About Tasters Guild NY New York City Wine Tasting Events All About Wine Tasting New York City Wine Tasting Events New York Wine Resources New York City Wine Tasting Events New York City Wine Tasting Events Tasters Guild NY Home
  
   Search for


Understanding Varietals
Glossary
Pronunciation Glossary
Tasting Terms
How to Taste Wine
How Wine is Made
How Wine is Stored
Wine Regions
Wine Tidbits
 

Glossary



A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z


Acidity
is the natural tartness of grapes, giving a refreshing quality and preventing blandness. One of the main components in the structure of wine, acidity falls in the range of 6 and 75 percent of volume in a balanced table wine. The most common acids are tartanc, malic, lactic and citric

Aglianico
noble red wine of Southern Italy. It is very concentrated and impenetrably tannic in youth. Bottle age yields a subtle fruit and nobly balanced flavor

Alcohol Level
refers to the amount of alcohol by volume. Wine ranges from 7% to 14%, with an average of 11% to 12%; fortified wines may reach 21. By contrast, beer averages between 4% and 5%, and spirits generally start at 40%

Aligoté
lesser white wine grapes of Burgundy

Almacenistas
pure unblended sherry, single cask wines

Aloxe-Corton
wine village in Burgundy's Côte de Beaune

Amontillado
a particular style of medium-dry Sherry

Amphora
sealed clay vessel used to store wine in Roman times

Anada
new vintage wines of sherry; capataz makes decision to which classification anada will be used for (most used to refresh Finos)

Anjou
French wine district along the Loire

Anti-oxidant
permitted additive such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) which prevents oxidation of wine, white wine particularly

Appellation d'Origine Controlée
is a geographical designation of origin. The system used in the States defines AVAs (American Viticultural Areas). Acronyms used elsewhere include AC/AOC (France); DOC/DOCG (Italy); DO/DOC (Spain); DO/IPR (Portugal)

Approachable
drinkable, easy to enjoy

Aroma
is the combination of primary scents that evolves into bouquet as wine ages

Aromatic
descriptive term for wines of a markedly flowery, spicy or grapy character

Aspect
refers to the topography of a vineyard: which direction the vines face, the angle/height of the slope, and how it interrelates with the climate

Assemblage
blending or assembling the final wine

Astringency
is mainly associated with red wines, primarily due to levels of tannin; it is a quality experienced as a rough, drying sensation

Aszu
grapes infected with botrytis cinerea in Hungary

Auslese
sweet German wine made from selected bunches of grapes

A x R #1
present day rootstock used in California and found susceptible to phylloxera

Top



B-Cap
laminated disc made from natural food wax and recycled paper that covers and seals corks; provides alternative to capsules (leave no waste)

Balance
is the harmonious interplay of all components in a wine. For example, acidity balances sweetness; fruit balances oak and tannin; alcohol balances acidity and flavor

Barbera
red wine grape from Piedmont region of Italy

Barco Rabelo
boat used to sail pipes of port from press houses down Duoro River to lodges, very dangerous trip in the 19th century

Bardolino
village along Italy's Lake Garda which produces light red wines

Barolo
wine village in the Piedmont region of Italy

Barrel
wood container in which wine is stored and aged (affects the flavor of the wine).

Sizes:
Tonneau
900 L. (or equal to 4 barriques)
Pipe
450 L. (or equal to half a tonneau)
Barrique
225 L. (25/12 bottle cases)

Barrel Aging
refers to keeping wine in a wooden barrel after fermentation and before bottling. Wood is porous and allows the wine to mature in controlled interaction with its environment; the wood may also provide flavor elements

Barrel-Fermented
identifies wines fermented in oak barrels rather than stainless steel tanks or other vessels. Several types of oak are employed, mainly from the US and France

Barrique
is a small (59 gal.) barrel for aging wine

Barsac
wine village in the Sauternes district of Bordeaux

Beaujolais
red wine from southern Burgundy

Beaune
central village of the Côte de Beaune in Burgundy

Beefy
term for reds meaning solid or chunky

Beerenauslese
very sweet German wine produced from specially selected grapes

Bereich
German vineyards around one specific town region

Bernkastel
German wine village along the Moselle

Big
ample amount of concentrated fruit, character, tannins, etc.

Blanc de Blancs
is white wine made from white grapes

Blanc de Noirs
white from dark-skinned grapes

Blind Tasting
taste wines without seeing bottle color shape or label

Horizontal many regional wineries/one vintage

Vertical one winery through many vintages

Bocksbeutel
squat, flagon-shaped bottle, used in Franconia

Bodega
Spanish wine cellars

Body
is the tactile impression of weight or fullness of wine on the palate

Bordeaux
city, and important wine region, in south-western France

Botrytis
is a vine disease that causes grapes to rot, sometimes to delicious effect. The fungus botrytis cinerea attacks ripe grapes, causing them to shrivel and become concentrated and sweet. The juice of grapes affected with this "noble rot" is used to make some of the world's great sweet wines, including Sauternes

Bouquet
is the complex of fragrances that develops in a wine as it ages and matures

Brandy
distilled wine, most famous being from Cognac

Brix
scale for measuring the sugar content of grape juice
(Oechsle degrees in Germany)

Brouilly
village in the Beaujolais region

Brut
the driest style of Champagne

Bual
grape used to make sweet Madeira

Buttery
a smell, especially in oak-aged Chardonnay, not a tactile sensation

Top



Cabernet Franc
lavishes in the shadow of Cabernet Sauvignon. Used in Bordeaux blend to add spice to the mix

Cabernet Sauvignon
classic red wine grape of Bordeaux

Capataz
Spanish cellarmaster

Capsule
foil used to cover bottle top, lead no longer allowed by law

Carbonic Maceration
is the fermentation of whole rather than crushed grapes, resulting in light, fruity, nouveau-style wines

Cava
is the Catalàn word for cellar, and refers to sparkling wines made in Spain

Cave
wine cellar

Cépage
is French for vine variety

Chablis
famous white wine village of northern Burgundy

Chai
ground-level warehouse in Bordeaux

Chambertin
Burgundy vineyard in the village of Gevrey-Chambertin

Chambolle-Musigny
wine village in Burgundy's Côte de Nuits

Chaptalization
is the addition of sugar during fermentation to increase a wine's alcohol level (not permitted in California or Italy)

Chardonnay
the great white grape variety of Central France, makes Champagne, Chablis, White Burgundy and the Maconnais wines

Chassagne-Montrachet
village in Burgundy's Côte de Beaune which produces both red and white wines

Chasselas
white wine grape grown in Switzerland

Chateau
synonymous with vineyard, in Bordeaux

Chateauneuf-du-Pape
red wine village in the Rhøne region

Chénas
village in the Beaujolais region

Chenin Blanc
white wine grape from the Loire Valley

Chewy
wine with a lot of tannin and strong flavor

Chiroubles
village in the Beaujolais region

Cistercians
group of monks responsible for planting and care of many of Europe's finest vineyards (Motto: cross and plough)

Claret
English term for red wine of Bourdeaux

Clarify
allowing sediment in juice to settle at low temperature (before fermentation for white wines)

Clean
wine with no bacterial or chemical faults and a simple direct flavor

Climate
is critical to the production of good-quality wine grapes. Climate includes the level of heat, sunshine, rainfall and wind. Each grape variety has specific conditions of climate which suit it best.

Clone
group of vines descending from a common parent; vines used (i.e., quality or quantity or resistance to disease)

Clos de Beze
Burgundy vineyard adjoining Chambertin

Clos de Vougeot
largest vineyard in Burgundy's Côte de Nuits

Cold Fermentation
permits control of the speed and heat of the fermentation process and utilizes a stainless steel tank jacketed with a refrigerant

Columbia River
provides irrigation necessary to make Washington the 2nd largest producing wine state in USA

Complex
depth of flavor and nuances, an interesting wine that reveals lots of different aromas and flavor characteristics

Co-Operative
group of growers who band together to sell wines as a group

Cool Fermentation
fermentation carried out with assistance of refrigeration at lower temperature (i.e., to add fruit flavor in white wines)

Corbiéres
wine region in southern France

Cork
bark of evergreen oak tree (Quercus Suber), grown in mountains of Portugal, Spain and Algeria, used to stopper bottle

Corton
Burgundy vineyard in the village of Aloxe-Corton

Côte de Beaune
district in Burgundy that includes such villages as Beaune, Pommard, and Volnay

Côte de Brouilly
an inner district in the Beaujolais region

Côte Chalonnaise
lesser known district in southern Burgundy

Côte de Nuits
district in Burgundy that includes such villages as Nuits-St. Georges, Chambertin, and Vosne-Romanée

Côte d'Or
principal fine wine district of Burgundy, made up of the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune

Côte-du-Rhöne
important wine region in southern France

Coulure
failure of vine flowers to develop

Cream
Oloroso based sherry to which Moscatel or Pedro Ximenez sweet fortified wine has been added

Crémant
is a term used to describe French sparkling wines made outside of the Champagne region but employing the méthode Champenoise in their production

Crisp
has generous amounts of acidity, generally a fresh, clean wine in a lighter style

Cru
is the French term for rank or level, often used to define a hierarchy of vineyards within appellations. In most Bordeaux classifications, premier cru classé is the top rank. In Burgundy, premier cru vineyards are one level below grand cru

Cru Classé
classified growth, or vineyard, of Bordeaux

Cuvée
a blend of wines

Top



Danube River
major highway/artery east-west in Europe

Dao
region in central Portugal

Decanting
wine by pouring it from the bottle into another container enhances aeration and permits removal of sediment

Deep
term for full-flavored reds and whites, often applied to wines still not at their peak

Degorgement
method in which sediment is removed from sparkling wine with minimum loss of wine

Dionysus
Greek god of wine, theater, and pleasure. Called Bacchus in Roman times

Domaine
single vineyard property

Dosage
"liqueur d'expedition," addition of cane sugar and wine mixture to replace wine lost at degorgement and identify sweetness levels.

Designations
Brut 1.5%
Extra Dry 2%
Sec 3.5%
Demi-Sec 5%
Doux +5%

Douro (doo-roe)
river in northern Portugal that flows through the Port district

Drainage
good vine dies quickly if water allowed to stand on roots (limestone, gravel, chalk/good drainage)

Dry
describes a lack of perceptible sweetness. In dry wines, all or most of the sugar is fermented into alcohol. Brut is a French term for dry Champagne; extra dry sparkling wines are actually sweeter than brut. Trocken is the German word for dry; halbtrocken is half-dry. Secco is Italian for dry, abboccato for slightly sweet. The French term demi-sec refers to a medium-sweet wine

Dusty
usually applied to hot, country reds, in particular wines from the southern Rhone

Top



Earthy
the smell of rich earth or minerals. A positive comment

Echézeaux
Burgundy vineyard in the Côte de Nuits

Edelfaule
noble mold responsible for some of the finest sweet German wines

Egg Whites
albumen of an egg, beaten and added to wine to clarify and sometimes in red wine to soften tannins see Fining

Egri Bikavér
specific red wine from Hungary

Einzellage
German single vineyard, wine made from grapes of one delineated vineyard only

Eiswein
grapes harvested late in winter when frozen. Wine must have sugar level of Beeren or Trockenbeerenauslese QmP

Entre-Deux-Mers
white wine district in Bordeaux

Erzeugerabfullung
German co-op bottled wine (grown, made, and bottled by cooperative)

Estufa
hot house lined with hot water pipes, sort of sauna bath in which wines of Madeira are slowly heated and then cooled to emulate voyage in ship's hold. "Ordeal by fire" makes this wine unique

Top



Fat
a heavy, sometimes slightly clumsy wine. Though if made from fully ripe grapes it can imply a rather unctuous richness in the wine, sweet or dry; referring to a wine where the level of acidity is lower than the perceptible sweetness, or alcohol

Fermentation
is the process during which yeast transforms the sugar of grape juice into alcohol

Fiasco (plural Fiaschi)
straw-covered bottle used for Chianti

Filtering
removes yeast cells and other particles from wine after fermentation or prior to bottling

Fining
adding something to wine to polish or clarify it removing suspended sediment (usually egg whites, gelatin, or bentonite clay)

Finish
is the wine's tactile and flavor impression left in the mouth after swallowing. Critical to assessing the quality of a wine, in the finest wines, the finish should be long and lingering

Fino
a particular style of dry Sherry

Fleurie
village in the Beaujolais region

Flor
white film of skin that forms on surface of sherry wine in barrel and protects it from oxidation. Literally "the flower of the yeast" contributes to flavor and aroma of finos

Fortified
connotes the addition of spirits to wine either to raise the level of alcohol, or to stop fermentation and thereby maintain the natural sweetness of the grapes

Frascati
wine village near Rome

Freshness
the youthful aromas in a wine, usually associating good acidity with floral or fruit flavors

Fruit
term, literally, for the fruit element in a wine. It may not taste of grapes, but it will resemble a fruit of some kind e.g., black currant, strawberry, apple and is crucial to the flavor of any wine

Fullness
the feel, or weight, of a wine in the mouth

Top



Galen
physician to Roman emperors in 1st century. Wrote De Antidotis, treatise on how wines should be judged, stored, aged and used to "cure" ailments. Recommended "austere" wines, that is lighter and drier wines

Gamay
red wine grape used to make Beaujolais

Gevrey-Chambertin
wine village in Burgundy's Côte de Nuits

Gewurztraminer
spicy white wine from Alsace

Giro-palette
mechanized machine to do automatic remuage

Glassware
best vessel to taste wine
Requirements:
1. Clear without color
2. Chimney inwards
at top
traps bouquet
3. Volume big enough
4. Stem to hold without heating wine by hand

Glycerin
is a by-product of fermentation most noticeable in higher alcohol and late harvest wines, giving a smooth tactile impression

Governo
system of second fermentation created by addition of dried grape concentrate, to freshen wines and add color; often used in Chianti area

Grafted
vinifera vine growing on non-vinifera (phylloxera resistant) rootstock

Grand Cru
top-quality French wine

Grands Echézeaux
vineyard in Burgundy's Côte de Nuits

Grappa
distilled skins and seeds (Italy). See marc

Grapy
quite rare flavor of the grape itself in wine. Most common with Muscat, Beaujolais, Gewurztraminer and Riesling

Graves
red and white wine district in Bordeaux

Green
unripe, or tart, not necessarily an unattractive taste in a light wine

Grenache
grape used to make red and rosé wines

Grosslage
German vineyard grouping within town region

Gumpoldskirchen
Austrian wine village near Vienna

Gutsabfullung
German wine grown, produced, bottled by individual estate only (French mis en bouteilles au chateau)

Top



Hard
usually applied to reds which have an excess of tannin. In young reds, this is often necessary to support the aging process

Haut
literally, high; not necessarily an indication of higher quality

Hectare
measure of land, equivalent to 2.471 acres

Herbaceous
weedy, off smell, seen sometimes in Cabernet

Hock
English term for Rhine wine

Honeyed
applied to ripe wines which, sweet or dry, have a taste or aroma of honey

Hospices de Beaune
charitable hospital in Burgundy that owns many fine vineyards

Hybrid
cross between different species of grapes

Top



Irrigation
artificially watering plants, not allowed in most parts of Europe

Top



Jammy
rather big, cooked sweetish red wines

Jefferson, Thomas
America's first wine connoisseur

Jerez
city in southern Spain, center of Sherry production

Johannisberg
German wine village along the Rhine

Juliénas
village in the Beaujolais region

Top



Kabinett, Spatlese and Auslese
are German terms which relate, in ascending order, to sugar levels at harvest, not sweetness of the finished wine

Koran
holy book of Islam. Prophet Mohammed forbade use of all alcoholic drink

Kosher Wine
wine suitable for ritual use, made under strict supervision of Orthodox Rabbi

Kvevris
large clay pot buried in the earth used to make wine in Georgia on the southern slopes of Caucasus Mountains

Top



Lacrima Christi
literally, tears of Christi refers to red and white wines produced near Naples

Late-Harvest
refers to sweet wines made from extra-ripe grapes

Lees
are the sediment consisting of dead yeast cells, grape pulp, seeds and pigment that drop to the bottom of a vessel during and after a wine's fermentation. Sur lie is a French phrase which refers to extended contact of wine with the lees, which imparts additional flavor

Legs
looks similar to tears as wine slowly drips down side of glass; indicates that the wine has vigor and glycerine content

Length
describes wine whose flavors continue to evolve in the mouth even after swallowing

Limousin
famous forest in France known for its oak. One new limousin barrique can cost $500-$600

Lodge
above the ground wine cellar in Portugal

Loire River
longest river in France and home to many varied vineyard areas and micro-climates

Top



Maceration
is the steeping of grape skins and seeds within the must to extract phenolics

Macon
extensive red and white wine region in southern Burgundy

Madeira
exotic group of islands soaring out of Atlantic, also name of the fortified wine made there

Maderized
spoiled wine, smells and tastes bad

Malic Acid
particularly raw, "appley" acid in grapes

Malmsey
grape used to make sweet Madeira

Malolactic Fermentation
is a secondary fermentation which converts sharp malic acid into softer lactic acid, contributing complexity and softness to reds and imparting a buttery quality to whites

Malvasia
is the third most planted variety in Madeira and called "Malmsey" by the English. Along with Muscat, it is one of the most ancient vines currently being ousted by Trebbiano and Viura.

Manzanilla
very dry style of Sherry

Marc
distilled seeds and skins (France). See Grappa

Margaux
wine village in the Médoc district of Bordeaux

Marsala
fortified wine made from Catarratto variety in western Sicily

Maturity
age of the wine, often can be seen in the color

Médoc
important red wine district in Bordeaux

Mead
wine made from honey

Meritage
is a white or red wine from a California winery incorporating a blend of varieties traditionally used in Bordeaux, France

Merlot
one of the world's great underdogs. Dominant grape variety on Bordeaux right bank. Blended with Cabernet to soften the wines from Bordeaux left bank.

Méthode Champenoise
is French for "Champagne method," referring to the production of sparkling wines in Champagne. The key to the méthode is the inducement of a secondary fermentation in the bottle, by adding a small amount of yeast and sugar to a base wine and re-corking the bottle, trapping carbon dioxide from the second fermentation and giving the wine its bubbles

Meursault
white wine village in Burgundy's Côte de Beaune

Mise en bouteilles
bottled (this phrase on a wine label is followed by the name of a producer or wine shipper)

Moelleux
late picked high residual sugar grapes making sweeter Loire valley Botrytis Cinerea wines

Montrachet
famous white wine vineyard in Burgundy

Moors
North African Berbers, an advanced Islamic civilization that controlled Spain 711-1492

Mosel River
main wine highway or artery through Germany

Morgon
village in the Beaujolais region

Moulin-a-Vent
an inner district in the Beaujolais region

Mousseux
French sparkling wine

Muscadet
white wine district along the Loire. Produces a bone dry, light, fresh wine. It must be drunk very fresh

Muscat
a variety of grapes that makes a heavy sweet wine, with hints of peach or apricot in the bouquet

Musigny
Burgundy vineyard in the village of Chambelle-Musigny

Must
unfermented grape juice before it becomes wine

Top



Nebbiolo
strictly grown in Northern Italy. Makes a rough as road tar wine at youth but with lots of age becomes delicately wonderful

Négociant
is the French word for merchant

Neuchatel
Swiss white wine produced along the shore of that lake

Nierstein
important German wine village along the Rhine

Nose
refers to the aroma of a wine, or the act of smelling the wine

Nouveau
wine made to be drunk immediately after harvest

Nuis-St. Georges
central wine village of Burgundy's Côte de Nuits

Nutty
usually for dry whites
a soft brazil or hazelnut flavor in Chardonnay, a woodier taste in Chenin or Sauvignon, and a dry richness in Madeiras

Top



Oak
most common wood used in barrel making, used to enhance fruit flavor, not mask it

Oaky
the slightly sweet vanilla flavor imparted by maturation in oak casks

Oenology
science and study of wine

Oenotria
Greeks referred to Italy as "land of the vines"

Oidium
Latin for hatred; plant mildew or rot, splits plants and grapes causing immediate death; no harvest possible

Olfactory nerve
Nerve behind the nose used to record senses of smell, fatigues quickly

Oloroso
a particular style of Sherry, used as a base for Cream Sherry

Orvieto
white wine village in central Italy

Oxidized
describes wines that have spoiled or become brown, due to oxygen

Top



Palo Cortado
sherry wine that is neither Amontillado nor Oloroso, but character that lies between the two

Palomino
the best white variety in Spain, where it makes sherries

Pasteur, Louis
first wine scientist who explained that it was yeast that drove fermentation. Also explained that microbes and bacteria if allowed to grow will spoil wine

Pauillac
important wine village in the Médoc district of Bordeaux

Petillant
lightly sparkling

Petit
small

Phenolics
are chemical compounds found in wines; they include tannins, color pigments and flavor compounds

Phylloxera
insect that destroyed most of the world's vineyards in the 19th century

(Pinot) Chardonnay
classic white wine grape of Burgundy - Pinot has been dropped

Pinot Grigio
a mutation of Pinot Noir makes fresh, almost spritzy wines in Northeastern Italy yet almost ignored in the New World. Drink when at its youngest

Pinot Noir
classic red wine grape of Burgundy

Pligny, Gious
Roman scholar and author of "Natural History," the authoritative study on the vine and wine from the 1st century until the 16th century

Plummy
often applied to big, round, ripe reds from Pomerol, St-Emilion, Cote Du Nuits and Napa

Pomerol
red wine district in Bordeaux

Pommard
village in Burgundy's Côte de Beaune

Port
fortified wine made in Oporto, where Duoro River empties into the Atlantic Ocean

CLASSIFICATIONS
Wood Aged:
Ruby Everyday port, named for its color
Tawny Aged in wood 3-10 yrs., also its color
LBV From single vintage aged in wood 4-6 yrs
Old Tawny Aged in wood, average age on label
Colheita Dated tawny from one vintage
Bottle Aged:
Vintage Everyday port, named for its color
Single Quinta Quality of one vineyard, vintage

Pouilly-Fuissé
dry white wine from the Loire

Pourriture noble
noble mold responsible for the unique flavor of Sauternes and Barsac

Premier Cru
first growth; refers specifically to some of the best individual vineyards in Bordeaux and Burgundy

Prickly
a wine with slight residual gas in it. Usually attractive in light young whites, but in reds it is often a sign of refermentation in bottle

Prosecco
sparkling, dry wine from province of Treviso, north of Veneto in Northern Italy

Puligny-Montrachet
white wine village in Burgundy's Côte de Beaune

Pumping Over
juice pumped from bottom of vat and showered over skins which have floated to the top of the vat

Punt
recessed bottle bottom, increases strength of bottle

Puttonyos
is a Hungarian term that indicates the level of residual sugar in the sweet wines made in the Tokaj region from grapes affected by botrytis (called aszù in Hungary). Tokaji Aszù is sold at 3, 4, 5 and 6 puttonyos, based on an ascending scale of residual sugar levels

Top



Qualitatswein mit Pradikat
quality wine with special attributes (such as no sugar added).

  1. Kabinett: first picking through vineyard
  2. Spatlese: late harvested grapes
  3. Auslese: only most ripe bunches used
  4. Beerenauslese: selection of individually rotted berries (see Botrytis Cinerea)
  5. Trockenbeerenauslese: individually selected dried, well infected by Botrytis, berries


Top



Racking
wine drawn off sediment which has fallen to bottom of barrel
decanting from barrel

Racy
a light wine of quality with lively acidity

Refractometer
handheld instrument used by vineyard manager to measure percentage of sugar in grape and thus make decision as to when to harvest

Remuage
turning and tapping the inverted Champagne bottles while increasing the angle in the rack to work the sediment together and down the neck towards the bottle cap

Remurer
cellar worker who turns up to 35,000 bottles per day

Reserva (Spain) and Riserva (Italy)
legal terms describing the aging requirements of wines in particular regions. In most other countries, "reserve" designations are not legal definitions

Retsina
Greek wine flavored with resin

Rheingau
fine German wine district along the Rhine

Rheinhessen
extensive German wine district along the Rhine

Rheinpfalz
less familiar German wine district along the Rhine

Rhine River
major artery/highway north-south in Europe

Rhone River
route used by Greeks, then Romans to invade Gaul (now known as France)

Richebourg
Burgundy vineyard in the village of Vosne-Romanée

Riesling
classic white wine grape of Germany. Loves to rot and makes lovely rich Botrytis Cinerea wines

Riserva
aged at least three years in oak (Italy)

Rioja
fine wine district of Spain

Rosé
wine tinted salmon or pink by allowing red grapes less skin contact or adding red wine to white

Top



Sancerre
village along the Loire producing full-flavored dry white wine

Sangiovese
grown in various forms throughout central Italy. Used as most important part of the blend for Chianti and Vino Nobile wines

Sauternes
Bordeaux district producing sweet white wines

Sauvignon Blanc
classic white wine grape of Bordeaux

Sec (French), Secco (Italian)
dry

Sekt
German sparkling wine

Selection des Grains Nobles
late harvested individual berries with "noble rot" in Alsace. See Qualitatswein mit Pradikat
Auslese

Sémillon
fine white wine grape of Bordeaux

Skin contact
to transfer color and tannin into red wines

Soave
Italian village producing popular light dry white wine

Soft
mellow, well-rounded, mature tannins and little evidence of acidity

Solera
blending system used to make Sherry

Sommelier
wine steward

Smoky
many wines do have a smoky taste, especially when slightly charred oak barrels have been used for maturation

Spatlese
late-picked, as applied to the grapes used to make some German wines

Spicy
exotic fruit and spice flavors in whites, particularly Gewurztraminer, but also a peppery or cinnamony clovy perfume in some reds

Spumante
Italian sparkling wine

Staves
oak plant dried in open air before pieced together by cooper and transformed into barrel

Steely
applied to top Riesling for the very dry, almost metallic flavor they develop

Structure
refers to the interaction of components which contribute to a wine's tactile sensation, including acidity, glycerin, alcohol and tannin

Sulfites
are a derivative of the element sulfur, widely used in winemaking, though most wineries keep their applications to a minimum. Sulfur may be sprayed in the vineyard to prevent diseases, pests and mildew. Sulfites may be used to clean and sterilize equipment, to prevent browning in the juice, to inhibit native yeasts on the grapes, or to guard against spoilage at bottling. Sulfites are also a natural by-product of fermentation. By law, any wine with sulfites higher than 10 ppm must state "contains sulfites" on the label

Sulfur
used to antiseptically clean barrels and tanks, to kill disease in vineyard (rot and mildew), to retard wild yeast fermentation, to kill microbes that cause spoilage, and to preserve freshness and prevent browning

Sulfur Lie
juice or wine left on lees before fermentation or bottling to add flavor

Supple
soft textured, round on the palate, fully mature tannins

Sussreserve
sweet unfermented fruit juice added to wine to bring to proper degree of sweetness, must be from same vineyard and vintage. Used particularly in German wines

Sweet
tasting term, applied not only to sweet wines, but tannins to the elements of ripeness or richness which good quality dry wines can often suggest

Sylvaner
white wine grape of Alsace and Germany

Syrah
in France (Northern Rhone wines), where Syrah represents less than 2% of all red wine plantings, this variety and its wines are cherished. In Australia where it is known as Shiraz, it represents 40% of all red vine plantings and the variety is largely ignored. Makes Australia's greatest wine Grange Hermitage. Note: Petit Sirah is not the same variety, but is of the Durif variety

Top



Tannins
are phenolic compounds derived primarily from grape seeds and skins, as well as the wooden casks in which wines are aged. Depending on the ripeness and quality of the grapes from which they are extracted, tannins can provide either a smooth texture or an astringency to the wine. Tannins impede oxidation and are a primary component in determining a wine's structure. With age, tannin molecules often combine into large polyphenols, creating a softer texture

Tart
green, unripe wine. Can be desirable in light dry wines

Tartaric Acid
most important grape acid

Tastevin
shallow silver tasting cup used in Burgundy

Tastevinage label
special identifiable label rewarded by Confrerie des Chevaliers at special blind tasting 2 weeks before Easter; rewarded to the best wines of the Burgundy area

Tavel
wine village in the Rhône producing popular dry rosé

Tempranillo
Spain's most noble red-grape variety, capable of producing dry, scented wines worth aging

Terroir
describes the environment or a particular vineyard, including elements of soil, climate and aspect

Tinajas
earthen containers buried in ground used to ferment wines at constant temperature (see Kvevris)

Toasty
the barrel smell and taste imparted to oak-fermented white wines and barrel-aged white burgundy

Tough
usually implying too much tannin

Traminer
white wine grape of Alsace

Trebbiano
the most widely planted white variety in Italy. Grown in France as the Ugni Blanc where it is also the planted white variety. World's most prolific. Often distilled to make Brandy, Cognac being the most famous

Trellising
controlling the canopy and method vine grows to regulate amount of sun exposure

Triage
vigorous separation of good grapes from bad at harvest, picked over by hand

Trockenbeerenauslese
rare German wine made from specially selected overripe grapes

Tufa
caves dug into chalky hillsides along Loire River, provides perfect constant temperatures for wines

Top



Ullage
empty space in wine bottle or cask due to evaporation

Uvaggio
grape blend or Italian recipe (see cepage)

Top



Valdepeñas
wine village in central Spain

Valpolicella
region near Verona producing light dry red wines

Vanilla
the smell of new oak

Varietal
dominating grape in the wine. U.S. wines must be at least 75% of the varietal that appears in the label

Varietal character
refers to the combination of aromas and tactile impressions typically offered by a particular grape variety

Vendage Tardive
French term for late harvested grapes (see Qualitatswein mit Pradikat Spatlese)

Veraison
when grapes start to change color on vine

Verdicchio
Italian dry white wine made from this grape

Vieilles Vignes
wine made from old vines' production

Vigneron
French grape grower

Vin de Presse
juice accumulated when skins and pits only are pressed after new wine has been removed

Vinho Verde
literally, green wine; young red and white wines from northern Portugal

Vinifera (vin-if-uh-rah)
grape species responsible for most of the world's wines

Vintage
usually refers to the year in which the grapes were picked, but it also identifies the picking process

Viticulture
science of growing grapes

Vitis Amurensis
named for Amur river which forms Sino-Siberian frontier. This species is resistant to cold, which could be put to use in England and New Zealand

Vitis Labrusca
species of grape that is native to North America, and probably the vine spotted in "Vinland" by Leif Ericsson in 1001. Important in that its rootstock is resistant to phylloxera. Wines produced are notorious for "foxy" flavors

Vitis Riparia
another American vine, notable for its resistance to phylloxera

Vitis Rupestris
Rupestris St. George is important almost solely as rootstock

Vitis Rotundifolia
one species of grape that grows wild, and is native to the Gulf of Mexico area, includes Scuppernong. Resistant to humidity of Southeast

Vitis Vinifera
is the genus and species of grapevine responsible for producing grapes that make the world's best wines
cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, etc.

Viura
replacing Malvasia in Spain, this variety produces the "modern," early maturing white wines of Rioja. Wines tend to be fairly light, relatively high in acidity almost floral in youth, and yet loses its freshness fairly early. Also used to make white wine in Northern Africa

Vosne-Romanée
village in Burgundy's Côte de Nuits

Top



Weight
body and alcoholic strength of a wine

Top



Yeasts
are one-celled organisms that, in wine-making, convert sugars into alcohol

Yquem
famous vineyard in the Sauternes district

Top



Zinfandel
California's very own "European" varietal; low-yielding, stylishly fashioned, concentrated, well aged, and can provide a unique and delicious wine

Top