Wine Terms - A Glossary of Wine Terminology
A wine terms list in alphabetical order created by Southwest Wine Guide for all wine lovers and students of wine. In this Glossary of Wine Terminology, you’ll find important and interesting definitions of wine terms. If you have any suggestions on how to improve this wine terms glossary, please contact us.
Acidic – Wines that are acidic taste tart and crisp. While all wines have some level of acidity, most acidic wines will have a balance so as not to overpower with a sour or overly sharp taste on the palate.
Aeration - Also known as "breathe," is the process of letting the wine sit in an open bottle or glass to allow the air to soften the wine. Some people believe that the aeration process allows the flavors and aroma of the wine to open.
Aftertaste - The length of time the flavors of the wine linger on the palate after you have tasted, spit or swallowed the wine. Also known as "finish," many wines have a long and lingering aftertaste.
Aggressive - An aggressive wine tastes harsh. This is usually due to too much acidity or tannins. Aggressive wines are generally not pleasant to drink.
Aging - The process used by winemakers of holding wine in a barrel, tank or bottles. Wines that are aged are given more time to develop. Aging wine can take a few months to a few years.
Alcohol - A chemical compound as a by-product of the fermentation process. Ethyl alcohol is the result of the natural interaction of sugars and yeast during fermentation.
Alcohol by Volume - Required by law, a statement of the alcohol level on the label of the wine bottle.
Alcoholic – Wine that is unbalanced wine with too much alcohol. These wines taste heavy and strong especially the aroma and aftertaste.
Alluvial - Soil used for grape-growing containing a mixture of stones, rock, gravel and sand.
Alsace - A wine producing region in France known for producing wines such as Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and Reisling.
Amarone - A wine producing region in Italy known for producing rich red wines.
American Oak – The type of wood used to make barrels that age wine. American oak has notes of vanilla and cedar and is often used to age wines such as Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. It's an alternative to French Oak and its use is generally determined by the winemaker.
American Viticultural Area (AVA) - A grape-growing area designated by The US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Ampelography - The study of different types of grape varieties.
Angular - A term to describe a wine that tastes lean as opposed to a wine that tastes more well-rounded.
Appearance – The clarity of the wine.
Appellation - A specific designated agricultural area where grapes and other products are grown. Appellation designations and requirements vary from country to country.
Appellation d’Origine Controllee (AOC) - The system the French use to designate agricultural regions used for making appellations for the
Aroma - Used to describe the scent of the wine or how the wine smells. Often used when describing young wines.
Assemblage - A term that the French use for grape varietals used for blending a wine.
Astringent - Wines considered astringent taste harsh, sharp or even rough. This happens most often from high tannins or acidity.
Attack - The first taste of a wine.
Austere – Wines lacking in depth and richness are considered austere.
AVA - The abbreviation for American Viticultural Area.
Awkward – A wine that is out of balance or has poor structure.
Backward - Used when describing wines that are less developed than other wines of its type and vintage. Often used to describe a young wine.
Balance - A wine is balanced when all the elements that make up the wine – acids, fruit, tannins and alcohol come together without one element overpowering the others.
Barnyard - A term used to describe a wine that is earthy with animal scents.
Barrel - The container used to ferment and age wine. Barrels are usually made from oak.
Barrel Fermented - Wines that have been fermented in barrels as opposed to larger tanks or vats. Most often used in white winemaking. Barrel fermented wines can add texture and a richer, creamier oak flavor to a wine.
Barrel Tasting - When wine is tasted directly from the barrel before bottling.
BDX - The abbreviation for Bordeaux.
Beaujolais - Wine made in the French region of Beaujolais from Gamay grapes.
Beaujolais Noveau - The first release of wine from the annual harvest in November, on the third Thursday.
Bin - A number assigned to a wine storage area for identification purposes.
Biodynamic - A vineyard management technique utilizing organic farming methods.
Bitter - A sharp, bitter taste on the back of the tongue. Bitterness can be caused by tannins or stems, but there are also some grapes that have natural bitterness. Bitterness should not be the dominating quality of a wine.
Blanc de Blancs - White wine made from white grapes.
Blanc de Noirs - White wine made from red or black grapes.
Blend - A wine that is made from more than one type of grape varietal.
Blind Tasting - A wine tasting where the identity of the bottle is hidden.
Blush - Blush wines are made from red grapes. They have the appearance of a "blush" red color due to the removal of the grape skins from the fermenting juice sooner so that the full color of the grape does not develop in the wine.
Body - The sensation derived from tasting a wine that describes the weight or fullness of the wine on the palate. A wine can be described as full-bodied, medium-bodied, or light-bodied.
Bold - Generally referred to a red wine that is rich, dark, concentrated and intense.
Bordeaux - A large wine-producing region in southwest France. Wines produced in this region include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.
Bottle Age - Quality wines are aged in bottles before being opened. Most quality wines are bottle aged for a few years.
Bottle Shock - Also referred to as "Bottle Sickness." Bottle Shock is a temporary condition where the flavors are muted or disjointed. This can happen with fragile wines, wine that have been recently bottled, or wines that have been shaken during travel. Wines with bottle shock should rest for a few days before consuming.
Bottled By – Wines that were already produced and then are purchased and bottled by the owner of a brand. Wines with labels that say, "made and bottled by" or "produced and bottled by" mean that the entire process from start to finish was made at the winery. Also referred to as "Cellared By."
Botrytis Cinerea - Also known as "Noble Rot," is a beneficial mold or fungus that causes grapes to shrivel. This causes a deep concentration of flavors, sugar and acid. Some of the best dessert wines are made from these grapes including Sauternes.
Bouquet - Used to describe the scent of the wine or how the wine smells. Often used when describing complex or aged wines.
Box Wine - Wine in a plastic bag (also referred to as "bladder") and packaged in a box. An airtight valve inserted in the box is used to pour the wine.
Brawny - A wine that is intense, raw, woody and tannic.
Breathe - Also known as "aeration," is the process of letting the wine sit in an open bottle or glass to allow the air to soften the wine. Some people believe that the aeration process allows the flavors and aroma of the wine to open.
Brettanomyce - A yeast that spoils wine and produces smells of barnyard, metal or plastic.
Bright - A term used to describe zesty, lively acidic young wines.
Brilliant - A term used to describe a wine having a sparkling clear appearance.
Brix - A measurement of sugar content in unfermented grapes.
Brooding - Wines described as brooding have dark colors and an intense concentration of flavor.
Browning - The color of a wine indicating that it may be faded or mature.
Brut - A term used to describe a dry Champagne or sparkling wine.
Bud Burst- The term used to describe vines that begin producing new shoots during the spring growing season. Also referred to as "Bud Break."
Bung - A bung is the plug that is used to seal a wine barrel.
Burgundy – A French wine region noted for producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Buttery - A term used to describe a wine that has a smell of butter.
Calcareous - Refers to a soil that is composed of compounds from limestone.
Cap - Seeds, stems and grape skin that rises to the top of a fermenting vat.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) - Used in winemaking appearing naturally during the fermentation process.
Carbonic Maceration - A process that makes more fruit-forward wines. Whole uncrushed grape clusters are placed in vats containing carbonic gas.
Cedar – Used to describe the smell of cedar wood in wine, particularly in Cabernet Sauvignon and red blends that have been aged in American or French oak barrels.
Cellared By - Wines that were already produced and then are purchased and bottled by the owner of a brand. Wines with labels that say, "made and bottled by" or "produced and bottled by" mean that the entire process from start to finish was made at the winery. Also referred to as "Bottled By."
Cépage - A term used by the French to describe grape varieties planted in vineyards.
Chablis - A wine region east of Paris known for producing Chardonnay.
Chai – The term used by the French for barrel cellar.
Chaptalization – Used to describe the adding of sugar to the juice before or after fermentation to boost alcohol levels in under-ripe grapes. Some countries forbid this process while others limit its use.
Charmat Process - The process used to mass produce sparkling wine.
Chateau - The French term for an estate with its own vineyard.
Chewy - A term used to describe a rich, heavy-textured tannic wine. A chewy wine is full-bodied and dense.
Cigar Box - A term for a wine that has aromas of cedar or tobacco.
Citric Acid - One of the three main acids in wine.
Claret - An old term used by the English when referring to the red wines produced in Bordeaux.
Clone - The term refers a group of vines that have originated from an individual plant and propagated from a single source exhibiting specific characteristics such as flavor, yield, size, etc. Cuttings are made from that single source to produce additional "cloned" vines.
Clos – A French term describing vineyards surrounded by walls.
Closed - A term used to describe a wine that has character but does not have much flavor or aroma. Young wines are sometimes considered closed because they are still underdeveloped.
Cloying - Cloying wines are wines that are too sweet and lack balance.
Cluster - Grapes are grown in clusters.
CNDP - The abbreviation for Chateauneuf du Pape. Can also be abbreviated as CDP.
Coarse - Refers to wines that have a coarse and rustic texture.
Cold Maceration - A process used before fermentation where the fermenting temperature remains low to assist in obtaining a higher level of extraction from the juice allowing additional color and aromas.
Cold Stabilization - A technique in winemaking intended to keep tartaric acid crystals from forming after bottling.
Color - The color in a wine can determine its age and quality. White wines will grow darker as it ages and red wines will turn a brown or brick color.
Complexity – A combination of aromas, depth, richness, and intensity in a wine. A complex wine has all of these elements creating a balanced and harmonic wine.
Cooked - A term referring to a wine that has been damaged by heat during storage.
Cooper - A cooper is a barrel maker.
Cooperative - A winery owned by several vintners who share in the costs of equipment and production. Cooperatives are often found in smaller European villages where area grape growers come together to produce and sell local wines.
Cork Taint – Unpleasant aromas and taste resulting from a microorganism called trichloroanisol (TCA). Cork taint can occur in a bottle sealed with a natural cork. Wines that taste or smell moldy or like wet cardboard most likely have cork taint.
Corked - Flawed wines that have musty, mushroomy, or moldy flavor and aroma as a result of a tainted cork.
Côtes - The French term for slope.
Creamy - A term used to describe a wine that has a creamy texture on the palate.
Crisp - A term used to describe a wine that is bright and acidic.
Crush - Crush is the grape harvesting season when they are picked and crushed.
Cult Wines - Refers to wines that people pay large sums of money to purchase, collect and invest in.
Cuvée - A special blended batch of wine.
Decadent - A decadent wine is a rich, lush wine that coats the mouth with texture.
Decanting – The process used to separate wine sediment before drinking or to allow air into a wine so that it softens and is more aromatic. The decanting process is accomplished by carefully pouring wine from its bottle into another container.
Delicate - Used to describe a light or medium-bodied wine that has good flavors. Examples of a delicate wine include Pinot Noir and white wines.
Demi-sec - A French term that means "half-dry," used to describe Champagne or sparkling wine.
Denominacion de Origen - Spanish for 'appellation of origin.'
Denominazione de Origine Controllata - Italian for a controlled designated wine region.
Dense - A dense wine has concentrated aromas both on the nose and palate.
Depth - The opposite of shallow, a wine with depth exhibits layers of flavor and concentration.
Dessert Wine - A dessert wine has high alcohol levels that range from 14% to 24%.
Destemming - The process of removing stems from grapes.
Desuckering - The process of removing vine shoots that do not bear fruit.
Disgorge - The process used to remove final sediments in sparkling wine.
Dosage - A process used in bottle fermented Champagne and sparkling wines where a small amount of sweet wine is added back to the bottle. Dosage determines if the wine is brut, extra dry, dry or semisweet.
Double Blind - A wine tasting where the identity of the wine is covered and there is no information about the type of wine that is being tasted.
Douro - A wine producing region in Portugal and also the name of a river in Portugal.
Dry - A wine that contains not more than a sugar level of .05 to 0.7 percent. When tasting a dry wine, there is no perceptible taste of sugar.
Drying Out - A wine is considered to be drying out when has lost its fruit and acid, alcohol or tannins overpower the taste.
Dumb - A phase in a young wine when flavors and aromas are still undeveloped.
Early Harvest – Wines that are made from early harvested grapes are generally sweeter and lower in alcohol.
Earthy - Used to describe a wine that has aromas of earth or damp soil. Earthy wines that are well balanced are pleasant on the nose and palate.
Elegant – An elegant wine has soft characteristics and is well balanced.
Elevage - The French term for the amount of time a wine is aged in a barrel.
Endnote - The same meaning as finish or end when tasting wine. The endnote is the lingering of flavors on the palate after swallowing the wine.
Enology - Also referred to as Oenology or Vinology. The science of wine making and production. An enologist is a professional winemaker while an enophile is a person who enjoys tasting and learning about wine.
Estate Bottled - Primarily used in American wine production, an estate bottled wine means that 100% of the grapes used to make the wine are from a vineyard that is owned or long-term leased by the winery and from the same viticultural area where the winery is located. The wines must also be bottled on premises.
Expansive - A term used to describe a wine that demonstrates a range of flavors and textures.
Extra-Dry – A term sometimes used on a Champagne label.
Extract - A wine that has a concentration of rich and deep flavors.
Exuberant - A term used to describe a young, lively wine.
Fading - Usually as a result of age, a fading wine is a wine losing color and fruit.
Fat - Sometimes used to describe a full-bodied high alcohol wine with low acidity. The term can often be perceived as a good trait in a wine but can also denote a wine with tones of flabbiness.
Feminine - Used to describe a lighter, elegant wine.
Fermentation - The process of converting grape sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide by yeast. This is how the juice of the grapes are made into wine.
Field Blend - When several different grape varieties are planted to the same vineyard and the grapes are harvested together to produce a single wine type.
Filtering – Removing solid particles from the wine after fermentation by using a filter. Filtering helps with clarity and stability.
Fine Lees - Fine lees are dead yeast cells created during the fermentation process. They are sometimes used in the aging process to add more complexity to a wine.
Fining - To clear unwanted particles from wine, a winemaker uses this technique by adding egg whites, gelatin or bentonite, which when combined with the sediment particles, causes the particles to settle to the bottom where they can be removed. This makes the wine clearer. Some winemakers choose not to fine their wines. These wines are commonly known as "Unfined" or "Natural".
Finish - The length of time the flavors of the wine linger on the palate after you have tasted, spit or swallowed the wine. Also known as "aftertaste," many wines have a long and lingering finish.
Firm - Firm wines are highly structured and tannic.
Flabby - Wines described as flabby are soft, heavy, feeble and lack acidity.
Flight - A flight of wine is when more than one wine is poured at the same time. Often wine tasting rooms will offer a flight of different types of wine to taste.
Flint/Flinty - A description used for a wine that has a bouquet of flint struck against steel. Used primarily to describe a very dry white wine.
Floral/Flowery - Having aromas of flowers and generally used to describe some white wine types.
Flowering - The time of the year when the first floral blossoms appear on the grape vine.
Fortified Wine - A wine that has increased alcohol by the addition of brandy or other distilled grape spirit. Popular fortified wines include Port and Sherry.
Foxy - A term to describe wines that smell musky or like wild animal fur found in American grape varieties such as Lambrusca or Catawba.
Fresh - Used to describe young wines or wines that have fruity and lively characteristics.
Fruity - A tasting description of a wine that has aromas and tastes of fresh fruit.
Full-bodied - A wine that is full-bodied has strong, pronounced flavors with higher alcohol.
Futures - Wine futures refer to purchasing wine before it has been bottled and released.
Garagiste - A term originating from the Bordeaux, France region refers to limited production or small-lot winemakers.
Graft - a technique used in vineyards where the bud-producing portion of the grapevine is attached to an existing root.
Grand Cru - A French term for the very best vineyards.
Grassy – A common term to describe Sauvignon Blanc wine.
Green - Under ripe fruit most commonly used in making Riesling and Gewürztraminer.
Green Harvest - The trimming of green or under ripe clusters of grapes from the vine. It is a form of crop thinning to manage yield which improves the ripening and concentration of the remaining clusters.
Grip - The firmness of texture when tasting a wine most often tasted in wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon.
Hard - A term used to describe a wine that has overly-high tannins. Young red wines are often described as hard.
Herbaceous - Herbal notes in the taste and aroma of a wine.
Hollow - a descriptive term for wine that lacks flavor.
Hot - Wine that is high in alcohol content such as a Port.
Hybrid - The process of genetically crossing two or more types of grapes.
Ice Wine - A description of wine made from frozen grapes. Leading producers of ice wine are Germany, Canada and Austria.
Imperial - A bottle that is oversized holding up to 6 liters.
Jammy - A term to describe a wine that has been made with ripe, concentrated grapes with a jam-like fruity taste such as strawberries, plums or blackberries.
Kabinett - German for a wine of quality.
Kosher Wine - Wine made under strict Jewish religious laws.
Late Harvest - Wines made from grapes left on the vines longer than normal. These are wines that are higher in sugar and most associated with desert-style wines.
Lean – A term to describe a wine lacking in fruit.
Lees -A sediment by-product left in the wine barrel or tank from fermentation.
Legs - A descriptor of how the way wine slides down the side of the glass when it is swirled.
Length - The amount of time wine flavors linger in the mouth and palate after the wine has been swallowed.
Lift - The refreshing sensation in the mouth from an acidic wine.
Limestone - A type of soil made from fossilized chalk and seashell found in certain grape-growing regions.
Linear - Wines flavors that do not change when tasting.
Lively - A characteristic of a fruity wine that shows freshness.
Long - Used to define a wine with aromas and flavor that linger on the nose, mouth and palate.
Lush - A term used to describe a wine that is rich and high in residual sugar and soft tasting.
Maceration - During the fermentation process where the grape juice and skins steep together to produce aroma, flavor, tannins and color.
Maderized- Describes the brownish color and sweetness in a wine resulting from oxidation. A process most often used for dessert wines.
Magnum – A bottle that is oversized and holds 1.5 liters of wine.
Malolactic Fermentation - A process used to convert the tartness of natural malic acids in a wine into a smoother, softer, lactic acid wine. Used in winemaking where a more buttery or creamy wine is desired.
Masculine - A descriptor for a wine that is strong and tannic.
Mature - A wine that has aged and is ready to drink.
Medium Bodied - A term used to describe the weight of the wine and how it feels in the mouth when tasted.
Médoc - A large wine producing region in the left bank of the Gironde estuary north of Bordeaux, France. The region is known for its red wine production.
Methuselah - A large bottle holding 6 liters of wine.
Microclimate - Small, localized climate areas often within a larger appellation or region.
Mid-Palate - The middle phase of the three phases of wine tasting, taking place after the initial taste and before the finish.
Minerality - A term to describe the aroma or flavor of a wine produced from grapes grown in rocky and mineral-rich soils.
Monocepage - A term used to describe a wine that has been made from just one type of grape varietal. A mono-varietal wine.
Mouth-Feel - How a wine feels in the mouth. The texture of the wine when drinking it.
Mulled Wine - A red wine infused with spices such as nutmeg, clove and cinnamon and served warm.
Must - Unfermented grape juice, seeds, stems and skins that have been extracted by crushing or pressing.
Musty - A wine that has a mildew, moldy or musty smell and is off-putting.
Négociant - A French term used to describe a wholesaler, reseller and shipper of wine.
New Oak - The first time an oak barrel is used for wine aging.
New World Wine - A geographic distinction. Old World wines are made in Europe. New World wines are made everywhere else.
Noble Rot - Also known as "Botrytis Cinerea," is a beneficial mold or fungus that causes grapes to shrivel. This causes a deep concentration of flavors, sugar and acid. Some of the best dessert wines are made from these grapes including Sauternes.
Nose - A descriptor of the character of a wine from the sense of smell. Also known as bouquet or aroma.
Nouveau – A French term to describe a wine that can be sold in the same year as it was harvested such as Beaujolais Nouveau.
Nutty - An aroma perceived in a wine such as almonds, pine nuts, walnuts, etc.
Oak/Oaky - Used to describe the aroma of a wine usually as a result of the type of oak barrel in which the wine was aged. It is not uncommon to detect oaky notes of toast, vanilla, butter or spices in an oaky wine.
Oenology - Also referred to as Enology. The science of wine making and production. An oenologist is a professional winemaker while an oenophile is a person who enjoys tasting and learning about wine.
Off-Dry - A term to describe a wine that has subtle characteristics of sweetness. Also known as semi-dry.
Old Vines - A term used to describe a wine that was produced from vines that are old. Although there is no specific age requirement for vine to be considered “old,” vines that are 50 years or older appropriately fit into this category.
Old World Wine - A geographic distinction. Old World wines are made in Europe. New World wines are made everywhere else.
Open - A wine that is open is ready to drink.
Organic - Grapes that have been grown using natural fertilizers and without pesticides or herbicides.
Oxidized/Oxidation - A wine that has been exposed to air for too long and has lost its freshness.
Palate - In wine tasting, palate refers to the ability to identify the different characteristics of a wine.
PH - An indication of how acidic a wine is. Winemakers will take a chemical measurement of the acidity of the wine to determine ripeness.
Phenolic Compounds - The natural compounds found in the seeds and the skins of grapes.
Phylloxera - Tiny insects that attack the roots of a vine.
Piedmont – A winemaking region in northwest Italy noted for making wines including Barbera, Dolcetto and Moscato.
Pip - In winemaking, the pip is the seed of the grape.
Plonk - Slang for cheap wine.
Pomace - After fermentation, the term to describe the remaining grape stems, seeds and pits.
Press Wine – Also known as Wine Press, the device that extracts the juice from the grapes just prior to fermentation for white wines and after fermentation for red wines.
Primeur - The French term for wine futures which refers to purchasing wine before it has been bottled and released.
Pruney - Wines produced with over-ripe and dried-out grapes.
Pruning - The trimming of vines from the previous harvest. Pruned vines can be trained to grow in a certain way such as at a 90-degree angle along wires.
Puckery – Wines that leave a very dry, tannic taste in the mouth.
Pungent – A term for a wine that has a strong, powerful smell.
Quaffing Wine – A term to describe a wine that is not sophisticated but is nonetheless pleasant to drink.
Racking - In the winemaking process, moving the wine from one container to another, leaving the sediment behind. This process helps with aeration.
Raisiny - A wine that has the taste of raisins from being produced from overripe grapes.
Reduced – A term to describe a wine that has been exposed to air.
Reserva - A Spanish term to designate a wine that has been in the barrel and the bottle for at least three years.
Reserve - An American term to designate a wine that is high quality.
Residual Sugar (RS) - Natural grape sugars that are left over after fermentation.
Rich - A term to describe a wine that is pleasant, full, flavorful; or complex in flavor.
Robust – A term to describe a full-bodied, intense wine.
Rootstock - The part of the grapevine root that is used in grafting hybrid vines.
Rough - The coarse sensation in the mouth when tasting highly astringent wines.
Round - A descriptor for a wine that has a smooth texture. Opposite of coarse or tannic.
Rustic - A descriptor for a wine that was made using traditional, simple wine making methods and tastes coarse and hearty.
Satellite Appellations - Small areas used to grow grapes, most often referred to winemaking in Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux, in France.
Schist - A coarse-grained rock with layers of different minerals or even different rocks. It can easily break apart. Schist can be found in some wine growing soils.
Sec/Secco/Seco - A term originating from France to describe “dry.”
Sediment - Sediment or “dregs” are the solids that are usually found settled in the bottom of a barrel, vat or tank. Sediment can sometimes be found in the bottom of a wine bottle often intentionally by the wine maker.
Semi-Dry - A term to describe a wine that has subtle characteristics of sweetness. Also known as off-dry.
Silky - A descriptor for a wine that is extremely smooth in the mouth.
Single Vineyard - Wine that has been produced from a single vineyard site.
Smoky – A term to describe a wine that has aromas of smoke or fire, usually from an oak barrel fermented wine.
Soft - A descriptor for a wine that is low in tannins or acids. An easy-drinking wine.
Sommelier - A term to describe a wine steward (most often found in high-end restaurants). The term is also used to describe a wine professional who has achieved levels of certifications.
Spicy - A term to describe wines that have aromas and tastes of spices such as cinnamon, pepper, curry, rosemary, thyme, and cloves.
Split - A split is a half-bottle of wine, 375ml.
Stale – A descriptor for a wine that has lost its freshness.
Stalky- Wine that smells or tastes like grape stems, leaves or hay.
Steely - A term to describe a wine that tastes very crisp and acidic, most likely aged in stainless steel.
Stemmy - Wines that have been fermented too long with grape stems resulting in characteristics that are green and harsh.
Stone - A term to describe the aroma or flavor of a wine produced from grapes grown in rocky and mineral-rich soils, having a crushed stone or wet concrete aroma/flavor.
Structure - A term to describe harmonious components of a wine including fruit, acidity, alcohol and tannins.
Super Tuscan - A descriptor of a red wine from Tuscany, Italy that has not been made in accordance with DOC regulations. Often a top-quality wine blended with Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Still Wine - A table wine produced without carbon dioxide (CO2), which renders it lacking in sparkling or effervescence.
Subtle – A descriptor for a characteristic of a wine that is understated and delicate.
Sulfites - A term for Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) used in winemaking as a preservative and for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
Supple - A term to describe the smooth and balanced texture of a wine. The characteristics of body, tannin and oak.
Sweet - A descriptor for a wine that has sugary characteristics.
Table Wine - A term to describe a wine that has no more than 14 percent alcohol and is suitable for a meal. It can also mean a wine that has been made without any adherence to strict winemaking regulations.
Tanky – A descriptor for a wine that has aged too long in a tank and has a dull quality.
Tannins - Tannins are the natural phenolic compound found in grape seeds, stems and skins. Tannin helps with the preservation and aging of the wine. They’re naturally astringent and add structure to a wine and is most often detected when tasting a wine that leaves a dry, puckering sensation in the mouth.
Tart - Often used interchangeably with the term, Acidic, tart wines taste sharp and crisp.
Tartaric Acid - The main acid found naturally in grapes.
Tasting Flight - A tasting flight of wine is when more than one wine is poured at the same time. Often wine tasting rooms and restaurants will offer a flight of different types of wine to taste.
Terroir - A French term for the geographical characteristics of a vineyard including soil and climate. Terroir is the make-up of the land that creates the characteristics in a wine.
Texture - A descriptor for the sensation felt in the mouth when tasting a wine.
Tight - A term to describe the structure of a wine that is “tightly knit” or “tightly wound.” Tight wines are closed and doesn’t easily reveal expressive characteristics.
Tinny – A term to describe a wine having a metallic taste.
Toast - A term describing the taste of a wine most often derived from the oak barrel the wine aged in.
Tobacco - A descriptor for a wine that has note of tobacco in aroma or taste.
Typicity - A wine tasting term used to describe how well a wine expresses itself from the signature characteristics of the grape variety used to produce the wine.
Ullage - Most commonly used to describe the air space left in the barrel, tank or bottle holding the wine.
Varietal - A wine that has been made from one type of grape.
Vegetal - Some wines have characteristics of fresh or cooked vegetables in aroma and taste. Green plants, grass, bell peppers and asparagus are some of the more common descriptors of vegetal.
Velvety - A tasting term to describe a wine that is rich in flavor and has a silky, smooth mouth-feel.
Vineyard - The land in which grapevines are planted for wine making.
Viniculture – The science of grape production and wine making.
Vinification - A term to describe the process of wine making.
Vinology - Also referred to as Enology or Oenology. The science of wine making and production.
Vintage - The year the grapes were harvested.
Vintner - A wine grower, producer or merchant.
Viscous - A descriptor for a wine that has a heavy, thick, chewy mouth-feel. These are normally wines that have high tannins and glycerin.
Viticulture - The science and study of wine grapes.
Volcanic - Grapes that are grown in volcanic soil. In wine tasting, a volcanic wine can have characteristics of grit or salt.
Weight - Also referred to as the wine body, the weight of a wine is determined by how much alcohol is in the wine and how it feels in your mouth when you taste it.
Wine-Press - Also referred to as Press Wine, a Wine-Press is the device that extracts the juice from the grapes just prior to fermentation for white wines and after fermentation for red wines.
Winery - A building or establishment where wine is made.
Yeast - A micro-organism essential to the fermentation of converting grape juice into sugars wine.
Yield - The annual total amount of grapes harvested in a vineyard.
Young - A term used to describe a wine that has been bottled and sold in the same year.
Zymology - The science of the process and use of fermentation.
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