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Wine Terms

Appellation: The geographical term to identify where grapes for a wine were grown.

Aroma: A term for the smell of a wine, generally applied to younger wines, while Bouquet is the term used to describe more aged wines.

Barrique: The name for a French 225 litre Bordeaux style barrel.

Bouquet: A tasting term for the complex aromas of an aged wine. This term is generally not applied to young wines.

Brix: The measure of sugar in the grapes.

Brut: The term for the driest Champagne.

Bung: A stopper used to seal a bottle or barrel. Also a term used for corks.

Capsule: The plastic or foil that covers the cork and part of the neck of a wine bottle.

Corked: A wine whose quality is tainted by an off-flavor from the cork. It can smell moldy, or like damp cardboard, and will sometimes have a bitter taste. About 3% of all wines worldwide are affected by cork taint.

Cuvee: A term used to refer to a specific blend or batch means “vat” or “tank”.

Decanting: A process where wine is poured from the bottle into special carafe to allow the wine to breathe and sediment to seperate.

Extra Dry: Champagne that is less dry than Bruts.

Fermentation: The conversion of grape sugars to alcohol by yeast.

Finish: A term used when tasting to describe the lingering aftertaste after a wine has been swallowed.

Gamay: Is the red grape used in making Beaujolais wines.

Grape juice: The free-run or pressed juice from grapes. This juice is unfermented and is known as “must.”

Halbtrocken: Is a German term meaning semi dry.

Hard: A term for wine that contains too tannins and therefore is unpleasant. Hard wines can take a long time to mature.

Lees: Sediment that occurs during and after wine fermentation, consisting of grape seeds, dead yeast and other solids. Wine is separated from the lees by a process called racking.

Malolactic Fermentation: Is a bacterial process that changes tart malic acid to the softer latic acid. The process is used in both red and white wines depending on the style.

Must: Unfermented grape juice, including, skins, seeds and stalks.

Nose: A term used to describe the aroma and bouquet of wine.

Oak chips: Small pieces of oak wood used in place of oak barrels for fermenting and/or ageing wine.

Palate: A tasting term for the feel and taste of a wine in the mouth.

Phylloxera: A microscopic underground insect that kills grape vines by attacking their roots.

Pulp: The fleshy part of the grape tha contains most of the sugar, acids, and water in the grape juice.

Racking: The process of drawing wine off the sediment, such as lees, after fermentation and moving it into another vessel.

Reserve: The term given to wine that indicates it is of higher quality than usual.

Residual sugar: The level of sugar that remains unfermented in a wine.

Sulfites: Compounds (typically: potassium metabisulfite or sodium metabisulfite) which occur naturally, and can be added to wine to prevent oxidation and microbial spoilage.

Tartaric acid: The most important acid found in grapes

Thief: A tubular instrument used for removing wine samples from a cask or barrel.

Ullage: A term for the headspace, or unfilled space in a wine bottle, barrel, or tank.

Varietal: The term for a wine made from a single grape, which is usually listed on the label.

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