Oeno Ventures - Useful Wine Tasting Terms

The Art of Wine Tasting
Before Visiting Wine Country

Wine Varietals & Descriptions
Useful Wine Tasting Terms


Wine Country Weather
Wine Regions & Their Key Varietals
Quick Tips for Serving & Storing Wine

About Wine Glasses
Reading Wine Labels

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  Acidity: Acids are very important structural components of wine. If a wine is too low in acid, it tastes flat and dull. If a wine is too high in acid, it tastes too
tart and sour. The winemaker can easily manipulate the acidity in wine.

Aerate: The process of aerating wine is commonly referred to as "letting it breathe." For many types of wine, aeration can improve the taste by softening
the hard tannins

Annual Case Production:
The amount of wine produced by the case by any winery. (12 bottles to a case of wine)

Appellation: Refers to a geographically defined wine growing region (example: Napa Valley)

Approachable: If a wine is referred to as "approachable", it means it is easy to drink

Aroma:
Refers specifically to the smell of a young wine

Aromatic:
Describes certain grape varieties that give fragrant or spicy flavors in wine (example: Gewurztraminer or Muscat)

AVA: This is an abbreviation for American Viticultural Area.

Balance: A well balanced wine is achieved when all elements (acidity, tannins, alcohol, sweetness or oak if applicable to the particular wine) come
together in harmony

Barrel Aging:
Wine that is aged following the process of fermentation for various periods of time depending on the style of wine desired.

Blending: Meshing wines from different vineyards regions or vintages. This process is intended to create a better quality than any single wine within the particular blend.

Blind Tasting:
A tasting that is conducted without the taster having seen the label or bottle shape. This tasting is designed to test the taster's skills
when identifying perceived flavors, aromas and general characteristics of a wine.

Bordeaux Varieties:
The 5 red grape varieties of Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec & Petite Verdot. The white Bordeaux Varieties are Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc & small quantities of Muscadelle

Body: Refers to the of wine's weight & texture on the palate.

Bottle Aging: Process by which wines are held in the bottle for a period of weeks up to several years. This process is intended to enrich existing flavor
elements such as acidity, tannins and alcohol

Boutique Winery: A small production winery that generally does not exceed 2,000 cases per year

Bouquet: The fragrance of the wine that develops after it has been in the bottle for some time

Brettanomyces: is a non-spore forming genus of yeast in the family Saccharomycetaceae, and is often colloquially referred to as "Brett." When
Brettanomyces
grows in wine it produces several compounds that can alter the palate and bouquet. At low levels some winemakers agree that the
presence of these compounds has a positive effect on wine, contributing to complexity, and giving an aged character to some young red wines.
However when the levels of the sensory compounds greatly exceed the sensory threshold, their perception is almost always negative.

Brix:
The U.S measuring system which uses degrees to indicate the sugar level of wine grapes at harvest

Cellaring
: A term used for storing wine for an extended period of time.

Champagne: Sparkling wine that is produced exclusively within the Champagne region of france. Any other region producing this style of wine must use
the term sparkling wine. The primary grapes used in the production of Champagne are Chardonnay, Pinot noir and Pinot Meunier

Champagne Methode:
The bubbly effect (Carbonation) in Champagne and Sparkling wine produced by inducing the in-bottle secondary fermentation
of the wine

Cooperage:
A cooperage produces wine barrels, casks, & other vessels made from wood.

Claret:
An English term to describe bordeaux wine

Clone:
This term refers to grape vines that originated from a single plant

Cooperative:
A winery that produces wine from grapes supplied by a union of growers

Complex: A tasting term for a very good, balanced wine with distinctive layers of aromas & flavors

Concentrated: A tasting term indicating that the fruit aromas and flavors of wine are very powerful

Corkage: A fee charged by restaurants when a guest brings his/her own bottle of wine to be consumed inside their establishment (Corkage fees vary by restaurant)

Crush: Refers to the grape harvest season which normally takes place in late September through October

Crusher: Machine used to break the skin of grapes and crush them in order to give yeast easier access to the sugars at the start of fermentation

Corked: A wine defect caused by a mold in the cork which gives the wine an off flavor that has been compared to the smell of wet cardboard.

Cuvee:
A French word used for either a particular blend which is marketed, or for a blend made partway through the winemaking process as in Champagne; where the cuvee is the blend of still wines made before undergoing a second fermentation

Decanting:
The process in which wine is poured into a wine decanter in order to remove sediment as well as aerate wine

Demi-Sec:
This is a French term used to describe a medium-dry wine

Dry Farmed Vineyards:
Vineyards that are not irrigated

Enologist:
An individual who heads up the technical side of winemaking

Estate Bottled:
Wine bottled on the estate where it has been made (In the U.S an Estate Bottled wine can also include wine made from vineyards
controlled by the winery)

Extra Brut:
Dry champagnes produced with minimal to no sugar added

Extra Dry:
Dry sparkling wine (Brut & Extra Brut are drier)

Fermentation:
The process in which yeast converts the sugar in grapes to alcohol

Filtering:
Process by which solids are removed from wine by passing it through a filter

Flight:
A flight of wine is used to described a selection of wines presented for the purpose of sampling for comparison

Floral:
Refers to a wine description in which aromas are reminiscent of flowers.

Finish:
Flavor or Aftertaste left by wine on the palate after swallowing

Fortified Wine:
The result of increasing alcohol content to wine. Port & sherry are both examples of fortified wine

Fruit Forward: Winemakers often describe a wine exhibiting a strong fruit flavor as "fruit forward".

Grassy:
Refers to the herbaceous aroma of a wine; this term often applies to Sauvignon Blanc

Horizontal Tasting:
A tasting of wines all from the same vintage, region & variety but from different wine producers.

Jammy:
A tasting term referring to a wine exhibiting concentrated fruit which is often a characterization of a California Zinfandel

 
     
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