing combination of sensory properties, especially odors.
Microclimate: The climate in and around the grapevine’s canopy.
Must: Term for the juice and pulp produced by crushing or pressing grapes. Used until the end of fermentation when it is called wine.
Nouveau: French for a young wine meant for immediate drinking.
Oxidized: Wine changed by contact with air, usually producing undesirable browning and sherry-like flavors. Over-aged.
pH: The measure of acid strength: the lower the pH, the higher the acid strength.
Phylloxera Vastatrix: A tiny insect that attacks the roots of vinifera vines, injecting them with poisonous saliva. At the end of the 19th century it changed the face of European viticulture forever.
Residual Sugar: Grape sugar that remains unconverted in the wine after fermentation.
Smooth: The tactile sensation for a wine's lack of astringency.
Sulfur Dioxide: A compound used to inhibit the growth of undesirable microorganisms and inhibit browning. It gives an unpleasant match stick odor to wine when present in noticeable quantities.
Tannin: A polyphenolic compound derived from the skins, seeds, and stems of grapes, which gives young red wines an astringent quality, but contributes to its longevity and normally ameliorates as the wines age.
Tartrate Crystals: White or purple crystals found in wines that have been subjected to very low temperatures. They are either in the form of a deposit or clinging to the cork. They are harmless.
Terroir: A wine growing environment, covering soil, site, and local climate.
Vanilla: The smell associated with wine that has been aged in oak barrels, from the vanillin in the wood.
Vins de Pays: Country wine: A superior grade of vin de table (table wine) produced according to regulations concerning grape varieties, yields and localities.
Vintage: The harvest time and also the year in which the wine was made.
Yield: The amount of wine produced from a given area of vines. The less produced the more concentrated the wine will be. Too high a yield will make for dilute, watery wine.
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