Acronym for “Anything but Chardonnay” or “Anything but Cabernet”. A term conceived by Bonny Doon’s Randall Grahm to denote wine drinkers’ interest in grape varieties.
Bottled by the proprietor. Will be on the label followed by relevant information concerning the bottler.
Abbreviation of alcohol by volume, generally listed on a wine label
Abbreviation for “Agricultural Cooperative” on Greek wine labels and for Adega Cooperativa on Portuguese labels.
Wine with a sharp, sweet-and-sour tang can be described as having acescence. The acescencecharacteristics frequently recalls a vinegary smell.
All wines contain acetic acid, the main component in vinegar, but usually the concentration is imperceptibly small—from 0.03 percent to 0.06 percent. Overexposure to oxygen during winemaking or bottle-aging can increase the concentration of acetic acid; once it reaches 0.07 percent, a sweet-sour vinegary smell and taste are detectable and the wine can be called acetic. At higher levels (over 0.1 percent), the vinegary character dominates the wine and is considered a flaw.
A naturally occurring component of every wine; the level of perceived sharpness; a key element to a wine’s longevity; a leading determinant of balance.
Present in all grapes and an essential component of wine, acidity imparts a crisp, refreshing character to wine, contributes structure, prolongs the aftertaste and acts as a preservative, allowing wine to mature.
Portuguese wine term for a winery or wine cellar.
This process of encouraging the wine to absorb oxygen is also called breathing. Simply pulling the cork out of a bottle does not allow for sufficient since air contact; decanting or even swirling the wine in a glass are preferred methods. The goal is to allow the wine to open up and develop, releasing its aromas into the air. Ten to thirty minutes aeration can help open tight young red wines that are meant to age. Some wines can also develop off-odors or a bottle stink that blows off with a few minutes of aeration. Since older (15+ years) red wines are more delicate and can lose their fruit during aeration, aeration is not recommended; the wines can evolve quite quickly in the glass.
The end product of fermentation; technically ethyl alcohol resulting from the interaction of natural grape sugars and yeast; generally above 12.5 percent in dry table wines. Alcohol adds body and a perception of sweetness to wine.
A highly regarded wine region in eastern France renowned for dry and sweet wines made from Riesling, Gewuerztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and others.
The wine used by the Catholic Church in celebrations of the Eucharist.
A succulent higher-alcohol red wine hailing from the Veneto region in northern Italy; made primarily from Corvina grapes dried on racks before pressing
Oak grown in American forests is increasingly popular as an alternative to French oak for making barrels thanks to its relatively low cost (American oak barrels are about half the price of French oak barrels). In contrast with French oak, American oak can have more pronounced vanilla, dill and cedar notes; it is used primarily for aging more intensely flavored wines such as Cabernet, Merlot and Zinfandel.
Best described as a matured Fino. After the flor dies, the yeast sinks to the bottom of the wine and is no longer able to protect the Sherry from oxidation. The now unprotected Sherry begins to take on a rich and deep nutty flavor, and can now be described as Amontillado.
A German wine region. Anbaugebiet are further divided into bereiche or districts.
Abbreviation for Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, (English: Appellation of controlled origin), as specified under French law. French term for a denominated, governed wine region such as Margaux or Nuits-St.-Georges. The AOC laws specify and delimit the geography from which a particular wine (or other food product) may originate and methods by which it may be made. The regulations are administered by the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine (INAO).
Abbreviation for Amtliche Prüfungsnummer, the official testing number displayed on a German wine label that shows that the wine was tasted and passed government quality control standards.
A wine that is either drunk by itself (i.e. without food) or before a meal in order to stimulate the appetite.
Refers to a wine’s clarity, not color. Common descriptors refer to the reflective quality of the wine; brilliant, clear, dull or cloudy for those wines with visible suspended particulates.
Defines the area where a wine’s grapes were grown, such as Bordeaux, Chianti, Alexander Valley or Russian River Valley. Wines are frequently named after the appellation especially in Old World regions. Regulations vary widely from country to country and sometimes from appellation to appellation.
Appellation D’Origine Contrôlée (AOC or AC)
The French system of appellations, begun in the 1930s, is considered the wine world’s prototype. To carry an appellation in this system, a wine must follow rules regulating the area in which the grapes are grown, varieties used, ripeness at harvest, alcoholic strength, vineyard yields, irrigation and various techniques used in grape growing and winemaking
Describes a wine that has an unpleasantly harsh taste or texture, usually due to high levels of tannin or acid.
A scent that is a component of the bouquet or nose; i.e. cherry is an aromatic component of a fruity bouquet
A wine with very noticeable and distinctive aromas
Describes wines which leave a coarse, rough, furry or drying sensation in the mouth. Astringency is usually attributed to high tannin levels found in some red wines (and a few whites). High tannin levels are frequently found in Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
Abbreviation for the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, a United States government agency that is primarily responsible for the regulation of wines sold and produced in the United States.
Tasting term for relatively hard, high-acid wines that lack depth, roundness, richness and body. Can also describe young wines that need time to soften.
Austrian term originally referring to the aszú production method of mixing grapes affected by noble rot with a fermenting base wine. Today a Prädikat in Austria, intermediate between Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese.
German for “select harvest”, a Prädikat in Germany and Austria.
American Viticultural Area; a denominated American wine region approved by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.
The Roman god of wine, known as Dionysus in ancient Greece; a hybrid white grape from Germany
Describes the structure of a wine, referring to balanced acidity, alcohol and, in red wines, tannin. Wines lacking structure are thin or flabby.
Describes a young wine that is less developed than others of its type and class from the same vintage.
The level of harmony between acidity, tannins, fruit, oak, and other elements in a wine; a perceived quality that is more individual than scientific
An oversized bottle, containing 12 litreswhich holds the equivalent of 12 to 16 standard wine bottles.
Ban de Vendange
The official start of the harvest season in France.
Denotes wine that has been fermented in small casks (usually 55-gallon oak barrels) instead of larger tanks. At the cost of additional labor, barrel fermentation may increase body and add complexity, texture and flavor. The process is used mainly for white wines. Produces a richer, creamier, oakier style of wine
The French name for a 225 liter Bordeaux style barrel (Bordeaux hogshead). Will yield 24 cases of 12 bottles each.
A low cost entry level offering from a winery as opposed to its more expensive premium wine offerings.
A juicy, flavorful red wine made from Gamay grapes grown in the region of the same name
The first Beaujolais wine of the harvest; its annual release date is the third Thursday in November.
A German term meaning approximately “harvest of selected berries”. A Prädikat in Germany and Austria.
A district within a German wine region (Anbaugebiet).Contains smaller Grosslagen vineyard designations.
The Berthomeau Report
Commissioned by French Ministry of Agriculture to better position the wine industry for the future.
Like biodynamic agriculture in general, biodynamic grape-growing stems from the ideas and suggestions of Rudolf Steiner (1861.1925), which predate most of the organic movement. The principles and practices of biodynamics are based on his spiritual/practical philosophy which includes understanding the ecological, the energetic, and the spiritual in nature.
One of the four basic tastes (along with sour, salty and sweet). If the bitter taste dominates the wine, it is considered a fault and can be ascribed to poor fruit or excessive use of oak or oak chips.
Blanc de Blancs
“White of whites,” meaning a white wine made from white grapes, most often used to describe sparkling wines made entirely from Chardonnay grapes.
Blanc de Noirs
“White of blacks,” white wine made from the black grapes, Pinot Noir or Pinot Meunieur. To avoid extracting color from the skins, the juice is quickly pressed from the grapes and fermented without skin contact. The wines can have a pale pink hue and has some of the red berry fruit and fuller body normally associated with red wines.
The process whereby two or more grape varieties are combined after separate fermentation; common blends include Cotes de Rhone and red and white Bordeaux
Tasting and evaluating wine without knowing what it is.
A wine made from red grapes but which appears pink or salmon in color because the grape skins were removed from the fermenting juice before more color could be imparted; more commonly referred to as rose.
An acronym for “Buyer’s Own Brand” which refers to a private label wine owned by the restaurant or retailer that sells the wine.
A Spanish wine cellar. Also refers to a seller of alcoholic beverage. Literally the ‘room where barrels are stored.
The impression of weight, fullness or thickness on the palate; usually the result of a combination alcohol, sugar, dissolved solids (including sugars, phenolics, minerals and acids) and, to a lesser extent, glycerin. Common descriptors include light-bodied, medium-bodied and full-bodied. For example, skim milk could be considered “light-bodied”, whole milk “medium-bodied” and cream “full-bodied.” Although a fuller-bodied wine makes a bigger impression in the mouth, it is not necessarily higher in quality than a lighter-bodied wine.
A city on the Garonne River in southwest France; a large wine-producing region with more than a dozen subregions; a red wine made mostly from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc; a white wine made from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon
A cask of wine used to store Sherry with a capacity between 159 to 172 gallons (600-650 liters)
“Noble rot” is the common name for Botrytis cinerea, a beneficial mold that grows on ripe white wine grapes in the vineyard under specific climatic conditions. The mold dehydrates the grapes, leaving them shriveled and raisin-like and concentrates the sugars and flavors. Wines made from these berries have a rich, complex, honeyed character and are often high in residual sugar. Botrytis contributes the unique, concentrated flavors in such wines as BA and TBA Riesling from Germany, Sauternes from Bordeaux, Aszu from Hungary’s Tokay district and an assortment of late-harvest wines from other regions.
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.
Means the wine could have been purchased ready-made and simply bottled by the brand owner, or made under contract by another winery. When the label reads “produced and bottled by” or “made and bottled by” it means the winery produced the wine from start to finish.
Also known as bottle stink due to the unpleasant odor sometimes caused by sulfur. Usually blows off with decanting.
A beneficial mold that causes grapes to shrivel and sugars to concentrate, resulting in sweet, unctuous wines; common botryt’s wines include Sauternes, Tokay, and German beerenauslese.
The sum of a wine’s aromas; how a wine smells as a whole; a key determinant of quality. Sometimes called “bottle bouquet,” this term describes smells such as earth and leather that develop during fermentation and bottle aging. Contrast with aromas such as fresh young fruit and oak, which are developed in the grape itself.
Taste descriptor for hefty, Herculean red wines usually young and full-bodied. The strength of brawny reds does not equate eloquence.
The process of letting a wine open up via the introduction of air
The interaction between air and wine after a wine has been opened. Breathing may take place while the wine is decanting.
Describes the appearance of very clear, bright wines with absolutely no visible suspended or particulate matter. Not always a plus, as it can indicate a highly filtered wine.
A scale used to measure the level of sugar in unfermented grapes. Multiplying brix by 0.55 will yield a wine’s future alcohol level.
Describes a wine’s color and indicates wine that has been aged. A bad sign in young red and white wines, but less significant in older wines. Wines 20 to 30 years old may have a brownish edge and still be enjoyable.
Designates a relatively dry Champagne or sparkling wine, brut is the driest wine made by many producers. The scale, from driest to sweetest is: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra-Dry, Sec, Demi-Sec and Doux.
A prominent French wine region stretching from Chablis in the north to Lyons in the south; Pinot Noir is the grape for red Burgundy, Chardonnay for white.
Indicates the aroma or flavor of melted butter. Also a reference to texture, as in “a rich, buttery Chardonnay.”
Abbreviation seen on Spanish wine labels meaning Cooperativa Agrícola or local co-operative.
Cane pruning is when one or two canes from a vine’s previous year’s growth are cut back to six to fifteen buds which will be the coming growing seasons grape producers.
Italian term for winery.
Italian term for a co-operative
Grape solids like pits, skins, and stems that rise to the top of a tank during fermentation; what gives red wines color, tannins and weight.
The plastic or foil that covers the cork and part of the neck of a wine bottle.
Whole, uncrushed grapes are fermented in a sealed vat containing a layer of carbon dioxide. This results in fruity, soft and distinct red wines. These wines have little tannin and are immediately drinkable. This is the method used throughout France’s Beaujolais region.
A red grape common to Bordeaux; characteristics include an herbal, leafy flavor and a soft, fleshy texture
A powerful, tannic red grape of noble heritage; the base grape for many red Bordeaux and most of the best red wines from California, Washington, Chile, and South Africa; capable of aging for decades
A term sometimes used to designate special wines, as in Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23, but often applied to ordinary wines to identify a separate lot or brand. Synonymous with bin number.
Spanish for ‘cellar,’ but also a Spanish sparkling wine made in the traditional Champagne style from Xarello, Macabeo, and Parellada grapes.
The addition of sugar or concentrated grape must to grape juice before fermentation is complete. The goal is to boost the meager sugar levels found under-ripe grapes and the alcohol levels in the subsequent wines. Chaptalization is not uncommon in northern European countries, where cold climates may keep grapes from ripening completely, but it is forbidden in southern Europe (including southern France and all of Italy) and California.
Bulk production method for sparkling wine in which the wines undergo secondary fermentation in large stainless steel tanks and are later bottled under pressure. Also known as the “bulk process.”
A clarification technique that can prevent the formation of crystals in wine bottles. Prior to bottling, the wine’s temperature is lowered to approximately 30ºF for two weeks, causing the tartrates and other solids to precipitate out of solution. The wine is then easily racked off—separated from—the solids.
Describes the smell of cedar wood frequently associated with mature Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet blends aged in French or American oak.
The area of the winery where point of sale purchases occur. This can be a tasting room or a separate sales area.
French term for grape variety. When it appears on a wine label it will usually refer to the varietals used to make the wine.
A town and wine region east of Paris known for steely, minerally Chardonnay.
A wine shed, or other storage place above ground, used for storing casks, common in Bordeaux. Usually different types of wine are kept in separate sheds. The person in charge of vinification and ageing of all wine made at an estate, or the chais of a négociant, is titled a Maître de Chai. The New World counterpart to the chai may be called the barrel hall.
A denominated region northeast of Paris in which Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier grapes are made into sparkling wine.
A piece of stemware having a long stem with a tall, narrow bowl on top.
The practice of adding sugar to the grape must prior to fermenting, to compensate for low sugar content in the grapes and also to increase alcohol content.
Arguably the best and most widely planted white wine grape in the world.
French for ‘castle;’ an estate with its own vineyards. Generally a winery in Bordeaux, although the term is sometimes used for wineries in other parts of the world, such as the Barossa Valley.
A white grape common in the Loire Valley of France.
Describes highly extracted, full-bodied and tannic wines that are so rich they seem as if they should be chewed, rather than simply swallowed.
A scenic, hilly section of Tuscany known for fruity red wines made mostly from Sangiovese grapes.
A French term for a wine that falls between the range of a light red wine and a dark rosé
British name for Bordeaux wine. Is also a semi-generic term for a red wine in similar style to that of Bordeaux.
An Italian term for the historical or “classic” center of a wine region — sometimes located in the heart of a DOC.
In Australia, wine bottled without a commercial label, usually sold cheaply in bulk quantities.
French term for Lieu-dit used in Burgundy for a single plot of land located within a vineyard that has its own name and demonstrated terroir.
Describes wines that are concentrated and have character, yet are tight or timid in aroma or flavor.
An evident lack of visual clarity. Fine for old wines with sediment, but in younger wines cloudiness can be a warning signal.
Describes sweet wines that lack the acidity to balance their sugar content. Rather than leaving the palate clean, a sticky, gummy sensation remains.
Usually refers to texture, especially the roughness associated with excessive tannins or oak. Also describes harsh, large bubbles found in some lesser sparkling wines.
Coates Law of Maturity
A principle relating to the aging ability of wine that states that a wine will remain at its peak (or optimal) drinking quality for as long as it took to reach the point of maturity. For example, if a wine is drinking at its peak at 1 year of age, it will continue drinking at its peak for another year.
French term for the hillside or slopes of a hill region that is not contiguous.
French term for the hillside or slopes of one contiguous hill region.
A mass produce wine aimed for the wide market of wine drinkers made according to a set formula, year after year. These wines tend to emphasis broad appeal and easy drink-ability rather than terroir or craftsmanship.
A method of vine training. Unlike cane pruning where the trunk itself is the only permanent, inflexible piece of the vine, cordon trained vines have one or two woody arms extending from the top of the trunk. These are then spur pruned.
Corked or Corky
Describes a wine with the off-putting flavor and aroma caused by a tainted cork; musty basement or moldy newspaper.
A tool, comprising a pointed metallic helix attached to a handle, for drawing Corks from bottles.
A quality level intermediate between table wine and quality wine, which in France is known as vin de pays and in Italy as Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) . Also a synonym for Fruit wine.
French sparkling wine not made in Champagne region.
A French term that literally means “growth”. May refer to a vineyard or a winery.
A classification of Bordeaux wine estates in the Medoc that were not part of the originally 1855 Bordeaux classification.
A French term for an officially classified vineyard or winery.
Harvest season when the grapes are picked and brought into the winery to be pressed; fermentation is usually started after crushing the berries.
Wines for which committed buyers will pay large sums of money because of their desirability and rarity.
The French term for the period of time during alcoholic fermentation when the wine is in contact with the solid matter such as skin, pips, stalks, in order to extract colour, flavour and tannin. See also maceration.
French term, meaning vat or tank. On wine labels it is used to denote wine of a specific blend or batch.
French term, along with cuvier that refers to the building or room where fermentation takes place. Essentially, the room, building, grange, barn, garage or shed, or other building, used for “making wine.” When the grapes are first picked, they arrive at the cuverie.
An Italian abbreviation for Cantina Sociale that appears on wine labels denoting that the wine has been made by a local cooperative.
Abbreviation for the French term Coopérative de Vignerons that may appear on wine labels to denote that the wine has been made by a local cooperative.
Refers to a process in which the must of a white wine is allowed to settle before racking off the wine, this process reduces the need for filtration or fining.
A technique, which removes sediment from wine before drinking. After allowing the sediment to settle by standing the bottle upright for the day, the wine is poured slowly and carefully into another container leaving the sediment in the original bottle.
The process of pouring wine from its bottle into a decanter to separate the sediment from the wine.
A term describing sweetness in Champagne. It can be misleading; although demi-sec literally means “half-dry”, demi-sec sparkling wines are usually slightly sweet to medium sweet. The scale, from driest to sweetest, is: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra-Dry, Sec, Demi-Sec and Doux.
Describes light- to medium-weight wines, which nevertheless have intense flavors. A desirable quality in wines such as Pinot Noir or Riesling.
Denominacion de Origen
Spanish for ‘appellation of origin;’ like the French AOC or Italian DOC.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata
Italian for a controlled wine region; similar to the French AOC or Spanish DO.
Describes the complexity of flavors in a wine, as in a wine with many layers of flavor that unfold on the palate. Contrast with vinous.
Varies by region. In the UK, a very sweet, low alcohol wine. In the US by law, any wine containing over 15% alcohol.
Describes wine with foul, off-putting smells resulting from poor winemaking.
The process by which final sediments are removed from traditionally made sparkling wines prior to the adding of the dosage.
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.
A sweetened spirit added at the very end to Champagne and other traditionally made sparkling wines. It determines whether a wine is brut, extra dry, dry, or semisweet.
A river in Portugal as well as the wine region famous for producing Port wines.
Trademarked name for a cover 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. The generic term is drip cloth.
A wine containing no more than 0.2 percent unfermented sugar with no perceptible taste of sugar. Most tasters begin to perceive sugar at levels of 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent.
Describes wine that has reached maturity and begun to decline, losing its fruit flavor (or sweetness in a sweet wine); the wine becomes unbalanced as acid, alcohol or tannin begin to dominate.
Tasting term for a phase in young wines when their initial freshness has faded and bottle character has not yet developed.
French term for a grape-derived spirit such as brandy. Its literal translation is “water of life”
Describes wines with aromas or flavors of soil or earth. In small amounts the aromas or flavors can add complexity and be positive characteristics, but become negative as the intensity increases. Frequently associated with Pinot Noir.
German term for noble rot
South African term for noble rot
The French term for destemming. Destemming is removing stems prior to pressing and fermenting the grapes and their juice. Stems have a significant amount of coarse and often green tannin undesirable in the finished wine.
The smallest geographical unit in German wine law representing a single vineyard.
German for ice wine, a dessert wine made from frozen grapes.
Describes balanced, harmonious, refined wines; subtle rather than a highly-extracted blockbuster.
Élevé en fûts de chêne
French phrase that may appear on wine labels to denote that the wine has been aged in oak barrels
French term for the historical role that negociants play in the winemaking process-roughly translating as “bringing up” or “raising” the wine. Traditionally negociants would buy ready made wines after fermentation, blend and then store the wine before bringing them to the market.
A system commonly associated with Bordeaux wine where the previous year’s harvest is available for contract sales several months before the wine will be bottled and release.
French term for the proportion of grape varieties used in a blend.
The science of wine production; an enologist is a professional winemaker; an enophile is someone who enjoys wine.
The wine from a producer’s portfolio that is the lowest cost for purchase and offers the most basic quality.
Originally used to describe wines made entirely by the producer from vineyards owned by the winery and contiguous to the winery “estate.” Today it indicates that the winery controls the grapes—through vineyard ownership or a long-term lease to purchase the grapes—and makes the wine from crushing to bottling.
A United States winery license allowing farms to produce and sell wine on-site, sometimes known as a farm winery.
EU lot number
A European Union directive initiated in 1992 that mandates every bottle of wine produced or sold in the European Union to include a designated lot number. This allows identified defective or fraudulent wine to be tracked and removed from circulation more efficiently.
Refers to the extra cost associated with buying wines en primeur that may include the cost of shipping to the importer’s cellars as well applicable duties and taxes.
A common sparkling wine term not to be taken literally; most wines labeled extra-dry are slightly sweet. The scale, from driest to sweetest, is: Extra-Brut, Brut, Extra-Dry, Sec, Demi-Sec and Doux.
Describes a wine that is losing color or flavor, usually as a result of age.
A United States & South Africa winery license allowing farms to produce and sell wine on-site.
Full-bodied, high alcohol wines give a “fat” impression on the palate. Can be a plus with bold, ripe, rich flavors.
The process in which yeast metabolizes grapes sugars, producing alcohol and carbon dioxide and transforming grape juice into wine.
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.
Pumping wine through a screen or pad to remove leftover grape and fermentation particles. Most wines are filtered for both clarity and stability, although many winemakers believe that some flavors and complexity are also stripped from the wine.
The highest category of wine quality, representing only a very small percentage of worldwide production of wine.
Finish refers to the length of time a wine’s flavors and mouthfeel linger after swallowing or spitting, and like aftertaste, is an important indicator of quality. In general, the longer the finish, the better the wine.
A technique for removing suspended particulates that can make wine hazy or add undesirable aromas. A fining agent such as bentonite (powdered clay) or egg whites is added to the top of a tank or barrel full of wine. As the fining agent travels down through the wine, it combines with the suspended particulates. Once the sediment has settled at the bottom of the container, it is easy to rack off the wine.
Describes a wine that is unbalanced due to insufficient acidity.
A glass bottle that holds two litres of (usually inexpensive) table wine.
Floral or Flowery
Literally, having the characteristic scents of flowers. Mostly associated with white wines.
A winemaker who travels extensively across the globe, sharing techniques and technology from one region of the world to another. The term originated with Australian winemakers who would fly to Northern Hemisphere wine regions in Europe and the United States during the August–October harvest time when viticulture in the Southern Hemisphere is relatively quiet.
Indicates wine whose alcohol content has been increased by the addition of brandy or neutral spirits. Port and sherry are two examples.
A wine in which brandy is introduced during fermentation; sugars and sweetness are high due to the suspended fermentation.
The traditional wood for wine barrels is oak grown in French forests. The barrels impart vanilla, cedar and sometimes butterscotch flavors. Pricey compared to barrels made from American oak; French oak costs upwards of $600 per barrel vs. $250 for American.
An 1991 episode of the American news program 60 Minutes that documented the low mortality rate from cardiovascular disease among the French who had a high-alcohol, high-cholesterol and low exercise lifestyle in contrast to the high mortality rate among Americans with a relatively lower cholesterol, low alcohol and more exercise lifestyle.
Describes wine with good levels of acidity and a lively, crisp character.
Italian term for a semi-sparkling wine.
Italian term for a wine that has very slight effervescence, more than a still wine but less than a semi-sparkling. Similar to the French term perlant.
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
A name created by Robert Mondavi to describe dry Sauvignon Blanc.
A red grape exceedingly popular in the Beaujolais region of France.
A sweet and spicy white grape popular in eastern France, Germany, Austria, northern Italy, and California.
Globalization of wine
Refers to the increasingly international nature of the wine industry, including vineyard management practices, winemaking techniques, wine styles, and wine marketing.
Australian term for inexpensive box wine.
A vineyard technique in which the bud-producing part of a grapevine is attached to an existing root.
A Spanish term used for wines that are aged in wood and bottles for at least five years prior to release.
French term for a “Great growth” or vineyard. In Burgundy, the term is regulated to a define list of Grand cru vineyards.
French term most often associated with Bordeaux where it denotes a Chateau’s premier wine, or “first wine”. On a wine label, the word’s Grand vin may appear to help distinguish the wine from an estate’s second or third wine.
French term for a famous brand of wine, most commonly associated with the large Champagne houses.
Denotes the simple flavors and aromas of fresh table grapes, as opposed to the more complex fruit flavors (such as currant, black cherry, fig and apricot) found in fine wines.
Having the scent of grass, including freshly mown grass and hay. A pleasant signature descriptor for Sauvignon Blanc unless overbearing and pungent.
Tasting of unripe fruit. Wines made from less ripe grapes will often possess this quality. Pleasant in lower concentrations when balanced with other flavors. Often associated with Riesling and Gewürztraminer.
A hearty, productive red grape popular in southern France as well as in Spain, where it is called Garnacha.
A German designation for a cluster of vineyards within a Bereich.
Grown, Produced and Bottled
On U.S. labels, means the winery handled all aspects of wine growing, making and bottling.
Holds 375 milliliters or 12.5 ounces; equivalent to three small glasses of wine.
Beyond firm; having so much acidity or tannin that the wine requires cellaring to be pleasant to drink; most frequently a descriptor for young red wines. Usually results from high acidity or tannins.
A wine is labeled harsh when it is deficient in the subtlety department; it would feel coarse, rough when you taste it. It might be too acidic or high in tannins.
A French word meaning ‘high.’ It applies to quality as well as altitude.
Describes high-alcohol wines.
Describes the full, warm qualities of simple red wines with high alcohol. See also robust, rustic.
The wine is tough to drink, feeling like a dead weight in your mouth. It is usually applied to full-bodied red wines with plenty of tannins –white wines usually feel light by their own nature- and it may be a sign of a wine that would benefit from more time in the bottle.
A metric measure equal to 10,000 square meters or 2.47 acres.
A metric measure equal to 100 liters or 26.4 gallons.
An aroma or flavor similar to green; often an indication of underripe grapes or fruit grown in a cool climate. Describes the aromas and flavors of herbs in a wine. A plus in many wines such as Sauvignon Blanc and, to a lesser extent, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Herbal is a synonym, though when the concentration of the aroma is high—and becomes less than pleasant—the term herbaceous is used.
Term for Rhine wines, usually used in England.
Lacking in flavor, especially in the mid-palate. Describes a wine that has some flavor on the beginning of the sip and on the finish, but is missing intensity or distinct flavors in between.
Has a smell or taste reminiscent of honey, characteristic of wines affected by ‘noble rot’ (Botrytis cinerea).
Horizontal wine tasting
A tasting of a group of wines from the same vintage or representing the same style of wine (such as all Pinot noirs from different wineries in a region), as opposed to a vertical tasting which involves of the same wine through different vintages. In a horizontal tasting, keeping wine variety or type and wine region the same helps emphasize differences in winery styles.
Describes high alcohol, unbalanced wines that tend to burn with “heat” on the finish. Generally a fault, but acceptable in fortified wines.
Wine made from frozen grapes. Written, and trademarked as a single word – Icewine – in Canada. Called Eiswein in German. Germany, Austria and Canada are leading ice wine producers.
Abbreviation for “IndicazioneGeograficaTipica”, the lowest-ranking of the three categories of Italian wine regulated by Italian law.
A large format bottle holding six liters; the equivalent of eight standard 750ml bottles. The Bordelaise equivalent of Burgundy’s Methuselah.
Grape varieties grown in nearly every major wine region, for example Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot
A red wine presenting the cooked flavor of fruit preserve – or jam
The Bordelaise use this term for large format bottles holding 4.5 liters or the equivalent of six regular 750 ml bottles.. In Burgundy and Champagne, the Jéroboam is the same size as Bordeaux’s double magnum and holds 3 liters or four bottles of wine.
American term for inexpensive table wine (French: Vin de table).
A German term for a wine of quality; usually the driest of Germanyis best Rieslings.
A wine made according to strict Jewish rules under rabbinical supervision.
Wine that is produced under the supervision of a rabbi so as to be ritually pure or clean.
Grape types native to North America such as Concord and Catawba.
German term for a wine slightly above table wines (tafelwine). Similar to a French vin de pays wine.
On U.S. labels, indicates that a wine was made from grapes picked later and at a higher sugar level (Brix) than normal. Usually associated with botrytized and other sweet wines, an indicator for a very sweet or dessert wine.
stringy or thin, all these words refer to a wine with high acidity and low flavor.
Sediment composed of expired yeast cells and grape solids that settles at the bottom of a barrel or tank during and after fermentation. White wine is often aged “on its lees” to gain additional complexity.
The viscous droplets that form and ease down the sides of the glass when the wine is swirled. The more pronounced and persistent the legs, the higher the alcohol content of the wine. Note that neither legs nor alcohol content are absolute indicators of quality.
The amount of time that taste, flavor or mouthfeel persist after swallowing a wine. The longer the finish, the better the wine quality. Common descriptors are short, long and lingering.
French term for the dead yeast and sediment of wine also known as lees.
Litre (US – Liter)
A metric measure of volume equal to 33.8 fluid ounces (U.S.) or 35.2 fl. oz. (imperial).
French term for a named vineyard site. Usually used in the context of describing individual vineyards below Grand cru status.
Low acidity and little in the matter of body.
French term meaning “liqueur-like” used for dessert wine with a luscious, almost unctuous quality.
A river in central France as well as a wine region famous for Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet Franc.
Wine has a lingering aftertaste.
Used primarily in making red wine, the process of steeping grape skins and solids in wine after fermentation, when alcohol acts as a solvent to extract color, tannin and aroma from the skins (aided by heat, alcohol, the amount of skin contact and time). Cold maceration, (steeping when the must is not heated) takes place before fermentation.
Made and Bottled By
On U.S. labels, indicates only that the winery crushed, fermented and bottled a minimum of 10 percent of the wine in the bottle.
A fortified wine that has been made on a Portuguese island off the coast of Morocco since the fifteenth century.
Describes the brownish color and slightly sweet, somewhat caramelized and often nutty character found in mature dessert-style wines such as Madeira. Sometimes used to describe a wine that is oxidized due to poor storage.
A large format bottle that holds 1.5 liters, equal to two regular 750 ml bottles.
A hearty red grape of French origin now exceedingly popular in Argentina.
A secondary fermentation, often occurring in barrels, whereby harsher malic acid is converted into creamier lactic acid.
A sharp, tart acid found in grapes as well as in green apples. Less-ripe grapes or grapes grown in cooler climates can contain high levels of malic acid; the resulting wines often contain aromas and flavors reminiscent of green apples. Converted to smoother lactic during malolactic fermentation.
Master of Wine
A qualification (not an academic degree) conferred by The Institute of Masters of Wine, which is located in the United Kingdom.
The stage at which the wine will not gain any additional complexity with further bottle aging and is ready to drink. Also describes grapes when they are fully ripe.
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.
Describes highly extracted red wines that are so full-bodied and concentrated, they seem chewy. Can also describe the aromas of cooked meat, bacon and game that are sometimes associated with Syrah and Pinot Noir.
A section of Bordeaux on the west bank of the Gironde Estuary known for great red wines; Margaux, St.-Estephe, and Pauillac are three leading AOCs in the Medoc.
Originally created in California, these blended wines can be summed up as the “American Bordeaux”. The term is a blend of the words “merit” and “heritage” and pronounced the same. California vintners invented this term for their Bordeaux-style red and white blended wines. The grapes approved to use this term are the classic Bordeaux varieties: for reds, they are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Malbec; for whites, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon.
A lauded red grape popular in Bordeaux and throughout the world; large amounts of Merlot exist in Italy, the United States, South America, and elsewhere.
The traditional method for making high-quality sparkling wine in which the secondary fermentation, which creates the bubbles, occurs inside the bottle. Required in Champagne.
An extra-large bottle holding 6 liters; the equivalent of eight standard bottles. The Burgundian equivalent of Bordeaux’s Impériale.
The balance of weight, acidity and fruit flavors that are perceived while the wine is still in the tasters mouth and before swallowing
Common in German wines and those of the Loire Valley, France. Imagine a taste of rock.
Mis en bouteille au château
French for “bottled at the winery”, usually in Bordeaux.
French term usually used for wines of mid-level sweetness or liquoreux.
French term for an appellation, where all the vineyards in the appellation are under single ownership.
The sparkling effervescence of a wine. In the glass it perceived as the bubbling but the surface of the glass can affect this perception. Premium quality sparkling wine has a mousse composed of small, persistent string of bubbles.
Wine that is spiced, heated, and served as a punch.
The unfermented juice of grapes before it is converted into wine.
A red grape popular in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy; the grape that yields both Barolo and Barbaresco.
A giant wine bottle holding 15 liters; the equivalent of 20 standard (750ml) bottles.
A French term for a person or company that buys wines from smaller growers and winemakers and then labels it under his or her own name; stems from the French word for ‘shipper.’
French wine merchants who buy grapes, must or wine and bottle the final product under their own label. The term éleveur indicates that the négociant oversees the wine at least from right after fermentation all the way to bottling. Most commonly found in Burgundy where individual vineyard holdings are small and the négociant offers significant economies of scale. Two well-known examples are Joseph Drouhin and Louis Jadot.
Neither fish nor meat, little flavor or difficult to make it out.
New World wine
Wines produced outside of the traditional wine growing areas of Europe and North Africa.
A fungal virus brought on by Botrytis cinereathat results in dehydrated and shrivelled grapes that are high in concentrated sugar. Noble Rot grapes are an essential component of many Austrian and German wines.
Blended from more than one year’s grapes. Many Champagnes and sparkling wines are nonvintage; this allows the vintner to keep a house style from year to year. Most Sherry and Port is also nonvintage.
Light, fruity red wine bottled and sold as soon as possible after fermentation, meant to be drunk up quickly. Applies mostly to Beaujolais.
The character of a wine as determined by the olfactory sense. Also called aroma; includes bouquet.
Describes the aroma and flavor frequently found in fortified wines such as Madeira and Sherry; the result of exotic fermentations or deliberate oxidation. Can be a negative character in wines not intended to be made in an oxidative style.
Describes the aromas and flavors imparted by oak barrel-aging. Woody aromas and flavors; butter, popcorn, and toast notes are found in ‘oaky’ wines. As with most characteristics, balance is key; the descriptor can be positive, or if the oak dominates over the fruit it can be negative. The terms vanilla, cedary, toasty and smoky indicate desirable qualities of oak; burnt, plywood, toothpicks and a forest of oak describe its unpleasant side.
A wine aficionado or connoisseur.
The study of aspects of wine and winemaking.
Indicates a slightly sweet wine in which sugar is barely perceptible; usually contains 0.6 percent to 1.4 percent residual sugar.
Old World wine
Wines produced inside of the traditional wine growing areas of Europe and North Africa.
Grapes grown without the aid of chemical-based fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides.
A winetasting term for anything that affects one of the main senses such as smell. An example would be an affliction of the common cold or being in a room with someone wearing an overwhelming amount of perfume.
A wine that is no longer fresh because it was exposed to too much air.
Describes the intense aromas found in some wines, especially in floral white wines.
A Bordeaux wine estate that doesn’t have any official designation of classification.
Flavors are similar to mineral but in this case is associated to mature wines from Riesling and it is considered positive.
An indication of a wine’s acidity expressed by how much hydrogen is in it.
Tiny root lice that attack vitisvinifera roots, eventually killing the vine. The disease was widespread in both Europe and California during the late 19th century, and returned to California in the 1980s.
An area in northwest Italy known for Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, Dolcetto, and Moscato.
A white grape popular in Alsace, Germany, and elsewhere.
Also called Pinot Grigio, this is a grayish-purple grape that yields a white wine with a refreshing character.
The prime red grape of Burgundy, Champagne, and Oregon.
A hybrid between Pinot Noir and Cinsaultthatis grown almost exclusively in South Africa.
French term for a simple, quaffing white wine with pleasing fruit structure and balance of acidity.
Plafond Limité de Classement
An allowance within the French AOC system that allows producers to exceed the official maximum limit on yields by as much as 20% in warm weather years. Critics such as wine writer Tom Stevenson describes this loophole (also known as “PLC”) as “legalized cheating”
A proposal for enhancing the economic status of the wine industry in Bordeaux.
British English slang for an inexpensive bottle of wine. A derogatory name for cheap, poor-tasting wine. The term is thought to originate from the French word for white wine, “blanc”.
The mass of skins, pits, and stems left over after fermentation; used to make grappa in Italy and marc in France.
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.
Possesses an abundance of everything: high levels of extract, alcohol, or both. It feels big, even larger than life. Powerful can be an unwanted characteristic in some wines.
A wine designation for high quality used in Germany and Austria, based on grape ripeness and must weight. There are several Prädikate ranging from Kabinett (Spätlese in Austria) to Trockenbeerenauslese.
The highest class of wine in the German wine classification, formerly called Qualitätsweinmit Prädikat. These wines always display a specific Prädikat on their label.
French term for a “First growth”, a high-quality vineyard but one not as good as grand cru. Used mostly in conjunction with the wines of Burgundy and Champagne where the term is regulated.
Higher quality classification of wine above every day drinking table wines. While premium wines maybe very expensive there is no set price point that distinguishes when a wine becomes a “premium wine.” Premium wines generally have more aging potential than every day quaffing wines.
This description, along with Reserve, once stood for the best wines a winery produced, but because it lacks a legal definition many wineries use it or a spin-off (such as Proprietor’s Reserve) for rather ordinary wines. Depending upon the producer, it may still signify excellent quality.
Produced and Bottled by
Indicates that the winery crushed, fermented and bottled at least 75 percent of the wine in the bottle.
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.
German acronym for Qualitätsweinbestimmter Anbaugebiete.
German acronym for Qualitätsweinmit Prädikat.
An acronym for Quality-Price Ratio.
A simple, everyday drinking wine
A designation of better quality German wines. When used in isolation on a wine label, it refers to QualitätsweinbestimmterAnbaugebiete.
A designation of better quality German wines from recognized viticultural areas. It formally represents the second-highest level of German wine.
A former designation of the best quality German wines, since 2007 shortened to Prädikatswein.
Quality-Price Ratio (QPR)
A designation for rating wine based on the ratio of its quality and its price. The higher quality and less expensive price a wine has, the better the ratio.
Portuguese term for a wine estate.
Lively, spirited, crisp and fresh; as such it is noticeably acid but it is stimulating and refreshing. Racy is often associated with German wines.
The process of moving wine from barrel to barrel, while leaving sediment behind.
Describes a young and undeveloped, often tannic wine; typical of red wine sampled from the barrel.
An Italiansweet wine made from passito grapes.
The reductive-oxidative way that wine ages. As one part gains oxygen and becomes oxidized, another part loses oxygen and becomes reduced. Early in its life, a wine will exhibit oxidative aromas and traits due to the relatively recent influence and exposure of oxygen when the wine was barrel aged and/or bottled. As the wine ages and is shut off from a supply of oxygen in the bottle, a mature wine will develop reductive characteristics.
Large format bottle equivalent to 4.5 liters; equivalent to six regular bottles. The Burgundian equivalent of the Bordelaise Jéroboam.
Spanish and Portuguese term for a reserve wine. It has spent at least three years in barrels and bottles before release..
A largely American term given to wine to indicate that it is of higher quality than usual; it has no legal meaning..
Unfermented grape sugar in a finished wine. Adds sweetness and body.
A river in southwest France surrounded by villages producing wines mostly from Syrah; the name of the wine-producing valley in France.
Describes full-bodied wines with generous flavors and a pleasing roundness.
The process of rotating Champagne bottles in order to shift sediment toward the cork
Along with Chardonnay, one of the top white grapes in the world; most popular in Germany, Alsace, and Austria.
The addition of Amarone flavor to Valpolicella wine by allowing the Valpolicella to pass over the drained must of an Amarone on its way to secondary refermentation.
Made from well ripened grapes, with good fruit flavors; it might even have hints of fruits from warm climates – taste more of pinapple than apple. It might feel sweet even if does not have sugar.
Describes a mouthfeel that is smooth and harmonious, not rough or tannic.
A well-known region in Spain known for traditional red wines made from the Tempranillo grape.
French for pink, and used to describe a category of refreshing wines that are pink in color but are made from red grapes.
Describes wines made by old-fashioned methods or tasting like wines made in an earlier era; usually coarse and earthy, can at times also resemble a simple and fruity table wine.
An early English term for what is now called Sherry.
A large format bottle holding 9 liters, the equivalent of 12 regular (750ml) bottles.
An area in the Loire Valley known mostly for wines made from Sauvignon Blanc.
A red grape native to Tuscany; the base grape for Chianti, Brunello di Montalcino, Morellino di Scansano, and others.
A tart punch made from red wine along with orange, lemon and apricot juice with added sugar.
A sweet Bordeaux white wine made from botrytized Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.
A white grape planted throughout the world; increasingly the signature wine of New Zealand.
A sparkling wine manufactured in Germany.
Selection de grains nobles
A sweetbotrytized wine made in the French region of Alsace
Wines made in the United States but named after places that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureaurequires be modified by a US name of geographic origin. Examples would be New York Chablis, Napa Valley Burgundy or California Champagne.
A plump white grape popular in Bordeaux and Australia; the base for Sauternes.
A fortified wine that has been subjected to controlled oxidation to produce a distinctive flavor.
A fortified wine from a denominated region in southwest Spain; styles include fino, Manzanilla, oloroso, and amontillado.The Australian name for Syrah; also used in South Africa and sparingly in the United States.
A term used to describe a wine with an especially smooth mouthfeel.
Lacking in complexity, no layers, plain aroma and unidimensional flavor. This is expected of everyday wine – table wine – but it is a terrible fault in an expensive wine.
Describes wines low in acid or tannin (sometimes both), made for easy drinking. Opposite of hard wines that contain high acid or tannins.
The Spanish system of blending wines of different ages to create a harmonious end product; a stack of barrels holding wines of various ages.
Technically a wine steward, but one potentially with a great degree of wine knowledge as well as a diploma of sorts in wine studies.
French term for racking.
Effervescent wine containing significant levels of carbon dioxide.
German for “late harvest”.A Prädikat in Germany and Austria.
A descriptor for many wines, indicating the presence of spice flavors such as anise, cinnamon, cloves, mint and pepper. Certain aromas and flavors that may be sharp, woody, or sweet. Red Zinfandel and Côte du Rhone are often described as spicy.
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.
German term for a light sparkling wine.
Italian for “sparkling”.
Stalky or Stemmy
A term used to describe harsh, green characteristics in a wine. Describes an unpleasant greenness and astringency from overlong contact with the grape stems or the use of underripe grapes.
A term used to describe an extremely crisp, acidic wine that was not aged in barrels.
An Australian term for a broad category of sweet wines included fortified and botrytized wines.
A German word for “straw wine”, same as the French term vin de paille. Refers to a dried grape wine.A Prädikat in Austria.
Related to the mouthfeel of a wine, provided by acidity, tannin, alcohol, sugar and the way these components are balanced. Wines with low, unbalanced levels of acidity or tannin can be described as “lacking in structure” or “flabby.” When the acidity or tannin levels are sufficiently high, a “firm structure” is the result.
When there is a noticeable sulphur flavor. Sulphur is an anti-oxidant introduced in some wines in small amounts. Fermentation creates minute amounts naturally.
A term used in relation to lower classified Bordeaux wine estates that come close in quality to the First Growth Bordeaux estates.
A style of Italian wine that became popular in Tuscany in the late 20th century where premium quality wines were produced outside of DOC regulations and sold for high prices with the low level vino da tavola designation. Often a blended wine of superior quality containing Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Merlot.
Like a supple body, is both vigorous and smooth. This refers to texture rather than taste.
A red grape planted extensively in the Rhone Valley of France, Australia, and elsewhere; a spicy, full and tannic wine that usually requires aging before it can be enjoyed.
Either a wine with plenty of sugar, or plenty of rich and ripe fruit flavors. There might be residual sugar from fermentation, from grape sugar incompletely converted to alcohol.
Generally any wine that is not sparkling or fortified. In the US these wines must also be between 7% and 14% alcohol by volume. The term table wine also refers to a wine that is considered a good, everyday drinker.
German term for table wine.
An Italiansparkling wine made according to the traditional method of Champagne–similar to the Spanish term Cava.
Phenolic compounds that exist in most plants; in grapes, tannins are found primarily in the skins and pits; tannins are astringent and provide structure to a wine; over time tannins die off, making wines less harsh. Wine component—found mostly in red wines—derived primarily from grape skins, seeds and stems, but also from oak barrels. Tannin acts as a natural preservative that helps wine age and develop. Excessive, unbalanced tannin can taste bitter and leaves the same drying, furry sensation in the mouth as very strong tea. Common tannin descriptors include smooth, velvety, mouth-drying and rough.
Apples have a sharp, unripe, acid taste, so does tart wine.
The principal acid in grapes and wine; contributes to taste and stabilizes color. Unlike malic acid, tartaric acid does not decline as grapes ripen. Tartaric acid can precipitate out of solution in bottled wine to form harmless tartrate crystals resembling shards of glass.
Harmless crystals resembling shards of glass that may form during fermentation or bottle aging (often on the cork) as tartaric acid naturally present in wine precipitates out of solution. Components of tartaric acid, including potassium bitartrate and cream of tartar, they are less soluble in alcoholic solutions than in grape juice and solidify at cooler temperatures (such as those found in a refrigerator); can be avoided in finished wines through decanting. Cold stabilization and careful pouring can prevent transferring the crystals from the bottle into the glass.
A silver, shallow cup used for tasting wine.
Refers to a selection of wines, usually between three and eight glasses, but sometimes as many as fifty, presented for the purpose of sampling and comparison.
An abbreviation for the German wine Trockenbeerenauslese.
The most popular red grape in Spain; common in Rioja and Ribera del Duero.
A French term for the combination of soil, climate, and all other factors that influence the ultimate character of a wine.
Describes a wine’s current structure, concentration and body in comparison to its potential. Although it may have the potential to be a good wine, its components are “tightly wound” like a spring ready to be released.
Describes a wine characteristic reminiscent of lightly burnt toast, complete with the bready notes.Often derived from barrel-aging and frequently associated with dry sparkling wines.
A dessert wine made in Hungary from dried Furmint grapes.
German for “dry”.
A German term meaning approximately “A late harvest of selected dry berries”. A type of German wine made from grapes affected by noble rot. Such grapes can be so rare that it can take a skilled picker a day to gather enough for just one bottle. A Prädikat in Germany and Austria.
How well a wine reflects the characteristics of its grape variety and terroir
Abbreviation for the French term Union Coopérative denoting a regional or local cooperative.
The space between the wine and the top of a wine bottle. As a wine ages, the space of ullage will increase as the wine gradually evaporates and seeps through the cork. The winemaking term of “ullage” refers to the practice of topping off a barrel with extra wine to prevent oxidation.
Said of a wine that has layers of soft, concentrated, velvety fruits. Unctuous wines are lush, rich, and intense.
uncomplicated, easy to drink; probably full of simple fruity flavors.
An Italian term for a wine that has been blended from several grape varieties-the opposite of a varietal. An example would be a Chianti that is based on Sangiovese but include other grape varieties in the bend.
A wine made from just one grape type and named after that grape; the opposite of a blend.Wines made from a single grape variety.
Abbreviation for the Spanish term vino comarcal denoting a local wine similar to a vin de pays in France.
Describes wines containing scents reminiscent of herbs and green vegetables such as bell pepper, celery and asparagus.A positive descriptor in small amounts when this quality varietally character correct, as with Cabernet Sauvignon. A negative descriptor when the vegetal element dominates.
Abbreviation for the French term vin de liqueur denoting a wine that has been fortified prior to fermentation
Abbreviation for the Spanish term vino de la tierra denoting a “country wine” similar to the VDQS system of France.
Abbreviation for the French term vindoux naturel denoting a wine that has been fortified during fermentation.
Abbreviation for the French VinDélimité de QualitéSupérieure system that ranks below Appellation d’OrigineContrôlée (AOC) but above Vin de pays (country wine).
Abbreviation for the Italian term vino da tavola denoting a table wine.
French term denoting a late harvest wine.
Veneto A large wine-producing region in northern Italy.
An aromatized wine that is made with wormwood and potentially other ingredients.
Vertical wine tasting
In a vertical tasting, different vintages of the same wine type from the same winery are tasted, such as a winery’s Pinot noir from five different years. This emphasizes differences between various vintages for a specific wine. In a horizontal tasting, the wines are all from the same vintage but are from different wineries or microclimates.
Literally “old vines” in French, sometimes written as an acronym V.V. It is worth noting there is no official or legal definition of “Vieillesvignes” in any of the wine regions of France; it is not a regulated term. Thus, “Vieillesvignes” can be added to a label by wine makers as they see fit.
French for vine grower.
French term for a “vineyard”
French for wine.
Vin de garde
French term for a wine with the potential to improve with age.
Vin de glace
French term for an ice wine.
Vin de pays
French classification system denoting wines that are above vin de table but below VDQS.
Vin de table
French term denoting a table wine, the lowest classification of the French AOC system.
Generic French term for a sparkling wine.
French term similar to Vinprimeur denoting a very young wine meant to be consumed within the same vintage year it was produced. Example: Beaujolais nouveau.
French term used to denote an “ordinary wine” as opposed to a premium quality wine.
Sweet wine from Tuscany made from late-harvest Trebbiano and Malvasia grapes.
Spanish for vines.
The science or study of making wine. Contrast with viticulture.
Spanish for vineyard
Portuguese for wine.
The lowest level of the Portuguese classification system. Similar to a vin de pays.
Italian and Spanish, Originally derived from Latin, for wine.
Vino da tavola
Italian term for “table wine”
Vino de mesa
Spanish term for “table wine”
Italian term for a Vinprimeur
A term used to denoting anything relating to wine.
The science or study of wine grapes. Contrast with viniculture.
Indicates the year in which the grapes were grown. For vintage dated wines made in the United States, 95 percent of a wine must come from grapes that were grown and picked in the stated calendar year. In the southern hemisphere where the grapes may grow in the year preceding a February through March harvest, the vintage date refers to the year of harvest. Also refers to the time of year in which the harvest takes place.
Literally a wine merchant, but generally used to mean wine producer or winery proprietor.
A fragrant, powerful white grape grown in the Rhone Valley of France and elsewhere.
Also called sommelier knife, a popular type of corkscrew used in the hospitality industry.
The term is applied to some red wines with a full-body, tangy flavor and deep, velvety color.
A unit of wine or fortified wine constituting of 1.5L in total.
A Germanrosé made from only black grape varieties such as Pinot noir.
An alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of unmodified grape juice.
A subterranean structure for storing and aging wine.
Any form of dishonesty in the production or distribution of wine.
The descriptive sticker or signage adhered to the side of a wine bottle.
Refers to the continuing surplus of wine over demand (glut) being produced in the European Union.
The sensory evaluation of wine, encompassing more than taste, but also mouthfeel, aroma, and color.
Having the aroma or taste of aging barrels.
The woody tissue of a vine, inside of the vascular cambium layer, that includes heartwood and sapwood, which transports water and nutrients from the roots towards the leaves.
Micro-organisms that convert sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide in the process known as fermentation. The predominant wine yeast, saccharomyces cerevisiae, is the same micro-organism that ferments beer and makes bread dough rise. Three categories of yeasts are common, including cultured, natural and wild.
Smelling similar to bread. Yeasts are introduced to carry out fermentation and can be incompletely removed
A measure of the amount of grapes or wine produced per unit surface of vineyard.
The science of fermentation in wine.
A popular grape in California of disputed origin; scientists say it is related to grapes in Croatia and southern Italy.
Sources for definitions