Acids occur naturally during the growing of grapes and as part of the
fermentation process. In proper proportion, acids are a desirable trait
and give the wine character. Too much acid leaves a sharp, tart taste in
the mouth, while too little makes wine seem flat and lifeless.
The flavours that linger in the mouth after tasting or swallowing
wine. The aftertaste or finish is one of the most important factors in
judging a wine`s character or quality.
The process of maturing wines so that they improve. Not all wines
benefit from aging; all rosé wines, most white and light reds are
usually best drunk young. Fine red wines (such as those from France`s
Bordeaux & RhÔne regions, good Cabernet Sauvignons and Zinfandels,
and the big Italian reds) and many white wines (including some
Californian Chardonnays) need some aging to reach their full potential.
A critical component of wine, alcohol is a natural by-product of
fermentation, and one of the mainstays of perceived flavour. Most wines
range from 7% to 14% alcohol by volume.
(ah-pehr-ee-TEEF) A French word that describes an alcoholic beverage served before dinner to stimulate the appetite.
Defines the area where a wine`s grapes were grown.
The simple, fruity smell of the grape variety used in the wine. Young wines tend to exhibit their varietal aroma quite strongly.
(BAH-kus) Another name for Dionysus, The Greek and Roman God of Wine.
The primary goal of a winemaker. A wine has balance when its elements
are harmonious and no single element dominates. Acid balances
sweetness; fruit balances against oak and tannin content; alcohol
balances against acidity.
The winemakers task of taking wines from different lots or barrels
and blending them together for bottling. Traditional and regional
regulations dictate what particular grape varieties may be blended
together to produce a specific wine. It is the winemaker`s decision on
the percentages of each to use, with vintage often playing a crucial
role in this equation.
A term for rosé wine (or any wine that is pink in colour), coined in the United States.
(boh-TRI-tihs) The `Noble Rot` - a beneficial kind of mould or fungus
that may appear on late-harvested grapes, causing them to shrink and
dry so the natural sugars become highly concentrated.
Bottle Shock; Bottle Sickness
A temporary condition affecting wines immediately after bottling or
shipment, characterized by muted or disjointed fruit flavours. A few
days of rest, proper storage, and decanting are the cure.
The perfume of wine, often the first indicator of a wine`s quality.
Most appropriate for mature wines that have developed complex flavours
beyond basic young fruit and oak aromas.
A measurement system for the sugar content of grapes and wine,
indicating the degree of the grapes` ripeness (meaning sugar level) at
harvest. Most table-wine grapes are harvested at between 21 and 25 Brix.
To get an alcohol conversion level, multiply the stated Brix by .55.
A French term meaning `raw` used to designate a dry finish Champagne
or sparkling wine. Can be the driest wine made by a producer.
(ka-behr-NAY soh-vihn-YAWN) One of the noblest of the red wine grape
varieties, used in Bordeaux, and successfully grown in many countries.
Often referred to as the king of red wines.
(ka-behr-NAY sher-AHZ) Shiraz or Syrah is a dark-skinned grape grown
throughout the world and used primarily to produce powerful red wines.
Syrah is used as a varietal and blended into other wines.
The metal (or sometimes plastic) protective sheath over the cork and
neck of a wine bottle. A capsule protects the cork from drying out and
letting air into the bottle.
(sham-PAYN) Sparkling wine made in the region of the same name, some
70 miles northeast of Paris, using a traditional process in which the
wines are bottle-fermented, and made only from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
and/or Pinot Meunier grapes.
The process of adding sugar to the fermenting wine to raise the final
alcohol level. Because the sugar is converted to alcohol, it does not
add sweetness to the finished wine, but the process is forbidden in some
A wine`s distinctive personality that stems from a combination of a region`s wine-making traditions, soil, and grape varieties.
(shar-doh-NAY) One of the world`s most well known and noble white
grape varieties that produces possibly the most popular medium to
full-bodied white wines. Varies widely in style from crisp
lemon-lime-mineral flavours to rich, oaky, buttery wines. Apple and
green apple aromas are classic although vanilla and tropical often show
up, especially in U.S. and Australian Chardonnays.
(SHEN-in BLAHNK) A versatile, noble, French white wine grape used to
make the famous dry, slightly sweet whites of the Loire Valley. Can be
found in California and other regions too, and is somewhat variable,
although pleasant honey overtones along with cantaloupe and honeydew
melon flavours and light muskiness are common.
(kon-yak) Named after the town of Cognac in France, it is the most
famous variety of brandy. It is produced in the wine-growing region
surrounding the town from which it takes its name.
A term sometimes used to describe wines that are overripe or wines of very hot growing regions.
Traditional bottle stopper produced from the bark of cork trees.
Describes a bottle of wine that is `off` due to air spoilage, a tainted cork or improper cellaring.
The helical piece of metal found on most corkscrews, used to insert into and extract the cork from a wine bottle.
A noun used to describe the time when grapes are harvested and crushed to make wine.
To pour aged bottled wine carefully into a larger vessel, often a
glass decanter for the purpose of leaving any accumulated sediment
behind. Decanting also lets a wine breathe, and almost always pertains
to red wine.
(1) A Sherry or other fortified wine. (2) Sweet wine customarily
drunk with - or in place of - dessert, usually in small amounts or
A town and taluka in Nashik district in the Indian state of Maharashtra. Dindori is known for its grape farming.
A step in the traditional process of sparkling wine or champagne
production of removing frozen sediment from the neck of the bottle after
Description of a wine produced specifically to possess little or no
sweetness, whereby the sugars have been almost totally fermented.
Commonly defined as containing less than about 0.5% residual sugar.
From the French meaning `bringing up` or `raising`, the process of
improving a recently fermented wine by functions such as blending,
fining, filtering, and aging.
(ee-NAWL-uh-gee) The science and study of wine and winemaking. Also spelled oenology.
The primary chemical process in winemaking by which yeast converts
sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide, thus turning grape juice into
A wine with a generous proportion of flavour and alcohol; feels weighty on the tongue.
Mixture of grape juice, skins and pulp that is fermented into wine.
The pleasant, herbaceous aromas and flavours reminiscent of newly cut
grass. Often used to describe the overall character of Sauvignon Blanc.
British or European tasters sometimes use the word `gooseberry` to
describe this flavour.
(gren-ash) One of the most widely planted red wine grape varieties in
the world. It ripens late, so needs hot, dry conditions . It is
generally spicy, berry-flavored and soft on the palate with a relatively
high alcohol content, but it needs careful control of yields for best
A natural berrylike taste, most often used to describe wines such as California Zinfandel.
Wines made from grapes picked later than normal with high sugar
levels, usually affected with noble rot or botrytis, thus producing
sweet dessert-style wines.
The source of the green apple flavour found in young grapes which diminishes as they ripen and mature.
A secondary fermentation occurring in most bottled wines. This
process converts the naturally occurring malic acid into softer lactic
acid plus carbon dioxide gas, thus reducing the wine`s total acidity.
Adds complexity to whites such as Chardonnay and softens reds such as
Cabernet and Merlot.
(mair-LOE) Merlot is a red wine grape that is used as both a blending
grape and for varietal wines. Merlot-based wines usually have medium
body with hints of berry, plum, and currant. Its softness and
fleshiness, combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot a popular
grape for blending
French term for the costly, labour intensive method to make
champagne, whereby wine undergoes a secondary fermentation inside the
bottle, creating bubbles. The monk Dom Pérignon is credited with
inventing this method.
A beneficial kind of mould or fungus that may appear on
late-harvested grapes, causing them to shrink and dry so the natural
sugars become highly concentrated. Also called Botrytis Cinerea.
The science and study of wine and winemaking. Also spelled enology.
(EE-no-FIL-ee) originally from Greek . An oenophile is a lover of
wine. In the strictest sense, oenophilia describes a disciplined
devotion to wine, accompanying strict traditions of consumption and
It is the roof of the mouth in humans and other mammals
(PEE-noh NWAR) Highly regarded noble red grape variety originally
from Burgundy, proven to produce some of the most velvety, voluptuous
red wines to be had.
(pee-noh-TAHJ) A red grape that is a cross between Pinot Noir and
Cinsault, grown commercially only in South Africa, where it is fermented
at higher temperatures and matured in new oak for finesse and elegant
(POH-muss) The skins, seeds, pulp, and stems left in the fermenting
vat or cask after wine making, and one of the necessary ingredients in
the distillation of French marc and Italian grappa.
Red wines actually vary in colour from dark pink to almost black. The
colour comes from a natural organic pigment called anthocyan that is
present in the skin of red grapes, and not from the juice of the grapes
(which is, in fact, clear).
(rees-lihng) It is a white grape variety which originates in the
Rhine region of Germany. Riesling is an aromatic grape variety
displaying flowery, almost perfumed, aromas as well as high acidity. It
is used to make dry, semi-sweet, sweet and sparkling white wines
(row-ZAY) A pale pink wine, ranging from dry to sweet and
traditionally made by removing the skins from red grapes early on in the
fermentation process, before they have the time to impart too much
colour. Less traditionally, rosés are made by blending red and white
(soh-vihn-yawn BLAHNK) Noble white grape variety grown in the Loire
and Bordeaux regions of France, with plantings now in other regions.
Generally speaking produces soft, assertive, herbaceous, sometimes
A term used mostly in Australia or South Africa; same as Syrah.
(saw-muh-LYAY) French term for the steward or waiter in charge of
wine. The sommelier is expected to have extensive knowledge of wines and
their suitability with various dishes.
Wine with bubbles, either naturally occurring or created by injecting carbon dioxide gas.
Usually a complex red or white wine imparting nuances of pepper, clove, cinnamon, mint or other spices.
(spuh-mahn-tee) Spumante means "foaming" and refers to all Italian
sparkling wines including dry, sweet and semi-sweet varieties. The types
of bubbles can vary in spumantes. Some spumantes have large bubbles
that rise to the surface, then fizz and explode, while other spumantes
have tiny, sparkling bubbles.
Wine containing residual sugar, occurring when all of the grape sugar is not completely converted to alcohol.
A naturally occurring substance found in grape skins, seeds and stems
or sometimes oak barrels, that gives wine its astringency. Most
prominent in red wines where it creates a dry, puckering mouth-feel.
Tannin acts as a natural preservative that helps wine age and develop,
and in the right proportion contributes to the balance of a wine, but
considered a fault if present in excess.
The prominent natural acid in wine.
(teh-RWAHR) French term meaning `soil` or `earth`, generally
referring to all the physical and environmental characteristics in and
around a particular vineyard site that are imparted into a wine such
climate, soil, topography, etc.
(TREE-ahge) A term used in the production of Champagne or sparkling wine referring to the first bottling step in the process.
A scent imparted by aging in oak, generally new oak.
The study and science of grape production for the purpose of making wine.
The science, cultivation and study of grape growing.
The classic, primary grape species used to produce nearly all of the world`s best wines.
White wines are made with much less grape skin contact than are red
wines, and vary in colour from virtually colourless to deep gold or even
deep tawny. Most white wines are made from grapes with yellow or green
skins, although if the juice is separated from the skins gently and soon
enough, white wines can also be made from black-skinned grapes.
The weight of the wine in the mouth and on the palate. Wines are commonly described as full-, medium- or light-bodied.
The act of allowing a wine to mix with air by pouring into another
container, such as a decanter or wineglass. Breathing is thought to be
beneficial for many red wines and also for some young white wines.
Droplets that trickle down the side of the glass after swirling. A
crude indicator of the alcohol content of the wine- the thicker and more
slow-moving they are, the higher the alcohol content.
The character of a wine as determined by smell; the aroma or bouquet.
A living, microscopic, single-celled organism responsible for
converting sugars in grape juice into alcohol via the process of
(ZIN-fahn-dell) Versatile, red wine grape variety most common in California, producing a wide range of wine styles.