Aroma: The scent of a grape variety in a young wine.
Balance: Wine characters and flavours in a complete harmony.
Barrique: A French cask or hogshead, holding approximately 225 litres of wine.
Baume: Measurement of grape sugar.
Blended wine: The mixing of two or more wines to maintain a standard or increase quality.
Botrytis: A parasitic fungus or mould that attacks grapes in certain climatic conditions, causing evaporation of moisture and condensation of sugar.
Bottle age: To an experienced taster, bottle age is easily recognisable in the bouquet. Bottle age gives a vital indication of a wine’s maturity and development in the bottle.
Breathing: Allowing a wine to come in contact with air by drawing the cork prior to serving.
Burgundy: One of the most famous wine-producing areas in the world, located in eastern France.
Cabernet: The name of grape varieties responsible for many of the finest wines in the world. An abbreviation for Cabernet Sauvignon.
Carbon dioxide (CO2): The gas released during fermentation, and that present in sparkling wine styles.
Chablis: Outstanding white wine-producing area of northern Burgundy in France.
Champagne: Name of a wine-producing area of north-eastern France, fame principally for its production of the finest-quality white sparkling wines.
Character: A wine possessing a combination of distinctive and unmistakable qualities.
Charactistics: Indicating the distinctive style and character of a particular grape, district, vintage.
Climat: Term used in Burgundy, France, equivalent to the ‘cru’ of Bordeaux.
Condition: The clarity and soundness of a wine.
Cooper: Craftsman who makes wine casks.
Cooperage: General term for the manufacture or repair of wine casks.
Cote: French term for vineyard slope.
Cru: French term denoting a vineyard of high quality.
Crusher: Machine used for the extraction of juice from grapes prior to fermentation.
Cuvee: French term for the contents of a cuve, both in a cast and in the bottle.
Decant: The pouring of a wine from the bottle to another vessel to aid presentation or for the removal of crust or deposits that may be present.
Depth: A wine with many interlocking flavours – rich and subtle.
Developed: Showing maturation.
Domaine: French term for a wine estate.
Dosage: French term for sugar solution added to sparkling wines before bottling.
Dry: Without sweetness.
Earthy: Bouquet and flavor reminiscent of certain soil types.
Elegant: Of high quality, with finesse.
Estate: Corresponding to the French ‘Chateau’.
Fat: A big soft wine, usually high in glycerine. Overdeveloped flavor at the back of the throat.
Fermenatation: Alcoholic fermentation in which yeast converts sugar into alcohol and by-products.
Finesse: Term denoting high quality and breed.
Fining: Method of clarifying young wines before bottling.
Finish: The flavor remaining at the back of the palate after a wine has been swallowed.
Firm: Finish at the back of the palate; an aftertaste related to tannin.
Flabby: When a wine finishes (back of the palate) with a overdeveloped fruit flavor.
Flat: Sparkling wine that has lost its gas. Loss of freshness, character or flavour.
Fleshy: Fresh, youthful, full-bodied varietal flavor.
Fruity: Fresh quality of a young wine with strong varietal character.
Full: Wine at optimum maturity.
Grape: The fruit of the vine.
Hard: Strong tannin in a young wine, lacking a soft finish.
Hydraulic press: A vertical press used for pressing the skins and seeds after fermentation.
Jeroboam: A large wine bottle. When used in reference to champagne, the capacity is four standard bottles; in Bordeaux, five.
Lactic Acid: Acid resulting from malolactic fermentation.
Late picked: Grapes left on the vine longer than usual to increase sugar level and lower acidity.
Lees: Deposits in cask or bottle.
Light: Lacking body, pale in colour, but well-balanced.
Long: Great wine, staying power of flavours on the palate after the wine has been swallowed.
Luscious: A wine with soft, sweet, fruity and ripe qualities in balance.
Malic acid: The acid of fresh grapes, particularly when unripe.
Malolactic fermentation: The decomposition of malic acid by bacteria to lactic acid and carbon dioxide.
Methode champenoise: A French term often used to describe traditional champagne making.
Noble rot: See Botrytis
Oxidation: Chemical decomposition of a wine because of the presence of oxygen.
Oxidised: The dominance of flavours produced by oxidation.
Peppery: A raw, harsh, quality caused by immature and unsettled components which have not had time to marry, but a characteristic often found in young red wines.
Perfumed: Powerful scents produced by maturation.
Phylloxera: The ‘vine louse’, a root eating insect which eventually kills the vine.
Pressings: Wine gained from pressing the skins and pips after fermentation. It is higher in tannin and acid than the wine fermented from the must, but lacks the flavor and character of the latter.
Puncheon: A large wine cask of varying capacity.
Punt: Indentation (for strength) at the base of champagne bottles and various wine bottles.
Residual sugar: Sugar remaining after fermentation has been completed.
Rootstock: The type of vine root on to which the grape vine is grafted. Selection of the rootstock is dependent upon its performance in relation to the topography.
Solera: Method of producing certain fortified wines, particularly sherry, by rotation of casks.
Sparkling: A wine made effervescent by the inducement of carbon dioxide.
Stabilisation: The chilling of a white wine to near freezing point to precipitate tartaric crystals.
Stalky: Oily character derived from grape stalks. Mainly red wines; indicative of poor winemaking.
Stuck fermentation: Natural fermentation not completed because of the killing-off of active yeasts due to an excessive rise in temperature.
Sulphur dioxide (SO2): Agent used for sterilisation and as an antioxidant.
Tannin: Natural ingredient of wine derived mainly from grape pips and stalks.
Tartaric acid: The principal acid of wine.
Tirage cork: Cork used in the making of champagne and champagne-style wine, when the wine is first bottled.
Ullage: The air space present in a bottle of wine, between the cork and surface of the wine.
Vigneron: French term for winemaker.
Vigorous: Healthy vines. A youthful wine requiring maturation.
Vin: French term for wine.
Vinification: The art and science of making wine.
Vinosity: A tasting term related to the alcoholic strength, and particularly to the grape character.
Vintage wines: Wines made in a specific year, indicated on the label.
Vitis vinifera: The species of vine responsible for most of the world’s quality wine.
Volatile: Wine spoiled by acetic acid.
Woody: The presence of oak in a young wine.
Yeasts: Single-cell organisms responsible for the fermentation of sugar into ethyl alcohol.
Young: An immature wine.
Youthful: A young wine. An unexpected character that may be present in an old wine.