Wine glossary

 
a
Acidity
One of the sensations determining the taste of wine, due to the acids that wine naturally contains. If it is not excessive, the acidity contributes to the harmony and balance of the wine, giving it a fresh and crispy feature
Aging
It is the maturation of the wine, that may take place in wood, steel or bottle, before it is put on the market
Alcohols
It refers to the alcohol produced by the sugars fermentation
Drying
For some wines, this process follows grapes ripening; it consists of dehydration of the berries with the aim of concentrating the aromas and taste.
Harmony
It is the perfect balance of all aspects pertaining to the body of wine (aromas, taste, etc.). A wine can be defined as harmonious when no element over-powers another from the point of impact on the palate to the finish
Astringency
Feature of wines rich in tannins, mouth is dry and wine tastes hard or sharp
b
Bâtonnage
Activity consisting in stirring the lees periodically during wine maturation
Barrique
French oak barrel, with a capacity of 225 liters. It is used to age wine and gives a characteristic aroma, allowing micro-oxygenation.
Botrytis Cinerea
Noble mold causing rotten grapes and favouring sugar concentration. It is used to obtain great body wines with complex aromas, such as straw wines or fortified wines.
Big barrel
Wooden barrel, usually oak, with a capacity of 1000 liters.
Bouquet
Olfactory sensations and perceptions of a wine, developing during maturation.
c
Classico
Wine made in the respective region, with an older winemaking tradition.
Consistency
Refers to wine richness in components. A particularly consistent wine flows along the glass walls in an unsmooth way.
Cru
This term has a French origin and it refers to a special vineyard, particularly suitable for that grape variety.
Cuvée
Term with a French origin referring to a mix of more wines, sometimes different vintages, or grapes to obtain a unique composition. It is almost a synonym for blend or assembly and often used for Champagnes.
d
Static settling
This process consists of separating the lees from crushed grapes, before alcoholic fermentation begins.
Tasting
Evaluation of wine characteristics based on the perception of the organoleptic properties of wine and the sensations it creates.
Appellation
Mark that indicates a certain origin for a specific wine. It's proof that the wine meets the requirements in the production regulations.
Destemming
Consists of separating the grapes from the stems, usually before crushing them.
Production Regulations
Set of rules that regulate the production of a specific appellation
DOC, DOCG
Wines protected by specific production regulations. Regulations for DOCG are stricter than DOC.
e
Effervescence
Presence of carbon dioxide in a wine, producing big or smaller bubbles in sparkling wines. The more the bubbles are thin and persistent, the better the quality of the wine.
Balance
Aroma and taste balance in wine. A balanced wine is one in which acidity, sapidity, softness are in harmony and they are all present in equal measure.
f
Lees
Wine sediment during vinification, deposit of solidified vegetal material, yeasts and bacteria, settling on the bottom during winemaking.
Alcoholic fermentation
Natural biochemical reaction by yeasts that mainly transform grape sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide
Malolactic fermentation
Natural biochemical reaction by bacteria that transform malic acid , responsible in young wines for hints such as freshness, into lactic acid, which gives more mature hints. Not all wines undergo malolactic fermentation and this mainly happens for red wines.
Filtering
Removal process of any suspension particles in wine.
Finish
Mouth sensations after wine has been swallowed. They allow to evaluate wine complexity, balance and age.
Freshness
Pleasant acidity and taste fragrance, creating a brilliant wine that has fully developed its organoleptic properties.
i
IGT
Appellation indicating the geographic origin of the wine and sometimes even of the grapes.
Intensity
This characteristic may refer to colour tone, wideness and deepness of the aroma or a particularly pronounced taste.
l
Clarity
It refers to wine colour and indicates the absence of suspended substances or deposits, giving complete clearness.
Longevity
Refers to wine aging potential, in a way that it maintains or improves its qualities.
m
Maceration
Winemaking phase in which the must is in contact with grape skin.
Charmat Method
Used in the production of sparkling wines, this method refers to wine sparkling process in ermetic containers called autoclaves.
Metodo Classico
Used in the production of sparkling wines and Champagnes, which consists of a refermentation in bottle using sugars and selected yeasts.
Vintage
With reference to sparkling wines, this term indicates the year in which grapes were harvested. If the vintage appears on a wine label, the wine is called vintage. Producers usually decide to use this term only for exceptionally good vintages. The term vintage is not used for non-sparkling wines.
Minerality
The mineral substances determine the structure of a wine and of the flavor. It is typical of many white wines.
Softness
A wine is called soft when it leaves rounded sensations in the mouth. Softness is usually typical of mature and structured wines.
Must
Juice obtained from crushing or pressing of the grapes and not yet fermented.
Botrytized
The word botrytized refers to wines produced using grapes that are attacked by Botrytis Cinerea, a noble mould concentrating wine aromas and flavours. Botrytized wines can be paired with desserts, old cheeses and dried fruit and the recommended serving temperature is 8-10°C.
p
Bead
Vertical succession of carbon dioxide bubbles in a glass containing sparkling wine or Champagne.
Persistence
How long olfactory and taste sensations last in seconds, after swallowing a wine.
Crushing
Preliminary phase of wine making process causing grape break, to obtain the juice which will be fermented into wine.
Sparkling process
Phase of foaming process making wine sparkling.
Organoleptic properties
Wine characteristics that can be perceived through senses, upon tasting. Characteristics are about the colour, smell and taste.
r
Aftertaste
Last sensation of the wine that remains in the mouth after swallowing
Reserve
This term indicates wines with a longer aging period than usual. On the label, it preceeds the vintage indication.
Roundness
A wine is called rounded when the sensations it creates are complex, but balanced and soft at the same time.
s
Sapidity
Sensation due to the presence of mineral salts, depending on soil and climate characteristics in which grapes are grown and on winemaking practices.
Dégorgement
Final phase of traditional method for sparkling wines. Disgorging is the act of removing the frozen plug of ice (containing spent yeast) from a bottle of Champagne or Sparkling Wine, after riddling. It takes place on a disgorging line just prior to adding dosage and the final corking of the finished bottle of champagne.
Aroma
Aromas perceived during the olfactory and taste-olfactory tasting. The scents are classified in primary (deriving directly from the vinegrape), secondary (born from the fermentation of the wine), tertiary (they develop during the period of aging or aging of the wine)
Sulphites
Mineral salts in the wine and mainly produced by an additive (sulfur dioxide) used as an antimicrobial and antioxidant since XVIII century.
Evolution status
Wine quality linked to its evolution, with variable length depending on the type of wine. While maturing, wine becomes softer and softer. Generally speaking, a wine can be defined as immature (aging has not finished yet), young (has a balance in which hardness, fragrance and freshness are prevalent), ready (is ready to drink, but can still be improved), mature (has reached maximum balance).
Structure
Sensation that a wine leaves on the palate, deriving from all the solid substances. In red wines it is mainly determined by tannins
Sur Lie
French word indicating wine aging on yeasts lees after fermentation. It can be in bottle or another container, used as an alternative to normal bottle aging, to make rich and bodied white wines.
t
Tannic
Taste sensation of astringency due to a high presence of tannin, a chemical substance found in all vegetal extracts, from wine to tea. Tannin can be transferred to wine by barrique wood and grapes.
Tannin
Tannin is a compound present in grape lees, stems and grape seeds, as well as in barrel wood. It contributes to giving wine its colour and creates a dry astringent sensation in the mouth.
Terroir
Wide concept, going beyond the definition of the land and including all factors that make a grape unique, among others: morphology of the area, sun exposure, temperature, precipitations, climate.
u
Blend
Blending of different grapes during wine making. When the blending is done after winemaking, by mixing the wines and not the grapes, it is called assembly.
v
Vinification
Biochemical process of processing grapes into wine, from crushing to placing on the market
Grape variety
A specific grape varietal, characterized by the shape and colour of the grapes, of the bunch and leaves, with a specific maturation period. The wines obtained from it all have different organoleptic characteristics.
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