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Wine Words

08/25/2014 05:38PM ● Published by Morgan Cásarez

Acidity: A naturally occurring component of every wine; the level of perceived sharpness; a key element to a wine’s longevity; a leading determinant of balance.

Bouquet: The sum of a wine’s aromas; a key determinant of quality.

Cap: Grape solids like pits, skins and stems that rise to the top of a tank during fermentation; what gives red wines color, tannins and weight.

Color: A key determinant of a wine’s age and quality; white wines grow darker in color as they age while red wines turn brownish orange.

Decant: The process of transferring wine from a bottle to another holding vessel. The purpose is generally to aerate a young wine or to separate an older wine from any sediment.

Dry: A wine containing no more than 0.2 percent unfermented sugar.

Enology: The science of wine production; an enologist is a professional winemaker; an enophile is someone who enjoys wine.

Fortified Wine: A wine in which Brandy is introduced during fermentation; sugars and sweetness are high due to the suspended fermentation.

Gran Reserva: A Spanish term used for wines that are aged in wood and bottles for at least five years prior to release.

Hybrid: The genetic crossing of two or more grape types; common hybrids include Mueller-Thurgau and Baccus.

Jeroboam: An oversized bottle equal to six regular 750 ml bottles.

Lees: Heavy sediment left in the barrel by fermenting wines; a combination of spent yeast cells and grape solids.

Legs: A term used to describe how wine sticks to the inside of a wineglass after drinking or swirling.

Maceration: The process of allowing grape juice and skins to ferment together, thereby imparting color, tannins and aromas.

Oxidized: A wine that is no longer fresh because it was exposed to too much air.

Plonk: A derogatory name for cheap, poor-tasting wine.

Reserve: A largely American term indicating a wine of higher quality; it has no legal meaning.

Terroir: A French term for the combination of soil, climate, and all other factors that influence the ultimate character of a wine.

Varietal: A wine made from just one grape type and named after that grape; the opposite of a blend.

Yeast: Organisms that issue enzymes that trigger the fermentation process; yeasts can be natural or commercial.
*As defined by Wine Enthusiast



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