Wine Glossary and Terms
Acid: One of the four tastes of wine. It is sometimes described as sour or tart and can be found on the sides of the tongue and mouth. Aligoté: A white grape grown in the Burgundy region of
Aloxe Corton: A village in the Côte d'Or in
Amarone: A type of Veronese wine made by a special process in which grapes are harvested late and allowed to "raisinate," thus producing a higher alcohol percentage in the wine and sometimes a sweet taste on the palate. Amontillado: A type of Sherry; its darker than fino but lighter than Oloroso. Named after the Montilla region of Spain where this style of wine originated in the 18th century, an amontillado sherry begins as a fino, fortified to approximately 13.5 percent alcohol with a cap of flor yeast limiting its exposure to the air. A cask of fino will be reclassified as amontillado if the layer of flor fails to develop adequately or is intentionally killed by non-replenishment or additional fortification. Without the layer of flor, amontillado must be fortified to approximately 17.5 % alcohol so that it does not oxidise too quickly. After the additional fortification, amontillado oxidises slowly, exposed to oxygen through the slightly porous American or Canadian oak casks, and gains a darker colour and richer flavour than fino.
Acid: One of the four tastes of wine. It is sometimes described as sour or tart and can be found on the sides of the tongue and mouth.
Aligoté: A white grape grown in the Burgundy region of
Aloxe Corton: A village in the Côte d'Or in
Amarone: A type of Veronese wine made by a special process in which grapes are harvested late and allowed to "raisinate," thus producing a higher alcohol percentage in the wine and sometimes a sweet taste on the palate.
Amontillado: A type of Sherry; its darker than fino but lighter than Oloroso. Named after the Montilla region of Spain where this style of wine originated in the 18th century, an amontillado sherry begins as a fino, fortified to approximately 13.5 percent alcohol with a cap of flor yeast limiting its exposure to the air. A cask of fino will be reclassified as amontillado if the layer of flor fails to develop adequately or is intentionally killed by non-replenishment or additional fortification. Without the layer of flor, amontillado must be fortified to approximately 17.5 % alcohol so that it does not oxidise too quickly. After the additional fortification, amontillado oxidises slowly, exposed to oxygen through the slightly porous American or Canadian oak casks, and gains a darker colour and richer flavour than fino.
A.O.C.: An abbreviation for Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée; the French government agency that controls wine production there.
A.P. number: The official testing number displayed on a German wine label that shows the wine was tasted and passed government quality-control standards.
Aroma: The smell of the grapes in a wine.
Auslese: A sweet white German wine made from selected bunches of late-picked grapes.
A.V.A.: An abbreviation for American Viticultural Area.
Barbaresco: A full-bodied, D.O.C.G read wine from
Barbera: A red grape grown primarily in
Barolo: A full-bodied D.O.C.G. red wine from
Beaujolais: A light, fruity red Burgundy wine from the region of Beaujolais; in terms of quality, the basic
Beaujolais-Villages: (Bo-sho-LAY vih-LAHZH) A Beaujolais wine that comes from a blend of grapes from designated villages in the region; it's a step up in quality from regular
Beaune: (Bone) French city located in the center of the Côte d'Or in
Beerenauslese: (Bear-en-OUSE-lay-zeh) A full-bodied, sweet white German wine made from rich, ripe grapes affected by "botrytis."
Blanc de Blancs: (Blahnk duh BLAHNK) A white wine made from white grapes.
Blanc de Noir: (Blahnk duh NWAHR) A white wine made from red grapes.
Botrysis cinerea: (Bow-TRIED-iss Sin-eh-RAY-ah) A mould that forms on the grapes, know also as "noble rot," which is necessary to make Sauternes and the rich German wines Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese.
Bouquet: The smell of the wine.
Brix: (Bricks) A scale that measures the sugar level of the unfermented grape juice (must).
Brunello di Montalcino: (Brew-NELL-oh dee Mon-tahl-CHEE-no) A high-quality D.O.C.G. red Italian wine from the Tuscny region.
Brut: (Brute) The driest style of
Cabernet Franc: (Cah-burr-NAY FRAHNK) A red grape of the
Cabernet Sauvignon: (Cah-burr-NAY Sow-vee-NYOH) The most important red grape grown in the world, which yields many of the great wines of
Chablis: (Shah-BLEE) The morthernmost region in
Most wine produced around the pretty little village of Chablis qualifies for the straightforward Chablis appellation, which can vary considerably in quality (beware of Chablis bottled outside the region) but should usually be drunk young. Some particularly well-sited vineyards, comprising about a quarter of total Chablis production, are designated Chablis Premier Cru; and represent some of the district's most reliable buys. The very best vineyards are on the west-facing hill immediately above the village and qualify as Chablis Grand Cru.
These are the vineyards, particularly Les Clos, that have made Chablis' reputation as offering a remarkable combination of refreshment and longevity. Other Grands Crus include Blanchots, Bougros, Grenouilles, Preuses, Valmur and Vaudésir. Some of the best-known Premiers Crus are Fourchaume, Mont de Milieu, Montmains, Vaillons, and Montée de Tonnerre, which in some particularly successful vintages can develop as appealingly as a Grand Cru Chablis.
Chambolle-Musigny: (Shahm-BOWL Moos-een-YEE) A village in teh Côte d'Or in
Chaptalization: The addition of sugar to the must (fresh grape juice) before fermentation.
Chardonnay: (Shahr-dun-NAY) The most important and expensive white grape, now grown all over the world; nearly all French white Burgundy wines are made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Chassagne-Montrachet: (Shahs-SAHN-ya MOWN-rah-SHAY) A village in the Côte d'Or in
Château: (Shah-TOH) The French "legal" definition is house attached to a vineyard having a spacific number of acres with winemaking and storage facilities on the property.
Château wine: Usually the best quality
Châteauneuf-du-Pape: (Shah-toh-NUFF-dew-POP):A red wine from the southern
Chenin Blane: A white grape grown in the
Chianti: (Key-AHN-tee): A DOCG red wine from the
Chianti Classico: (Key-AHN-tee CLASS-ee-ko) One step above Chianti in terms of quality, this wine is from an inner district of Chianti.
Chianti Classico Riserva: (Key-AHN-tee CLASS-ee-ko Re-SER-va) The best quality level of Italian Chianti; it is aged for a minimum of three years.
Cinsault: (San-SO) A red grape from
Classified châteaus: The châteaus in the
Colheita: (Coal-AY-ta) The term meaning "vintage" in Portuguese.
Cosecha: (Coh-SAY-cha) The term meaning "harvest" in Spanish.
Côte de Beaune: (Coat duh BONE) The southern portion of the Côte d'Or in
Côte de Nuits: (Coat duh NWEE) The northern portion of the Côte d'Or in
Côte d'Or: (Coat DOOR) The district in
Côte Rotie: (Coat Row-TEE) A red wine from the northern RhôneValley region of
Côtes-du-Rhône: (Coat dew ROAN) The RhôneValley region of
Cream Sherry: A type of Sherry made from a mixture of Pedro Ximénez and Oloroso.
Crianza: (Cree-AHN-za) The most basic and least expensive quality level of Rioja wine.
Crozes-Hermitage: (Crows Air-mee-TAHZH) A red wine from the north ern
Cru Beaujolais: The top grade of Beaujolais wine, coming from any one of ten designated villages in that region of
Cru Bourgeois: (Crew Bour-ZHWAH) A list of more than 400 châteaus in
Decanting: The process of pouring wine from its bottle into a carafe to separate the sediment from the wine.
Dégorgement: (Day-gorzh-MOWN) One step of the Méthode Champenoise, used to expel the sediment from the bottle.
Demi-sec: (Deh-mee SECK) A champagne containing a high level of residual sugar.
D.O.C.: An abbreviation for Denominazione di Origine Controllata; the Italian government agency that controls wine production there.
D.O.C.G.: An abbreviation for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita; the Italian government allows this marking to appear only on the finest wines. The "G" stands for "Guaranteed."
Dolcetto: (Dohl-CHET-toh) A red wine from
Dosage: (Doh-SAHZH) A combination of wine and cane sugar that is used in making
Eau de vie; (oh-da-Vie) also spelled eaux-de-vie, is a clear, colorless fruit brandy that is produced by means of fermentation and double distillation. The fruit flavor is typically very light. More precisely, eau de vie refers to a distilled beverage made from fruit other than grapes. Similar terms may be local translations or may specify the fruit used to produce it. Eau de vie is a French term, and similar beverages are produced in other countries (In Germany its Schnaps, The Balkans have rakia, and then thres Romanian tuica, Czech and Slovak pálenka, Hungarian palinka, Sri Lankan coconut arrack, and Georgian chacha)
Edelfaule: (EH-del-foy-luh) A German name for the mould that forms on the grapevines when the conditions permit it. (See also Botrytis cinerea and "Noble Rot.")
Erzeugerabfüllung: (AIR-tzew-ger-AHB-fue-lung) A German word for an estate-bottled wine.
Estate-bottled: Wine that's made, produced, and bottled by the vineyard's owner.
Extra dry: Less dry than brut
Fermentation: The process by which grape juice is made into wine.
Fino: (FEE-noh) A type of Sherry.
First growth: The highest-quality Bordeaux chateau wine from the Classification of 1855.
Flor: A type of yeast that develops in some Sherry production.
Fortified wine: A wine such as Port and Sherry that has additional grape brandy that raises the alcohol content.
French Colombard: A white grape grown in California and used to make jug wines.
Gamay: (Gah-MAY) A red grape used to make Beaujolais wine.
Gamay Beaujolais: A red grape grown in California.
Garnacha: (Gar-NAH-cha) A red grape grown in Spain that is related to the Grenache grape of the Rhône Valley region of France.
Gevrey Chambertin: (Zhehv-RAY Sham-burr-TAN) A village in the Côte d'Or in Burgundy, France.
Gewürztraminer: (Ge-VERTZ-tra-MEE-ner) The "spicy" white grape grown in Alsace, California, and Germany.
Gran Reserva: A Spanish wine that's had extra aging.
Grand Cru: (Grawn Crew) The highest classification for wines in Bur gundy.
Graves: (Grahv) A basic dry wine from the Bordeaux region of France.
Grenache: (Greh-NAHSH) A red grape of the Rhône Valley region of France.
Hectare: A metric measure that equals 2.471 acres.
Hectolitre: A metric measure that equals 26.42 U.S. gallons.
Halbtrocken: The German term meaning "semi-dry."
Hermitage: (Air-mee-TAHZH) A red wine from the northern RhôneVal ley region of France.
Jerez de la Frontera: (hair-ETH day la fron-TAIR-ah): One of the towns in Andalusia, Spain, where Sherry is produced.
Jug wine: A simple drinking wine.
Kabinett: (Kah-bee-NETT) A light, semi-dry German wine.
Landwein: A German table wine; one step above Tafelwein.
Liebfraumilch: (LEEB-frow-milch) An easy-to-drink white German wine; it means "milk of the Blessed Mother."
Liqueur de Tirage: (Lee-KERR deh Teer-AHZH) In the Méthode Champenoise, a blend of sugar and yeast added to Champagne to be gin the wine's second fermentation.
Lodge: The English term for a Port firm.
Long-vatted: A term for a wine fermented with the grape skins for a long period of time to acquire a rich red color.
Mâcon Blanc: (Mac-CAW blahnk) The most basic white wine from the Mâconnais region of Burgundy, France.
Mâcon-Villages: (Mac-CAW vee-LAHZH) A white wine from designated villages in the Mâconnais region of France; a step above the Mâcon Blanc quality.
Malvasia: (Mahl-vah-SEE-ah) A white grape grown in Italy.
Manzanilla: (Mahn-than-NEE-ya) A type of Sherry.
Marc; The refuse of grapes or other fruit that has been pressed for winemaking. Most widely known is Marc de Bourgogne, a French spirit made from pressing the skins, pulp, and seeds that are left over after wine grapes are processed into wine. This pomace brandy albeit one of the more polished versions, is not subtle in either its taste or the opinions it provokes.
Margaux: (Mar-GO) A district in the Bordeaux region in France.
Mechanical harvester: A machine used on flat vineyards. It shakes the vines to harvest the grapes.
Médoc: (May-DOCK) A district in the Bordeaux region in France.
Merlot: (Mehr-LOW) The red "softening" grape grown primarily in the Bordeaux region of France.
Méthode Champenoise: (May-TUD Shahm-pen-WAHZ) The method by which Champagne is made.
Meursault: (Mehr-SOH) A village in the Côte d'Or in Burgundy, France.
Microclimate: A term that refers to an area that has a climate within a climate. While one area may be generally warm, it may have a cooler "microclimate" or region.
Morey-St-Denis: (Mor-RAY san duh-NEE) A village in the Côte d'Or in Burgundy, France.
Mosel-Saar-Ruwer: (MO-z'1 sahr ROO-ver) A region in Germany that produces a light-style white wine.
Mousseux: (Moo-SUH) The term for all French sparkling wines that are not produced in Champagne.
Müller-Thurgau: (MEW-lurr TURK-gow) Across between the Riesling and the Silvaner grapes of Germany.
Muscadet: (Moos-cah-DAY) A light, dry wine from the Loire Valley of France.
Muscat Beaumes-de-Venise: (Mus-CAT borne deh ven-EASE): A sweet fortified wine from the Rhône Valley region of France.
Must: Grape juice.
Nebbiolo: (Nehb-bee-OH-loh) A red grape grown in Piedmont, Italy, produces some of the finest Italian wine.
"Noble Rot": See Botrytis cinerea.
Non-vintage Champagne: Champagne made from a blend of vintages (more than one year's crop); it is more typical of the house style than vintage Champagne.
Nose: The term used to describe the bouquet and aroma of wine.
Nuits-St-Georges: (Nwee san ZHORZH) A village in the Côte d'Or in Burgundy, France.
Official Classification of 1855: A classification drawn up by wine brokers of the best Médoc châteaus of that time.
Palomino: The primary grape used to make Sherry.
Pauillac: (PAW-yak) A district in the Bordeaux region of France.
Pedro Ximénez: (PAY-droh he-MAY-nays): A grape used to make Sherry.
Petite Sirah: A red grape grown primarily in California.
Petits Châteaus: Lesser-known châteaus in the Bordeaux region that pro duce good-quality wines for reasonable prices.
Phylloxera: (Fill-LOCK-seh-rah) A root louse that kills grape vines.
Piedmont: (PEED-mont) One of the most important wine districts in Italy.
Pinot Blanc: A white grape grown primarily in the Alsace region of France. Pinot Meunier (PEE-noh muhn-YAY) A red grape grown primarily in the Champagne region of France.
Pinot Noir: (PEE-noh NWAHR) A fragile red grape that is difficult to grow; nearly all red French Burgundy wines are made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Pomerol: (Palm-muh-ROLL) A district in the Bordeaux region of France.
Pommard: (Poh-MAR) A village in the Côte d'Or in Burgundy, France.
Pouilly-Fuissé: (Pooh-yee Twee-SAY) The highest-quality white Mâconnais wine using Chardonnay grape. Located in the Mâconnais subregion of Burgundy in central France, from the communes of Fuissé, Solutré-Pouilly, Vergisson and Chaintré.
Pouilly-Fumé: (Pooh-lee fooh-MAY) A dry white wine from the Loire Valley region of France, made using the Sauvignon Blanc grape
Pouilly-Vinzelles: (Pooh-yee van-ZELL) A dry white Mâconnais wine.
Premier Cru: A wine which has special characteristics that comes from a specific designated vineyard in Burgundy, France, or is blended from several such vineyards.
Prestige Champagne: The highest-quality Champagne.
Look for Brut Nature as this will be the driest, with no added sugar. Prosecco is the main ingredient of the Bellini cocktail and can be a less-expensive substitute for Champagne.
Proprietary wine: A wine that's given a brand name like any other product and is marketed as such, i.e., Riunite, Mouton-Cadet.
Puligny-Montrachet: (Pooh-lean-YEE mown-rah-SHAY) A village in the Côte d'Or in Burgundy, France.
PX: An abbreviation for the Pedro Ximénez grape from Sherry.
Qualitätswein: (Kval-ee-TATES-vine) A German term meaning"quality wine."
Qualitätswein mit Pradikat: (Kval-ee-TATS-vine mitt pray-dee-KAHT) The highest level of quality German wine.
Reserva/Riserva: A term that means a wine has extra aging; it is often found on Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian wine labels.
Reserve: A term sometimes found on American wine labels. Although it has no legal significance, it usually indicates a better-quality wine. Residual sugar: An indication of how dry or sweet a wine is.
Rheingau: (RHINE-gow) A region in Germany.
Rheinhessen: (RHINE-hess-en) A region in Germany.
Rheinpfalz: (RHINE-faults) A 'region in Germany. The official name has now been changed to Pfalz.
Ribera del Duero: A winegrowing region in Spain.
Riddling: One step of the Champagne-making process in which the bottles are turned gradually each day until they are almost upside down, with the sediment resting in the neck of the bottle.
Riesling: A white grape grown primarily in Alsace, Germany, and Cali fornia.
Rioja: (Ree-OH-ha) A wine region in Spain.
Ruby Port: A dark and sweet fortified wine blended from non-vintage wines.
Sancerre: (Sahn-SEHR) A dry white wine from the Loire Valley region of France.
Sangiovese: (San jo-VAY-zay) A red grape grown primarily in Tuscany, Italy.
Sauternes: (Sew-TURN) A sweet white wine from the Bordeaux region of France.
Sauvignon Blanc: (SOH-veen-yown BLAHNK) A white grape grown primarily in the Loire Valley, Graves, and Sauternes regions of France, and in Washington State and California (where the wine is sometimes called Fumé Blanc).
Sekt: A German sparkling wine.
Sémillon: (Say-mee-YAW) A white grape found primarily in the Graves and Sauternes regions of Bordeaux, France.
Short-vatted: A term for a wine fermented with the grape skins for only a short time.
Silvaner: A white grape grown in Germany and Alsace.
Solera system (So-LEHR-4h) A process used to systematically blend various vintages of Sherry.
Sommelier: (So-meI-YAY) The French term for cellarmaster, or wine steward.
Spätlese: (SHPATE-lay-zuh) A white German wine made from grapes picked later than the normal harvest.
Spumante: An Italian sparkling wine.
Stainless-steel tank: A container that (because of its capability for tem erature control) is used to ferment and age some wines.
St-Emilion: (Sahnt Ay-meet-YOHN) A district in the Bordeaux region of France.
St-Estèphe: (Sahnt Ay-STEFF) A district in the Bordeaux region of France.
St Julien: (Sahnt Zhoo-lee-EHN) A district in the Bordeaux region of France.
St-Véran: (Sahn Vay-RAHN) A white Mâconnais wine one step above Mâcon-Villages in quality.
Sulphur dioxide: A substance used in winemaking and grape growing as a preservative, an antioxidant, and also as a sterilizing agent.
Süss-Reserve: The unfermented grape juice added to German wine after fermentation to give the wine more sweetness.
Syrah: (See-RAH) A red grape grown primarily in the Rhône Valley region of France.
Tafelwein: A German table wine.
Tannin: A natural compound that comes from the skins, stems, and pips of the grapes and also from the wood in which wine is aged.
Tavel: A rosé wine from the southern Rhône Valley region of France.
Tawny Port: A Port that is lighter, softer, and aged longer than Ruby Port.
T.B.A.: An abbreviation for the German wine Trockenbeerenauslese.
Tempranillo: (Temp-rah-NEE-yoh) A red grape grown primarily in Spain.
Thompson seedless: A white grape grown in California and used to make jug wines.
Trebbiano: (Treb-bee-AH-no) A white grape grown in Italy. Trocken: The German term for "dry."
Trockenbeerenauslese: (Troh-ken-bear-en-OUSE-lay-zuh) The richest and sweetest wine made in Germany from the most mature grapes.
Tuscany: (TUSS-cah-nee) A region in Italy.
Varietal wine: A wine that is labelled with the predominant grape used to produce the wine, i.e., a wine made from Chardonnay grapes would be labelled "Chardonnay."
Veronese wines: The wines from Veneto, Italy: Valpolicella, Bardolino, Soave, and Amarone.
Village wine: A wine that comes from a particular village in Burgundy.
Vin de Pays: (Van deh Pay-EE) A French classification one step below V. D. Q. S.
Vino Nobile di Montepulciano (VEE-noh NOH-bee-leh dee Mon-tehpull-CHAH-noh) A D.O.C.G. red wine from the Tuscany region of Italy.
Vins de Table: (Van deh TAH-bluh) Ordinary French table wine.
Vintage: The year the grapes are harvested.
Vitis labrusca: A native grape species in America.
Vitis vinifera: (VEE-tiss Vih-NIFF-er-ah) A European grape species used to make European and California wine.
Viognier: (Vee-own-YAY) A white grape from the Rhône Valley region of France.
Volnay: (Vohl-NAY) A village in the Côte d'Or region ofBurgundy, France.
Vosne Romanée: (Vohn Roh-mah-NAY) A village in the Côte d'Or region of Burgundy, France.
Vougeot: (Voo-ZHOH) A village in the Côte d'Or region of Burgundy, France.
Vouvray: (Voo-VRAY) The white "chameleon" wine from the Loire Valley region of France; it can be dry, semi-sweet, or sweet.
Wood Port: Ruby and Tawny Port; they're ready to drink as soon as you buy them.
Zinfandel: A red grape grown in California.