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
Ageing
It's 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
Period that in some wines follows the ripening of the grapes; it consists in the dehydration of grapes and aims at concentrating the aromas and the 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
A 225 liter oak barrel. It gives wine a typical aroma and allows its micro-oxygenation
Botrytis Cinerea
Noble rot that can affect grapes exposed to particular climate. It is used to obtain wines with a great body and aromatic complexity
Big barrel
1000-liter wooden casks, usually made from oak
Bouquet
Complexity of wine aromas
c
Classico
Wine produced in the traditional and longest-established viticultural area
Consistency
Indicates the richness of sugar and alcohol content. It can be detected by swirling the glass and look at the wine running down the side of the glass to see how fast it moves. Slower, thicker legs mean a fuller-bodied wine, which means more sugar or alcohol in the wine.
Cru
French word for growth. It refers to a vineyard of especially high quality, such as a classified growth or “cru classe.”
Cuvée
A given lot or batch on wine usually held in a single tank or large cask. Cuvee often refers to a specific blend of still wines that was blended purposely for later champagne making.
d
Static decanting
The juice is separated from the must before the alcoholic fermentation begins
Tasting
Evaluation of the qualities of the wine based on the perception of the organoleptic properties and of the sensations that it generates
Appellation
It refers to a specific area where grapes come from and it ensures the observance of specific requirements (specification)
Rasping
Activity of separation of the berries from the stalks, generally before crushing. In some cases it happens later
Regulation
Set of rules that regulate the production of a specific appellation
DOC, DOCG
Wines certified by a strict regulation. The DOCG regulations provide more stringent rules and controls than the DOC ones
e
Effervescence
It refers to the presence of carbon dioxide, used to describe the bubbles in semi-sparkling and sparkling wines. The best effervescence consists of multiple streams of bubbles that rise up from different points in the glass then go swirling up to surface where they form a fine, persistent mousse.
Balance
It refers to the balance of all the aromas and scents of the wine. A wine can be defined as balanced when all its elements acids, sugars, tannins, alcohol etc., come together in a harmonious way
f
Lees
It is the sediment that settles to the bottom of a wine in a tank during processing.
Alcoholic fermentation
Natural biochemical reaction by yeasts that mainly transform grape sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide
Malolactic fermentation
Natural biochemical reaction triggered by bacteria that transform the malic acid naturally present in young wines and responsible for hints such as freshness in lactic acid which is responsible for more mature aromas. Not all wines undergo malo-lactic fermentation
Filtering
Act of removing any suspended particles resulting from the fermentation process
Aftertaste
The “shadow taste” remaining in your mouth just after swallowing a sip of wine. Important in wine tasting because it can reveal an extra attribute or fault that allow to evaluate its complexity, balance and age
Freshness
A combination of pleasant acidity and crispness, which make a sparkling wine great
i
IGT
Appellation that ensures the geographical origin of a wine, sometimes also the blend
Intensity
It can refer to the color as well as to the amplitude and depth of the aroma or to a particularly predominant flavor
l
Clarity
In wine evaluation, clarity is a subjective term for the absence of cloudiness or sediment in a wine.
Evolution
Indicates the possibility of a wine to last over time, maintaining or improving its qualities
m
Maceration
Is the process of soaking crushed grapes, seeds and stems in a wine must
Charmat Method
Used in the production of sparkling wines,is the process where wine undergoes first or secondary fermentation in large pressurised stainless-steel tanks rather than individual bottles, and is bottled under pressure in a continuous process.
Traditional Method
Process to produce sparkling wines, where the transformation from a still to a sparkling wine occurs entirely inside the bottle with the use of sugars and selected yeasts
Millesimo
For sparkling wines this term indicates the year of the grape harvest. A wine that shows the vintage on the label is called a "millesimato". Usually, a winemaker decides to create this type of wines to enhance the results of a successful grape harvest. For non-sparkling wines, we speak of vintage
Sapidity
The mineral substances determine the structure of a wine and of the flavor. It is typical of many white wines
Softness
A wine can be defined as soft when provides velvety sensations in the mouth. Softness is generally a characteristic of mature and structured wines
Must
Juice obtained by pressing the grapes and still unfermented
Sauternes
Wines produced using grapes attacked by Botrytis Cinerea, a noble rot which concentrates aromas and flavours of wine. Sauternes wines are paired with desserts, aged cheeses and dried fruit and the recommended serving temperature is 8 - 10 ° C
p
Perlage
Characteristic of sparkling or semi-sparkling wines, indicates bubbles that move from the bottom of the glass upwards
Persistence
Duration, in seconds, of the olfactory and taste olfactory sensations after swallowing the wine
Pressing
Preliminary phase of the vinification process that causes the breaking of the grapes to obtain the juice that will be subsequently fermented in wine
Secondary fermentation
The process that creates the bubbles in sparkling wine.
Organoleptic properties
Quality related to a wine, which can be perceived and evaluated by our sense organs during tasting. The characteristics concern color, smell and taste
r
Aftertaste
Last sensation of the wine that remains in the mouth after swallowing
Reserve
The term is used for wines with a longer aging period than usual. On the label it precedes the vintage
Roundness
A wine is defined as round when the sensations it offers are complex and, at the same time, balanced and soft
s
Sapidity
Sensation due to the presence of mineral salts, depends on the characteristics of the soil and the climate in which the grapes are grown and by the winemaking system
Disgorging
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.
Hint
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
Salts present in the wine and produced mainly by an additive (Anhydride Sulfide) used as an antimicrobial and antioxidant since the 18th century. A small amount of sulfites is naturally present in the wine, varying according to the production area and the vinegrapes. Strict rules establish the maximum permitted quantities
Evolution
Wine quality linked to its evolution, which can have a variable duration depending on the type of wine. With ageing, the wine shifts its balance from hardness to ever greater softness. In general, according to its evolution, a wine can be defined as immature (it must still finish aging), young (it has an equilibrium where hardness, fragrance and freshness predominate), ready (it is ready to drink, but it can still improve), mature (has reached the maximum balance)
Body
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 term indicating the refinement of a wine on the lees formed by the yeasts after fermentation. It can be in bottles or other containers and is used as an alternative to normal bottle ageing to produce rich, full-bodied white wines.
t
Tannic
A taste sensation of astringency linked to the strong presence of tannin, a chemical substance present in almost all the plant extracts, from wine to tea. In addition to the grapes, the tannin can be transferred to wine from the wood of the barriques
Tannin
The tannin is a compound present in the skins, grape stalks and grape seeds as well as in the wood of barrels. Participates to the formation of wine color and is responsible for the sensation of astringency that dries the mouth
Terroir
A broad concept, which goes beyond the definition of land only and contains a number of factors that characterize the typicalness of a vineyard, including: land morphology, sun exposure, temperatures, precipitation, climate
u
Blend
When one or more grape varities is used during vinification. When the assembling is made after the vinification, then joining the wines and not the grapes, it is simply known as assembling
v
Vinification
Biochemical process of processing grapes into wine, from crushing to placing on the market
Vinegrape
A particular variety of grape, characterized by the shape and color of the berries, the bunch and the leaves, by a specific period of maturation and, above all, by the different organoleptic features of the wines obtained from it
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