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Wine glossary




Acidity : All wines contain acids. Acidity is the structure of white wines. Acidity gives to the wine body and taste.


Alcohol : The alcohol in wine is called ethyl alcohol. It is the result of the transformation of sugars due to the action of yeasts in the grapes. About 20 grams of sugar are needed to obtain 1° (one degree) of alcohol. Alcohol is the base of wine, it is a powerful preservative. Alcohol, such as tannins, allows the wine to age. But the taste of alcohol must not in any case dominate the wine. Visit "Composition of wine"


Alcoholic degree : Since 1980, the alcoholic degree is the percentage of alcohol in the total wine volume. A wine labeled as 12° means that alcohol counts for 12% of the volume (or 90 milliliters of alcohol per bottle of wine)


Alcoholic fermentation : Transformation of sugar into alcohol and carbonic gas. Visit "Winemaking"


AOC : Stand for Appellation d'Origine Controlée and a suggested translation would be "regulated wine of origin". AOC is the higher nationwide wine grade. Visit "AOC in Wine Grades".


Aromas : Wines have "arome de bouche" (in the mouth aromas), all the same these are not available with different tastes which could be chosen from a mention on the label. There exist fruity wines, earthy wines (taste of mushroom, under wood, dried-leaves), spicy wines (aromas of cinnamon, clove, pepper, Indian spices) wines with aromas of herbs (mint, hay, rosemary, Provence herbs ...). Visit "Aromas and Wine".


Assemblage : Assemblage is the blending of several wines, generally issued from different grape-varieties, independently vinified. Most of the time, assemblage wines are disappointing. Visit "Winemaking".



Balance : Indicates the proportion between these four components : alcohol, acidity, sugar and dry extract. A wine is well-balanced when none of those characteristics dominates; the balance is harmonious. The general balance means the proportion of smooth and harsh in the wine.


Body : It is the global impression of a wine. Wines are lightly bodied, medium bodied, full bodied depending on its thickness. Visit "Tasting advices".


Bouquet : Includes all the different smells of a wine. Aroma is more for young wines while bouquet applies to matured wines.



Cordial wines : They are pleasant wines, with no salient features, easy to drink for anybody.


Cru bourgeois : A wine grade in the Bordeaux region. Between Grands Crus Classés and AOC. New law as of June 2003, Visit the "The classification of cru bourgeois".


Cru classé (Great Growth) : Classification of quality Bordeaux produced in Chateaux and Estates. Grands Crus Classés ranking from 1st to 5th grade are the best of the best! Visit "Crus classés (Great growths)".



Decanting : Is the action of pouring a wines directly from its bottle in a jug, in order to separate the wine from its sediment, to provide oxygen and to release its aromas.


Devatting : Transferring the (red) wine from the fermentation tank after the alcoholic fermentation into an other tank, leaving the pomace and what solid have been pressed in the emptied tank. Also called s the free run wine. Visit "Winemaking".


Destemming : Nowadays mechanical.


Dry : White wine containing little sugar (1 to 9 grams per liter).



Fat wines : Sweet and soft it is called flat and disliked. It is qualified of voluptuous when judged excellent.



Generous wines : Full and rich wines which easily deliver their flavour. Visit "Tasting advices".


Grafting : Process of reproduction of the plant, by grafting a branch on a selected root stock in order to favour the development of solid vine stock.


Lees : Lees are the solid element which precipitates at the end of the fermentation; cells of dead yeast, pulp of berries and, in red wines, pips and grape-skin.


Length : Neither centimeter, nor inches! the length of a wine are the feeling you get from it along your palate. A long wine can be tasted on every tasting territories of the tongue. The length of a wine is an absolute sign of its quality. Visit "Tasting advices".



Malolactic fermentation : Transformation of the malic acid in lactic acid. Visit "Winemaking".


Must : Fermenting grape juice.



Phylloxera : Vine disease due to a small green-fly. At the end of the 19th century, coming from America, the Phylloxera destroyed the 3/4 of the French vineyard. Grafting saved French vines.


Pomace : The pomace is the residue of the harvest. It contains stems, skin and pips. It can be distilled to obtain Raw brandy.


Primeur (New wine) : Wine elaborated quickly. Primeur can come out of the winery as soon as the 15th of november. Visit "Beaujolais".



Raking : Separating grape juice from solid elements, before fermentation (white wine). Separating wine from pomace (red wine).


Ripeness : It is exceptional when a vine grower manages to harvest when all his grapes are perfectly mature. Perfect ripeness is quiet unusual.


Robe : The robe is the colour of the wine.





Tannin : Tannin is a substance naturally present in the skin and other parts of the grapes. Tannin is, to red wine what acidity is to white wine, its structure. Tannin (bitter) is detected by the back of the tongue. Depending on the amount the wine is bitter, supple or firm. Certain wines leave an impression of suppleness or smoothness others an impression of harshness or firmness.



VDQS : Vin délimité de qualité supérieure. Visit "The classification of wine in France".


Vinegar : The natural evolution of the juice of grape, vine is only a way towards vinegar. Any wine might become vinegar. Visit "Vinegar".


Vintage : Year of vinification.



Wine coop / Vinegrowers' cooperative : Cellar run in common by a group of vine growers. Over a 1 000 coop vinify about 30% of French production.


Winery : Wine is made there!



Yeast : Unicellular micro-organism (fungus) naturally present on the skin of grapes. It provokes alcoholic fermentation and is indispensable in the elaboration of wine. Visit "winemaking".



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