Topics in Wine

Tipps & Tricks

A B C D E É F G H I K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

AC or AOC
Stands for Appellation d'Origine Contrôllée, France's famous denomination for ist best wines, sometimes known as Appellation Contrôlée.

American hybrids
A group of vine hybrids developed in the eastern United States, mainly in the early and mid 19th century.

amphora
Latin word from the Greek for a vessel with two handles. Although the term may refer sometimes to fine wares, it is normally used to describe the large pottery containers which were used for the bulk transport of many goods and luquids ind the Mediterranean world.

appellation
Commonly used term for controlled origin and quality designations for wine, often following the example of the French Appellation Contrôlée (AC). They are always based on a geographical definition.

ascorbic acid
Vitamin C, one of the first vitamins to be discovered, and a winemaking additiv used chiefly as an antioxidant.

aspersion
French for sprinkling and therefore a measure to reduce frost damage to vines.

assemblage
French word for the important operation in the production of fine wines of deciding which lots will be assembled to make the final blend. It plays a crucial role in sparkling winemaking when some cuvées may be assembled from several hunderd different components.

astringency
Is a complex of sensations resulting from the shrinking, drawing, or puckering of the tissues of the mouth. The most important astringent materials are tannins.

Ausbruch
German-language equivalent of the Hungarian Aszu, traditionally designating sweet wines made from botrytized grapes.

AVA
The acronym for American Viticultural Area and the US relatively rudimentary answer to France's appellation Contrôlée.

Bacchus
Common name in Ancient Rome for the classical god of wine.

Banyuls
Appellation for France's finest and certanly most complex vins doux naturels, made from vertiginous terraced vineyards above the Mediterranean at the southern limit of Roussillon.

barrel fermentation
Winemaking technique of fermenting grape juice or must in small barrels rather than in a larger fermentation vessel. The technique is used principally for white wines because of the difficulty of extracting through a barrel's small bung-hole the mass of skins and seeds which necessarily remains after red wine fermentation.

barrel maturation
Is the winemaking operation of storing a fermented wine in wooden barrels to create ideal conditions for the components of the wine to evolve and so that the wood imparts some oak flavour.

barrel types
Before concrete, stainless steel, and other inert materials replaced wood as the most common material for wine fermentation vessels and storage containers in the 1960s, each wine region had ist own legion of barrel types. Even today such terms as feuillette, tonneau, and fudre may be used to measure volumes of wine long after the actual containers themselves have been abandoned.

barrique
The most famous of the barrel types, Bordeaux's relatively tall 225 lit.cask with thinner staves than the Burgundian pièce and most other barrels.

Beaumes-de Venise
Most famous for ist unusually fragrant, sweet, pale gold vin doux naturel named Beaumes-de-Venise.

Beaune
Vinous capital of Burgundy giving ist name to the Côte de Beaune sction of the Côte d'Or.

Beaune, Côte de
The Côte de Beaune is the southern half of the escarpment of the Côte d'Or, named after the important town and wine centre of Beaune.

Beerenauslese
Literally "berry selection", refers to sweet Austrian or German wines, usually made from Botrytized grapes.

Beerenauslese
Literally "berry selection", refers to sweet Austrian or German wines, usually made from botrytized grapes.

BIN
Traditional term for a collection of wine bottles, normally stacked horizontally on top of each other, or the process of so storing, or binning, them.

Blanc de Blancs
French for "white of whites", may justifiably be used to describe white wines made from pale-skinned grapes. As the great majority of them are. A real significance only when used for white sparkling wines.

Blanc de Noir
French for "white of blacks", describes a white wine made from dark-skinned grapes by pressing them very gently and running the pale juice off the skins as clear as possibl.

Blanc Fumé
Is a French synonm for Sauvignon Blanc, notably in Pouilly-sur-Loire, centre of the Pouilly-Fumé, or Blanc Fumé de Pouilly, appellation, many of whose aromatic dry whites do indeed have a smoky, if not exactly smoked, perfume.

blending
Coupage in French, is a practice that was once more distrusted than understood. In fact almost all of the world's finest wines are made by blending the contents of different vats and different barrels.

Bocksbeutel
Special bottle in the shape of flattened flask used in the German wine region of Franken and four communes in the northern Ortenau area of Baden.

Bolgheri
Small town in the Tuscan Maremma made famous by Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, who planted Cabernet Sauvignon vines for a house wine a early as the 1949s an his San Guido estate, labelling the resulting wine Sassicaia.

Bordeaux
Important French port on the Garonne River. Bordeaux gives ist name to a wine region that includes the vineyards of the Gironde département and, as such, the wine region that produces more top -quality wine than any other region.

Bordeaux mixture
Bouillie bordelaise in French, once much-used mixture of lime, copper sulfate, and water first recorded in 1885 by Alexis Millardet, as an effect control of downy mildew.

botrytis bunch rot
A fungal diseases which has the greatest potential effect on wine quality. The malevolent form is grey rot, the benevolent form is noble rot.

botte
Italian word for a large wooden cask. The plural is botti.

bottle ageing
The process of deliberately maturing a wine after bottling, whether for a few weeks as a conscious effort on the part of the bottler to allow the wine to recover from bottle sickness or, in the case of very fine wines, for many years in order to allow the wine to mature.

bottle fermented
Descsription of some sparkling wines made either by the traditional method, or by the transfer method.

bouquet
It is used loosely by many wine tasters to describe any pleasant wine smell or smells.

bricco
In the dialect of the north west Italian region of Piemonte, indicates the highest part of an elevation in the landscapeor, in particular, a vineyard with a steep gradient at the top of a hill.

Brix
Scale of measuring total dissolved compounds in grape juice, and therefore ist approximate concentration of grape sugars. It is used in the United States.

Brunello
Montalcino name for the six to eight different clones of Sangiovese planted there.

brut
Adapted by the champagne industry for wines made without (much) added sweetening or dosage. The upper limit for the resiudual sugar of a brut champagne has been reduced from 15 to 12 g/l.

bunch rots
Occur in vines all over the world and can be caused by many species of funghi including yeasts and bacteria.

Burgundy
Known as Bourgogne in French, province of eastern France famous for ist great red and white wines produced mostly from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay rapes respectively.

BYO
Stands for "Bring Your Own" (wine) and is a type of restaurant most common in Australia and New Zealand, where the term was coined.

Cabinet
Term of approbation applied to German wines from 18th century until 1971, when ist use was outlawed by the new German Wine Law.

carbonic maceration
Red winemaking process which transforms a small amount of sugar in grapes which are uncrushed to ethanol, without the intervention of yeasts, it is used typically to produce light-bodied, brightly coloured, fruity red wines for early consumption, most famously but by no means exclusively in the Beaujolais region of France.

casein
The principal milk protein, is used by winemakers as a fining agent particularly useful for removing brown colours from white wines. It is used also in the clarification of young wines.

Cava
Spanish sparkling wine made using the traditional method of sparkling winemaking.

cépage
French for vine variety. A varietal wine, one that is sold by the name of the principal variety from which it is made.

Chablis
Is the uniquely steely, dry, age-worthy white wine of the most northern vineyards of Burgundy in north east France, made, like all fine whites Burgundy, from Chardonnay grapes.

Chalonnaise, Côte
Red and white wine producing region in the Saône-et-Loire département of Burgundy between the Côte d'Or and Mâconnais.

Chambolle-Musigny
Village and appellation of particular charm in the Côte de Nuits district of Burgundy.

chambré
French word also used in English to describe a wine that has been deliberately warmed to room temperature before serving.

Champagne
In the early Middle Ages, it was applied to a province in north-east France.

chaptalization
Common winemaking practice, named after its French promulgator Jean-Antoine Chaptal, whereby the final alcoholic strength of a wine is increased by addition of sugar to the grape juice or must, before and/or during fermentation, although if it is added before, the higher sugar level will make it harder for the yeast to multiply.

Charmat
The name of a bulk sparkling winemaking process which involves provoking a second fermentation in a pressure tank. Also called tank method.

Chassagne-Montrachet
Village in the Côte de Beaune district of Burgundy's Côte d'Or more famed for its white wines from the Chardonnay grape than for its equally plentiful red wines from Pinot Noir.

château
May be French for castle but in wine parlance it usually means a vine-growing, winemaking estate.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape
The most important, and variable, appellation in the southern Rhône in terms of quality, producing mainly rich, spicy, full-bodied red wines which can be some of the most alluring expressions of warm-climate viticulture, but can also be either impossibly tannic or disappointingly jammy.

Chevalier-Montrachet
Great white Grand Cru in Burgundy's Côte d'Or.

citric acid
A common plant acid, abundant in some fleshy fruits such as lemons, but rare in grapes. The grape is unusual among fruits in that its major acid is tartaric acid, rather than citric acid, whose concentration in the juice of most grape varieties is only about one-twentieth that of tartaric acid.

clarification
Progressive winemaking operation which removes suspended and insoluble material from grape juice, or new wine, in which these solids are known as lees.

classed growth
Is a vineyard, estate, or Château included in a wine classification. The term is used almost exclusively in Bordeaux for those châteaux.

clos
Is French for enclosure, and any vineyard described as a Clos should be enclosed, generally by a wall.

Clos de la Roche
Leading red Grand Cru in Burgundy's Côte d'Or

Clos de Tart
Clos des Lambrays, and Clos St-Denis, red Grands Crus in Burgundy's Côte d'Or.

Clos de Vougeot
Also frequently known as Clos Vougeot, famous walled vineyard in Burgundy created originally by the monks of Cîteaux.

cold soak
Maceration technique particularly popular for Pinot Noir.

collage
French term for fining.

commune
French for village or Parish.

Completer
Ancient white grape variety grown in graubünden in eastern Switzerland. It is a specialty of Bündner Herrschaft.

controlled appelation
The much-imitated French system for the designation and control of important geographical names not only of wines, but also of spirits, as well as many foods.

copper
A micronutriment required in very small concentrations for healthy vine growth.

cosecha
Is Spanish for vintage year.

Côte
Means literally slope or hill in French. Côtes is the plural, while Coteau (of which Coteaux is the plural) means much the same thing.

Côte d'Or
The heart of the Burgundy wine region in eastern France in the form of an escarpment supporting a narrow band of vineyards for nearly 50km/30miles southwards from Dijon. Viticulturally it is divided into two sectors, the Côte de Nuits and the Côte de Beaune.

Crémant
Term used as France's shorthand for the country's finest dry sparkling wines made outside Champagne using the traditional method of sparkling winemaking.

crianza
Spanish term used both to describe the process of ageing a wine and also for the youngest officially recognized category of a wood-matured wine. A crianza wine must have spent a minimum of six months in cask.

cross
The result of breeding a new variety by crossing two vine varieties. If the varieties are of the same species, usually the European vinifera species, then the result may also be knowm a an intraspecific cross - Müller-Thurgau would be one example.

crushing
Winemaking operation of breaking open the grape berry so that the juice is more readily available to the yeast for fermentation and to increase the pulp and skin contact.

cuvée
French wine term derived from cuve, with many different meanings in different contexts. In general terms it can be used to mean any containerful, or even any lot, of wine.

decanting
Optional and controversial step in serving wine, involving pouring wine out of its bottle into another container called a decanter.

dégorgement
French term for the disgorgement operation at the end of the traditional method of sparkling winemaking

demi-sec
French term meaning medium dry.

diatomaceous earth
Widely used in filtration, is a naturally occuring, highly porous, chalky textured sedimentary rock made mainly of silica and consisting of fossilized remains of diatoms, a type of hard-shelled algae.

DOCG
Stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita, a legal category established in Italy in 1963 for its highest-quality wines, at the same time as its DOC was created as an Italian version of the French appellation contrôllée.

domaine
French word for an estate, typically a vine-growing and winemaking estate in Burgundy.

Domaine de la Romanée-Conti
The most prestigious wine estate in Burgundy, based in Vosne-Romanée. The Domaine, as it is frequently called, is co-owned by the de Villaine and Leroy families and produces only Grand Cru wines.

dormancy
Sleep, the normal state of vines in winter. This period normally starts with autumn leaf fall, although buds are in a state of so-called organic dormancy from veraison onwards.

dosage
The final addition to a sparkling wine which may top up a bottle in the case of traditional method wines, and also determines the sweeteness, or residual sugar, of the finished wine. A mixture of wine and sugar syrup.

doux
French for sweet

downy mildew
Downy mildew attacks all green parts of the vine and young leaves are particularly susceptible. When severly affected, leaves will drop off. The loss of leaves reduces photosynthesis and thus causes delays in fruit ripening and, typically, levels of fruit sugars, vine reserves of carbohydrates, and anthocyanins are depressed.

Échezeaux
Grand Cru of the village of Flagey-Échezeaux in Burgundy's Côte de Nuits, producing red wines from Pinot Noir grapes.

Einzellage
Literally "individual site" in the wine regions of Germany. Almost all of Germany's vineyards are officially registered as one of these approximately 2600 Einzellagen, which can vary in size from a fraction of 1 ha to more than 200 ha/494 acres. As in Burgundy, for example, the Einzellagen may be divided among many different owners.

élevage
When applied to wines, it means the series of cellar operations that take place between fermentation and botteling.

en primeur
Wine trade term, French in origine, for wine sold as futures before being bottled. It comes from the word primeur. Cask samples of wines have customarily been shown in the spring following the vintage.

Erstes Gewächs
Designates dry wines from a limited number of ostensibly top sites in the Rheingau and Hessische Bergstrasse.

estate bottled
Term used on labels which has very specific meaning in the Unitet States, where an estate-bottled wine must come from the winery's own vineyards or those on which the winery has a long lease; both vineyards and winery must be in the geographical area specified an the label.

estate wine
Term in common parlance, but not in federal law, in the US that suggests loosely that the wine came entirely from grapes farmed on the winery's own property.

Federweisser
German term for young wine popularly consumed before botteling-generally cloudy and often still fermenting-and typically referred to in Austria as Sturm or Heuriger.

fermentation
As it appplies to wine, is the process of converting sugar to ethanol and carbon dioxide effected by the anaerobic metabolism of yeast.

field blend
A mixture of different vine varieties planted in the same vineyard as was once common.

filtration
Fundamental but controversial winemaking process, a means of clarification involving the removal of solid particles from a wine.

fining
Winemaking process with the aim of clarification and stabilization of a wine whereby a fining agent, one of a range of special materials, is added to coagulate or adsorb and precipitate quickly the colloids suspended in it.

Fixin
Appellation abutting Gevrey-Chambertin in the Côte de Nuits district of Burgundy, producing red wines of a similar style to ist neighbour, though currently of lesser fame.

flétri
French term used to describe grapes which have been dried, or partially dried, before fermentation to increase the sugar content. It is used most commonly in Switzerland and occasionally in the Valle d'Aosta.

fortification
The practice of adding spirits, usually grape spirit, to wine to ensure microbiological stability, thereby adding alcoholic strength and precluding any further fermentation.

fortified wines
Are those which have been subjected to frotification and therefore include Sherry, Port, Madeira, Vermouth, Màlaga, Montilla, Marsala, Liqueur Muscat and Liqueur Tokay.

Goldkapsel
Unregulated term of approbation referring to German Rieslings. Use of gold capsules to signify superior quality was a response, initially and still primarily in the Mosel, to the 1971 German Wine Law's prohibition on labels of traditional terms such as Cabinet, feine, feinste, or hochfeinste.

grafting
The connection of two pieces of living plant tissue so that they unite and grow as one plant, has been a particularly important element in growing vines since the end of the 19th century.

grand cru
Means literally "great growth" in French.

Grands Échezeaux
Red Grand Cru in Burgundy's Côte d'Or.

grey rot
Sometimes known as grey mould and sometimes just rot, the malevolent form of botrytis bunch rot and one of the most harmful of the fungal disease that attack vines. In this undesirable bunch rot form, the botrytis cinerea fungus rapidly spreads throughout the berry flesh and the skin breaks down.

Grosses Gewächs
Is a prestige wine category devised by Germany's VDP and in use since 2002. The sites in question are typically Einzellagen.

hard
Tasting term applied to wine that is high in astringent tannins and apparently lacking in fruit.

harvest
Both the process of picking ripe grapes from the vine and transferring them to the winery, and ist occasionally festive, if frenetic, duration.

Haut-Médoc
The higher, southern part of the Médoc district of Bordeaux which includes the world-famous communes of Margaux, Pauillac, St-Estèphe and St-Julien, as well as the less glamorous ones of Listrac and Moulis.

heat stress
Affects vines when air temperatures are high. Very high daytime temperatures, of more than 40°C/104°F, cause the vine to "shut down", or virtually cease photosynthesis, as the enzymes responsible can no longer work. High temperatures also lead to water stress, especially when accompained by bright sunshine, low humidity, and strong, dry winds.

herbicides
Chemicals applied to vineyards to control the growth of weeds. They may be either pre-emergent (or residual) or post-emergent (knockdowm). The latter group comprises two types, contact and syntemic herbicides. Residual herbicides act against germinating seedlings of the weeds, while post-emergent herbicides are applied only to the strip of ground directly under the vine, and weeds growing between the rows are controlled by cultivation or mowing.

Hermitage
The most famous northern Rhône appellation of all, producing extremely limited quantities of seriously long-lived reds and about a third as much full-bodied dry white wine which some believe is even more distinguished. Hermitage was one of France's most famous wines in the 18th and 19th centuries when the name alone was sufficient to justify prices higher than any wine other than a first growth bordeaux.

Hesiod
(c. 700 BC), the earliest agricultural writer of Ancient Greece, wrote Works and Days. In it, he gives mostly simple advices for the winemaker/farmer.

hillside vineyards
Even in Ancient Rome it was said Bacchus amat colles, or Bacchus loves the hills, suggesting that hillside vineyards have long been regarded as a source of high-quality wine.

hybrids
In common viticultural terms, the offspring of two varieties of different species, as distinct from a cross between two varieties of the same species, which is also known as an intraspecific cross.

ice wine
Direct Anglicization of the German Eiswein, sweet wine made from ripe grapes picked when frozen on the vine and pressed so that water crystals remain in the press and the sugar content of the resulting wine is increased. This sort of true ice wine is a speciality of Canada, where it is written Icewine. The word Icewine has been trademarked by VQA Canada which imposes the world's most stringent standards on the production. In Ontario, grapes for Icewine must have reached alt least 35° Brix. Residual sugar at bottling must be at least 125 g/l.

IGT
Stands for Indicazione Geografica Tipica, corresponding to the EU denomination PGI.

indigenous varieties
vine varieties that are intensely local to a particular area and have a relatively long tradition of being grown there.

inner staves
Or insert, planks of wood, usually oak, placed in a stainless steel tank and held in position by a metal framework, are a way of imparting oak flavour to wine more cheaply than by fermenting or ageing in barrels since the staves are easily replaced.

integrated production
IP was developed as a concept in 1974, and major development has come from France, Germany and Switzerland. IP emphasizes a holistic approach to viticulture, by considering the vineyard as an "agro-ecosystem". The reduction of chemical inputs, especially nitrogen fertilizer and broad spectrum insecticides, is a first step.

Kabinett
One of six so-called Prädikats applying to German wine that has not been chaptalized, and designating-depending on growing region and grape variety-must weights between 67 and 82° Oechsle. As such, Kabinett designates the lightest end of the German wine spectrum, and Mosel Kabinetts that have residual sugar are often as low as 7 or 8% alcohol.

Kellerei
Is used in much the same way as the word cave in French, for any sort of wine-producing premises wheather above or below ground. A German wine specifying a Keller rather than a Weingut on the label is usually the produce of a merchant rather than an estate. In Alto Adige, the Italian Tyrol, Kellereigenossenschaft is a common name for one of the many wine co-operatives.

lees contact
Increasingly popular and currently fashionable winemaking practice known to the Ancient Romans whereby newly fermented wine is deliberately left in contact with the lees. This period of lees contact may take place in any container, from a bottle to a large tank or vat-although a small oak barrel is the most common location for lees contact.

lees stirring
Or bâtonnage, as it is called in French, is the once fashionable winemaking operation of mixing up the lees in a barrel, cask, tank or vat with the wine resting on them. It is an optional addition to the process of lees contact and is often employed, particularly for whites which have undergone barrel fermentation. Usually done with a stick. Stirring up the lees in the barrel also effects oak flavour.

left bank
An expression for that part of the Bordeaux wine region that is on the left bank of the river Garonne. It includes, travelling down river, Graves, Sauternes, Barsac, Pessac-Léognan, Médoc and all the appellations of the Médoc.

lie
Or lies, French for lees.

lieu-dit
French term used quite generally to refer to the local, traditional name of a small area of land, usually defined by topography or history.

liquoreux
French term meaning "syrupy sweet" used for very rich, often botrytized, wines that are markedly sweeter than moelleux wines.

loess
An accumulation of clay and silt particles that have been deposited by the wind. Loess is typically pale-coloured, unstratified, and loosely cemented by calcium carbonate. Favoured for viticulture because it is porous, permeable, readily warmed and easily penetrated by roots.

maceration
Ancient word for steeping a material in liquid with or without a kneading action to separate the softened parts of the material from the harder ones. This important process in red winemaking involves extracion of the phenolics or anthocyanins, other glycosides, including flavour precursors from the grape skins, seeds, and stem fragments into the juice or new wine.

Mâcon
Important commercial centre on the River Saône and capital of the Mâconnais dynamic district of Burgundy which produces considerable quantities of white wine and some red.

maderization
Occasionally madeirization, is the process by which a wine is made to taste like Madeira, involving mild oxidation over a long period and, usually, heat.

maître de chai
Term often used in France, particularly in Bordeaux, for the cellermaster, as opposed to the régisseur, who might manage the whole estate, or certainly the vineyards.

malic acid
One of the two principal organic acids of grapes and wines. Ist name comes from malum, Latin for apple, the fruit in which it was first identified. Present in nearly all fruits and berries.

malolactic conversion
Widely known as malolactic fermentation, and often abbreviated to MLF or malo, is the conversion of stronger malic acid into lactic acid.

malolactic fermentation
Often abbreviated to MLF or malo, is the conversion of stronger malic acid anturally present in new wine into lactic acid (which has lower acidity) and carbon dioxide.

marc
The general French term both for grape pomace and, more widely, for pomace brandy. It is used to distinguish the product from a fine, which may be made by distilling local wine. Most traditional wine regions make marc from the pomace, grape skins, and pips left after pressing.

Marsannay
Northernmost appellation of the Côte de Nuits district of the Côte d'Or. It is unique in Burgundy for having Appellation Contrôllée status for red, white, and pink wines.

mature
Tasting term for a fine wine that seems to have enjoyed sufficent ageing for it to have reached the peak of ist potential.

Melon
Or Melon de Bourgogne, the most planted grape variety in the Loire valley, planted on 10798ha/26671acres in 2011 and famous in only one respect and one region, Muscadet.

Menetou-Salon
Is just west of, and very much smaller than, the much more famous Sancerre, near the city of Bourges, producing a not dissimilar range of red, white, and rosé wines which can often offer better value.

Mercurey
Most important village in the Côte Chalonnaise district of Burgundy. While most of the production is in red wines made from Pinot Noir, a small quantity of unusually scented white wine from Chardonnay is also made.

méthode champenoise
French term for the intricate traditional method described in detail in sparkling winemaking. From 1994 the term was outlawed by EU authorities in favour of one of the following: méthode traditionelle; méthode classique; méthode traditionelle classique; fermented in this bottle and traditional method.

Meursault
Large and prosperous village in the Côte de Beaune district of Burgundy's Côte d'Or producing mostly white wines from the Chardonnay grape. Although Meursault contains no Grand Cru vineyards, the quality of white burgundy from Meursault's best Premier Crus is rarely surpassed.

microclimate
Widely misused term meaning strictly the climate within a defined and usually very restricted space or position. In viticulture, it might be at specific positions between rows of vines, or distances above the ground.

minerals
Are the dissolved inorganic constituents of vines, grapes and wine, often called nutrients, and primarily obtained from geological minerals in the groung.

monopole
Burgundian term for wholly owned vineyard or climat.

Montagne de Reims
The mountain of Reims, or the forested high ground between the Champagne towns of Reims and Épernay. Ist lower slopes are famed for the quality of Pinot Noir base wine they produce.

Montrachet
Or Le Montrachet, the most famous Grand Cru white burgundy, the apogee of the Chardonnay grape produced from a single vineyard in the Côte de Beaune district of the Côte d'Or.

Morey-St-Denis
Important village in the Côte de Nuits district of Burgundy producing red wines from Pinot Noir grapes. Morey suffers, perhaps unfairly, in comparison with ist neighbours Chambolle-Musigny and Gevrey-Chambertin beacuse its wines are usually described as being lighter versions of Gevrey or firmer than Chambolle, according to which side of the village they are located.

Mremma
Long, loosely defined strip of tuskan coastline south of Livorno extending southwards through the province of Grosseto. Production of bottled wine is consequently a recent phenomenon and quality wine can be said to date from the first bottles of Sassicaia in the 1970s, although the zone of Morellino di Scansano, enjoyed a certain reputation in the past.

Musigny, Le
Great red Grand Cru in Burgundy's Côte d'Or.

must
Is the name used by winemakers for a thick liquid that is neither grape juice nor wine but the intermediate, a mixture of grape juice. Stem fragments, grape skins, seeds, and pulp that comes from the crusher-destemmer that smashes grapes at the start of the winemaking process.

négociant
French term for a merchant and one used particularly of wine merchants who by in grapes, must or wine.

New World
Term much used in the wine world, initially smoewhat patronizingly but with increasing admiration in the last quarter of the 20th century as the New World's share of global exports rose from 3 to 23%, to distinguish the colonies established as a result of the longer voyages in the 15th century.

noble rot
Sometimes simply as botrytis, is the benevolent form of botrytis bunch rot, in which the Botrytis cinerea fungus attacks ripe, undamaged white wine grapes and, given the right weather, can result in extremely sweet grapes.

Nuits, Côte de
Named after the principal town of Nuits-St-Georges, this is the northern half of the escarpment of the Côte d'Or, producing the greatest red wines of Burgundy, from the Pinot Noir grape, and very occasional white wines.

Nuits-St-Georges
Small market town in Burgundy.

oak
Is hard and supple, and most oaks have watertight wood, which has the simple advantage over other wood types used for cooperage of displaying a natural affinity with wine, imparting qualities and flavours that today's consumers appreciate as enhancing or complementing those of many wines.

oak ageing
The process of ageing a wine in contact with oak. This typically involves barrel maturation, ageing the wine in a relatively small oak container.

Oechsle
Scale of measuring grape sugars, and therefore grape ripeness, based on the density of grape juice.

oenologist
A study is the main requierment for this title.

Old World
Is Europe and the rest of the Mediterranean basin such as the Near East and North Africa. The term is used solely in contrast to the New World, the Old World having little sense of homogeneity. Old World techniques in vineyard and cellar have relied more on tradition and less on science than in the New World.

oxidation
The term usually refers to a wine fault resulting from excessive exposure to oxygen. Oxidation is a threat as soon as the grape is crushed.

oxidative winemaking
Contrasts with protective and reductive winemaking in that the winemaker deliberately exposes the wine to oxygen at various stages in the winemaking process in order to encourage certain reactions and achieve a particular style of wine. Oloroso Sherry being an extreme example.

passerillage
French word for the process by which passerillé grapes are dried, shrivelled, or raisined on the vine, concentrating the sugar in grapes-an alternative to wines whose sugars have been concentrated by botrytis.

passito
Italian term for dried-grape-wine.

pergola
A form of overhead vine trading. Where the canopy is horizontal, the pergola can alternatively be called tendone.

pétillante
French term for a lightly sparkling wine, somewhere between perlant and mousseux.

phenolics
Very large group of highly reactive chemical compounds of which phenol is the basic building block. These include many natural colour pigments such as the anthocyanins of fruit and dark-skinned grapes, most natural vegetable tannins such as occur in grapes, and many flavour compounds.

pigeage
French term for punching down, the winemaking operation of breaking up and submerging the cap of skins and other solids during red wine fermentation to stop the cap from drying out.

pomace
In white winemaking, the pomace is the sweet, pale brownish-green mass of grape skins, stems, seeds and pulp left after pressing. In red winemaking, the pomace is coloured blackish red.

Pommard
Prosperous village in Burgundy producing the most powerful red wines of the Côte de Beaune district of the côte d'Or, from the usual Pinot Noir grapes.

port
A fortified wine made by adding brandy to arrest fermenting grape must which results in a wine, red and sometimes white, that is both sweet and high in alcohol.

potassium
One of the macronutriments required by the vine for healthy growth, along with nitrogen and phosphorus.

pourriture
French for rot. Pourriture noble is noble rot, pourriture grise is grey rot or malevolent botrytis bunch rot.

powdery mildew
The first of the vine fungal diseases to be scientifically described, in 1834 in the United States.

premier cru
Or premier cru classé, is a cru judged of the first rank, usually according to some official classification. The direct translation of the French term premier cru, much used in the context of Bordeaux, is first growth. In Burgundy, scores of vineyards are designated premiers crus, capable of producing wine distinctly superior to village wine but not quite so great as the produce of the grands crus.

prestige cuvée
One of several names given to a champagne house's highest-quality wine.

primeur
French word for young produce which has been adapted to mean "young wine".

Prosecco
Extremely popular sparkling wine made in the region of Veneto, located north-east of Italy. The DOC was once an IGT. To ensure that no one outside the region was able to jump on the luctrative Prosecco bandwagon, the grape variety was renamed Glera in 2009, and Prosecco was registered as a protected denomination of origin DOC.

Puligny-Montrachet
Village in the Côte de Beaune district of Burgundy's Côte d'Or producing very fine wines from Chardonnay and a tiny amount of less exalted red.

QbA
Qualitätswein is what POD wines are called in German. This is Germany's largest and lowest wine category and in practice includes all those wines once known as QbA. The grapes must originate in one of Germany's 13 official wine regions and reach minimum must weights.

quartz
Silicon dioxide (silica), a very common rock-forming mineral. It is seen as glassy, colourless grains in rocks such as granite and sandstone, producing sandy soils of low fertility. It also occurs as opaque white veins filling gashes in bedrocks, which weathering loosens into fragments that become the milky white pebbles seen in many vineyards soils.

rancio
Imprecise tasting term used in many languages for a distinctive style of wine, often fortified wine or vin doux naturel, achieved by deliberately maderizing the wine by exposing it to oxygen and/or heat.

Recioto
Distinctive category of north-east Italian dried-grape wines, a historic speciality of Veneto. The most common forms of Recioto are sweet red Recioto della Valpolicella and the rare sweet white Recioto di Soave and Recioto di Gambellara.

récolte
French for harvest.

reductive winemaking
Increasingly fashionable and aims at reducing the exposure of must and wine to oxygen in the winery by minimizing or eliminating practices such as racking, lees stirring, and the use of new oak barrels.

refractometer
An instrument for measuring a refractive index, which is related to the amount by which the angle of a light wave is changed when passing through the boundary between two media. The amount of refraction is a convenient way to measure solute concentration of a solution and is widely used in viticultural and winemaking to follow the ripeness of grapes and changes during vinification.

remontage
French word for various systems of pumping over. In winemaking terms it is the pumping of the liquid in the fermentation tank over the cap of skins and solids during the red wine fermentation.

remuage
Is French for the riddling process. A person or machine that performs remuage is a remueur.

Reserve
Is a term liberally used by wine producers for various bottlings. It should be quite literally reserved itself, for superior wines, but, unlike Reserva and Riserva, the English term Reserve has few controls on ist use.

residual sugar
Occasionally RS, the total quantity of sugars remaining unfermented in the finished wine. This may include both fermentable sugars, mainly glucose and fructose, which have for some reason remained unconverted to alcohol during fermentation, and small amounts of those few sugars which are not readily fermented by typical wine yeast.

Rhône
One of the most important wine rivers, linking a range of vineyards as dissimilar as those of Châteauneuf-du Pape in southern France, sparkling Seyssel, and Fendant du Valais in Switzerland.

Richebourg
Great red Grand Cru in Burgundy's Côte d'Or.

right bank
An expression much used of that part of the Bordeaux wine region that is on the right bank, or north, of the river Dordogne. It includes, travelling down river, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux, Francs Côtes de Bordeaux, St-Émilion and its satellite appellations, Pomerol and Lalande-de-Pomerol, Fronsac and Canon-Fronsac, Bourg, and Blaye.

ripasso
Italian term meaning literally "repassed", for the technique of adding extra flavour, and alcohol, to Valpolicella by refermenting the young wine on the unpressed skins of Amarone wines after these dried-grape wines have finished their fermentation in the spring, and racked off.

Riserva
Nebulous Italian term usually denoting a wine given extended ageing before release, and suggesting a higher quality, and a higher percentage of alcohol than the normal version of the same wine. The ageing requirement for Riservas varies from DOC to DOC, but normally is a minimum of one year, up to 62 months for Barolo Riserva. In many cases this must include a period in cask, aswell as in bottle.

Rivesaltes
Town north of Perpignan in southern France that gives ist name to two of the biggest appellations of Roussillon, Rivesaltes and Muscat de Rivesaltes, both of them vins doux naturels.

Romanée
Romanée-Conti, Romanée-St-Vivant, great red Grands Crus in Burgundy's Côte d'Or.

saignée
French term meaning "bled" for a winemaking technique which results in a rosé wine made by running off, or "bleeding", a certain amount of free-run juice from just-crushed dark-skinned grapes after a short, prefermentation maceration.

Sancerre
Dramatically situated hilltop town on the left bank of the upper Loire which lends ist name to one of the Loire's most famous, and famously variable, wines: racy, pungent, dry white Sauvignon Blanc.

Sassicaia
One of the first Italian reds made in the image of fine red bordeaux.

Sauternes
The special distinction of this region embedded within the Graves distric south of Bordeaux is that it is dedicated, in a way unmatched by any other wine region, to the production of unfortified, sweet, white wine.

Savigny-lès-Beaune
A small town in Burgundy near Beaune, as lès(Old French for near) implies, with ist own appellation for red wine and little white.

sec
Is French for dry.

Selection
A Prädikat that means literally "selected harvest" but is officilly defined by the must weight at harvest.

Sélection de Grains Nobles
The richest, most sumptuous ripeness category of Alsace wines.

shoot positioning
Spring and summer time viticultural practice of placing vine shoots in the desierd position to assist in trimming, leaf removal, and harvest operations, and to facilitate the control of vine diseases and vine pests.

Smaragd
The most valuable category of white wines made from the ripest grapes on the best sites of the Wachau in Austria. The category is named after the green lizard that basks in the sun on the Wachau's steep stone terraces above the river Danube. Alcohol levels in the unchaptalized Grüner Veltliners and Rieslings that qualify must be more than 12.5%.

solera
System of fractional blending used most commonly in Jerez for maintaining the consistency of a style of Sherry which takes ist name from those barrels closest to the suelo, or floor, from which the final blend was customarily drawn.

sommelier
Widely used French term for a specialist wine waiter or wine steward. The sommelier's job is to ensure that any wine ordered is served correctly and, ideally, to advise on the individual characteristics of every wine on the establishment's wine list and on food and wine matching.

soutirage
French term for racking, or moving clear wine off ist sediment and into a clean container. It can also be used for the wine serving process of decanting.

Spätlese
Means literally "late harvest" but, as a so called Prädikat, is officially defined by grape sugar at harvest.

stainless steel
Is widely used for holding wine, both for ageing and, especially, for fermentation.

St-Aubin
Village in the Côte de Beaune district of Burgundy's Côte d'Or tucked out of the limelight between Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet. A high production, two-thirds, of the vineyards area is designated premier cru, notably Les Charmois, La Chantenière, En Remilly and Les Murgers Dents de Chien.

staves
Are the shaped wooden planks that are cut and formed into barrels.

Steinfeder
The lightest in terms of must weight and alcohol among the trio of dry white wine categories in Austria's Wachau region-specifically for unchaptalaized grapes of 73 to 83° Oechsle which result in wines no more than 11% alcohol. The name comes from a feathery grass species indigenous to the local vineyard terraces.

stemming
Designation (also de-stemming, rebelling) for the removal of the grape skeleton (centimes) or release of the berries from the grapes.

Stück
German term for a large wooden barrel, typically one with a capacity of 1200 lit./317 gal.

sulfur
An element that is extremely important in wine production. The addition of sulfur dioxide during crushing and pressing deactivates enzymes that catalyse oxidation, which leads to juice browning and modification of aromas and flavours, which is why it is often added to freshly picked grapes in the salt form of metabisulfite. (The compound is widely, often more liberally, used in the preparation of other foods and drinks, particularly in fruit juices and dried fruits).

Superiore
Italian term applied to DOC wines which are deemed superior because of their higher minimum alcoholic strength, usually by a half or one per cent, a longer period of ageing before commercial release, or a lower maximum permited yield, or all three.

sur lie
French term meaning "on the lees", customarily applied to white wines whose principal deviation from everyday white winemaking techniques was some form of lees contact.

Süssreserve
German term for sweet reserve, the unfermented or part-fermented must much used in the 1970s and 1980s to sweeten all but the finest or driest German wines.

table wine
Term used internationally to distinguish wines of average alcoholic strength from superior so-called quality wine.

Tâche, La
Great red Grand Cru in Burgundy's Côte d'Or.

tank method
Alternative name for a bulk sparkling winemaking process which involves provoking a second fermentation in wine stored in a pressure tank.

tannins
Diverse and comples group of chemical compounds that occur in the bark of many trees and in fruits, including the grape.

tartaric acid
The most important of the acids found in grapes and wine. Of all the natural organic acids found in plants, this is one of the rarer.

tartrates
The general term used by winemakers to describe the harmless crystalline deposits that separate from wines during fermentation and ageing. The principal component of this deposit is potassium acid tartrate, the potassium salt of tartaric acid, which has therefore given rise to the name.

TBA
Understandably common abbreviation for Trockenbeerenauslese

terra rossa
Red-brown loam or clay directly over well-drained limestone found typically in regions with a mediterranean climate. Such soils are found in southern Europe, North Africa and parts of Australia.

terroir
Much-discussed term for the total natural evironment of any viticultural site. Major components of terroir are soil, and local topography, macroclimate, mesoclimate and microclimate.

Tignanello
Seminal central Italian wine first produced by the house of Antinori as a single-vineyard Chianti Classico in the 1970 vintage and then as a ground-breaking vino da tavola in the 1971 vintage.

toasting
Given to a barrel towards the end of the process of forming it over a heat source.

Tokaj
According to the 2005 wine legislation, the following types of wine are produced in Tokaj: Dry and semi-dry; These are wines vinified from overripe grapes and matured only briefly. Matured dry wines; botrytis is undesirable. Szamorodni; Comparable to that of Beerenauslese. They are fermented dry or sweet and subjected to subtle maturation under a film-forming yeast. Very like the Jura's Vin Jaune. Sweet Aszù wines; Traditionally, the concentration of wines is measured by the number of puttonyos of Aszù grapes. Essencia; The free-run juice of hand-picked botrytized berries with a sugar content of over 450g / l also 800g and more. Essencia takes years to achieve a modest alcohol level of 4-5%.

tonneau
Traditional Bordeaux measure of wine volume, once a large woodes cask holding 900 lit., or 252 imperial wine gallons, the equivalent of four barriques.

topping up
Ouillage in French, the operation of refilling any sort of wooden container to replace wine lost through evaporation. The container should be kept full or nearly full.

training systems
Methods of vine training, which vary considerably around the world. The word describes the actions of pruning in winter and summer, and shoot and cane placement, so that the vine's trunk, arms, and cordons and buds are appropriately located on the trellis system.

tuffeau
A common rock type in the central Loire. Tuffeau blanc is calcareous but provides much better drainage than most limestones.

ultra brut
Brut Nature, Pas Dosé or Zéro Dosage. Residual sugar under 3g/lit

umami
Japanese term derived from two words meaning "delicious" and "essence" and used to refer to what some consider to be the fifth primary taste. It is variously described as "savory" or "meaty".

VDP
Or the Verband Deutscher Prädikatsweingüter, the most influential and prestigious German growers' association.

Vendange Tardive
Means literally "late harvest" and in France is restricted to Alsace, where strict regulations cover ist production, even if too many producers are meeting only the bare minima.

veraison
Word used in viticulture for that intermediate stage of grape berry developement which marks the beginning of ripening

verjus
Or verjuice, the tart, apple-flavoured juice of unripe grapes, has many variations and many culinary uses, especially in dressings and sauces.

vermouth
Herb-flavoured fortified wine available in many different styles and qualities but usually a much more industrial product than wine.

vieilles vignes
Is French for "old vines". The term is used widely on wine labels-as is vinhas velhas (Portugal), alte Reben (Germany)-in the hope that potential buyers are aware that wine quality is often associated with senior vine age.

vigne
Is French for a vine, and sometimes vineyard.

village wine
Is a term used particularly in Burgundy for wine which qualifies for an appellation that coincides with the name of the village or commune in which the wine is made.

vin de paille
Is French for "straw wine", a small group of necessarily expensive but often quite delicious, long-lived, sweet white wines.

vin de table
The old name for France's most basic level of wine.

Vin des Glaciers
Also known as Vin du Glacier or Gletscherwein in German, is a local speciality in the Val Anniviers near Sierre in the Valais in Switzerland. The white wine, traditionally made of the now obscure Rèze vine, comes from communally cultivated vines and is stored at high elevations in casks refilled just once a year on a solera system.

vin doux naturel
Translates directly from French as a wine that is naturally sweet. Vins doux naturels are made by mutage, by artificially arresting the conversion of grape sugar to alcohol by adding spirit before fermentation is complete.

vin jaune
Meaning literally "yellow wine" in French, extraordinary style of wine made in France, mainly in the Jura region, using a technique similar to that used for making Sherry but without fortification.

viscosity
The quality of being viscous, the extent to which a solution resists flow or movement.

volatile acidity
Of a wine is ist total concentration of volatile acids, those naturally occuring organic acids of wines that are separable by distillation. Wine's most common volatile acid by far is acetic acid (more than 96%).

Volnay
Attractive small village in the Côte de Beaune district of Burgundy's Côte d'Or producing elegant red wines from Pinot Noir. The wines of Volnay were celebratet under the ancien régime for their delicacy.

Vosne-Romanée
Village in de Côte de Nuits district of Burgundy's Côte d'Or producing arguably the finest red wines made anywhere from Pinot Noir grapes

Vougeot
Small village in the Côte de Nuits district of Burgundy producing red wines from the Pinot Noir grape. The name is derived from the diminutive of Vouge, a small stream flowing through the village. The village's fame rests squarely with the 50.6 ha Grand Cru, Clos de Vougeot.

Weissherbst
Is by German law a rosé wine at least 95% of which is made by direct pressing of a single red wine grape variety named on the label (Spätburgunder and Portugieser are especially common).

whole-bunch fermentation
Ultratradaitional method of red wine fermentation in which grape berries are not subjected to destemming. This was the default position before the introduction of the crusher-destemmer. The possible disadvantages are that, unless the stems are vey ripe, i.e. well lignified, and the must is handled very gently, the stems may impart harsh tannins to the wine.

whole-bunch pressing
White winemaking technique wheereby the grapes are not subjacted to destemming and bunches of ripe grapes are pressed whole, with the stems used as conduits for what can often be particularly viscous juice.

wine-growing region
Germany is subdivided into 13 specific wine growing regions, which are defined in the German designation law and in the German wine law.

Xérès
French name for both Jerez and Sherry.

yeast
Microscopic, single-celled fungi, having round to oval cells which reproduce by forming buds, are vital to the alcoholic fermentation process, which, starved of oxygen, transforms grape juice to wine.

Yquem, Château d'
The greatest wine of Sauternes and, according to the famous 1855 classification, of the entire Bordeaux region it is sweet, golden, and apparently almost immortal.

zinc
Essential element for healthy vine growth. A deficiency of zinc affects the plant's ability to synthesize the hormones auxins, deficiency in which results in a failure of the shoots to grow normally.

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