Wine Glossary


Date:
31 January,2018
Author:
Jeannie Cho Lee

 

Abboccato

(Italian) Medium-sweet and full-bodied.

 

Accolage

(French) The viticultural procedure of tying the vine branches to the horizontal wires.

 

Acetic acid

The acid component of vinegar. The product of oxidation of ethanol by the action of acetobacter in the presence of oxygen. A volatile acid present in small quantities in all wines. Excessive amounts result in a vinegary nose and taste.

 

Adamado

(Portuguese) Sweet.

 

Adega

(Portuguese) Winery.

 

Aerobic

Requiring oxygen to operate.

 

Alcohol

Potable alcohol, as contained in alcoholic drinks, is ethanol, sometimes called ethyl alcohol. Actual alcohol is the amount of ethanol present in a wine, measured as a percentage of the total volume at 20ºC as shown on the label. Total alcohol is the sum of the actual and potential (from unfermented sugars) alcohol.

 

Almacenista

(Spanish) A producer of Sherry who ages it and then sells it in bulk to a merchant.

 

Alte Reben

(German) Old vines.

 

Amabile

(Italian) Medium-sweet.

 

Anaerobic

Able to operate without oxygen.

 

Analyser

That part of a patent, or Coffey, still in which the alcohol present in the pre-heated wash (q.v.) is vaporised by steam.

 

Anbaugebiet

(German) Designated quality wine region.

 

Annata

(Italian) Vintage.

 

Anreicherung

(German) Must enrichment (q.v.).

 

Ascorbic acid

Vitamin C. Used in winemaking, along with sulphur dioxide to prevent oxidation.

 

Aspersion

Method of protection against spring frosts whereby the vines are sprayed with water, which freezes, coating the buds with ice. The buds are not damaged because of the latent heat of the ice.

 

Assemblage

(French) Blending of a number of different parcels of wine, particularly in Bordeaux or Champagne.

 

Ausbruch

(German) An Austrian quality category for sweet wines, the minimum must weight required is higher than that for Beerenauslese, but lower than that for Trockenbeerenauslese.

 

Auslese

(German) German quality wine category, indicating an unchaptalised wine made from selected bunches of exceptionally ripe grapes.

 

Azienda (or Casa)

(Italian) An estate that makes wine from both its own and bought-in grapes.

 

Azienda (or Casa)

(Italian) An estate that uses only its own grapes in production of its wine.

 

Azienda (or Casa) Vinicola

(Italian) A producer who buys in and vini?es grapes.

 

Barrique

(French) Cask (q.v.) with a capacity of 225 litres. Traditional to Bordeaux, but now used throughout the world.

 

Battonnage

(French) Lees stirring (q.v.).

 

Baumé

(French) French scale used in measurement of must weight (q.v.)

 

Beerenauslese

(German) German quality wine category, indicating an unchaptalised wine made from individually selected, super-ripe grapes. These will usually be affected by botrytis, and will have exceptionally high sugar levels.

 

Bentonite

Clay of volcanic origin used for fining (q.v.).

 

Bereich

(German) A group of communes (Gemeinde).

 

Bianco

(Italian) White.

 

Bin

Literally a location, for example a cellar, where a particular wine is stored. Often used as part of a brand name.

 

Biodynamic

A form of organic viticulture (q.v.) that follows the teachings of Rudolf Steiner. Vine treatments are timed to match astronomical cycles.

 

Biologique

(French) Organic.

 

Black rot

Fungal disease of the vine prevalent in warm, wet weather, which causes black stains on the leaves.

 

Blanc

(French) White.

 

Blanco

(Spanish) White.

 

Blended whisk(e)y

In Scotland: a blend of grain and malt whisky. In United States: a blend of straight whiskey and neutral corn spirit.

 

BlueFining 

Removal of iron or copper casse (q.v.) from a wine by the addition of potassium ferrocyanide.

 

Bodega

(Spanish) Winery.

 

Bonne chauffe

(French) The second distillation used in Cognac to convert the brouillis to eau de vie.

 

Bordeaux mixture

Solution of copper sulphate and lime in water, used to spray vines as protection against fungal diseases.

 

Botanicals

Flavourings used in gin production.

 

Botrytis cinerea

Fungus which attacks the grape berry. In certain circumstances it will form unwanted grey rot, in others, desirable noble rot.

 

Botte

(Italian) Traditional large barrels used in Italy in various sizes up to 160 hl. (Plural botti.)

 

Bottiglia

(Italian) Bottle.

 

Branco

(Portuguese) White.

 

Brix/Balling

A system of measuring must weight (q.v.), and thereby potential alcohol.

 

Brouillis

(French) The product of the first distillation in Cognac.

 

Brut

(French, Spanish) Dry (of a sparkling wine).

 

Bush training

Training of vines as free-standing plants, not needing the support of a trellis (q.v.).

 

Butt

Traditional barrel used in Sherry production, holding about 600 litres.

 

Buttage

(French) The process of earthing up the bases of the vines to protect them against frost.

 

Cane

Partially lignified one-year-old wood on a vine, pruned to between eight and 15 buds. If pruned to just two or three buds, it is referred to as a spur (q.v.).

 

Cane pruning

System of vine pruning in which one or more long canes of one-year-old wood, remain to produce new shoots.

 

Cantina sociale

(Italian) Co-operative cellar.

 

Cap

Floating mass of grape skins, stalks etc. on the surface of red must when fermenting.

 

Cap Classique

A South African sparkling wine made using the traditional method.

 

Carbonic maceration

Fermentation of whole bunches of black grapes with the berries initially intact. The intracellular fermentation results in well-coloured, fruity red wines, with little tannin.

 

Cascina

(Italian) Farmhouse (has come to mean estate).

 

Cask

Wooden barrel, usually made of oak, used for fermentation, maturation and storage of wines. Traditional names and sizes vary from region to region.

 

Cask strength

Particularly of malt Whiskies, a spirit that has not been reduced (watered down) to a bottling strength of around 40% abv. These generally will not be filtered and will be very high in alcohol: sometimes over 75% abv. See also overproof.

 

Casse

(French) Unwanted haze in wine caused by instability.

 

Casta

(Portuguese) Grape variety.

 

Cava

(Spanish) DO traditional method sparkling wine.

 

Cave

(French) Cellar (often underground) or establishment.

 

Cave co-operative

(French) Co-operative cellar.

 

Cépage

(French) Grape variety.

 

Cerasuolo

(Italian) Cherry pink.

 

Chai

(French) Above-ground warehouse for storing wine, usually in barrel.

 

Chalk

A kind of limestone (q.v.) that is almost pure calcium carbonate.

 

Chaptalisation

Must enrichment (q.v.), specifically using beet or cane, named after Comte Chaptal, the Napoleonic minister who advocated its use.

 

Charmat method

Sparkling wine production process in which the secondary fermentation takes place under pressure in a sealed tank. Also called tank method or cuve close.

 

Château

(French) Vineyard in Bordeaux, generally, but not always, with accompanying house.

 

Chauffe-vin

(French) Wine heater. Part of a Cognac still, used to heat the wine before it enters the pot still.

 

Chiaretto

(Italian) Light or pale rosé.

 

Classic

(German) A German category for dry quality wines.

 

Classico

(Italian) The original centre of a DOC region, making the most typical wines.

 

Clay

An extremely fine-grained, soft rock. Clay soils often retain large amounts of water, which keep the soil cool, and may drown the vine roots.

 

Climat

(French) A vineyard site

 

Clonal selection

Selection of plants from a particular variety for specific desirable features (which may include early ripening, good fruit, high, or low, yields and resistance to diseases).

 

Clone

One of a population of plants that are the descendants of a single individual and have been propagated by vegetative means. Unlike descendants by sexual propagation, each clone will have features identical to the parent plant.

 

Clos

(French) Historically, a walled vineyard, though the walls may no longer exist.

 

Col de Cygne

(French) Swan’s neck. The part of a Cognac still that transports the vapours from the pot to the condenser.

 

Colheita

(Portuguese) Harvest.

 

Commune

A small wine-growing region, usually surrounding one village.

 

Compte

(French) Age classi?cation system used in Cognac and Armagnac, starting with compte 00 for freshly distilled spirit.

 

Congeners

Organic compounds giving ?avouring and aromas in alcoholic beverages. Products of the fermentation, distillation and maturation processes, they include such compounds as ketones, esters and aldehydes.

 

Consorzio

(Italian) Producers’ trade association, whose members’ wine are identified by an individually designed neck-label.

 

Continentality

The difference between summer and winter temperatures.

 

Co-operative cellar

Winemaking (and sometimes bottling and marking) facilities that are jointly owned by a number of growers.

 

Cordon

Horizontal extension of a vine trunk.

 

Côte

(French) Hillside.

 

Côteau(x)

(French) Slope(s).

 

Courbe de fermentation

(French) Record of temperature and density of a particular vat of must or wine during fermentation, plotted as a graph, used by the winemaker to monitor the wine’s progress.

 

Crianza

(Spanish) Spanish DOC wine that has satisfied certain minimum age requirements for ageing in cask and bottle.

 

Crossing

Breeding of new vine varieties by cross-pollination of two different varieties of the same species. For wine production, this is usually two varieties of V. vinifera.

 

Cru

(French) A single ‘growth’, generally of quality. It might be a village or a vineyard.

 

Cru artisan

(French) A rank of Bordeaux châteaux, below cru bourgeois (q.v.).

 

Cru bourgeois

(French) A rank of Bordeaux châteaux, below Cru Classé (q.v.).

 

Cru Classé

(French) A classified growth, normally in Bordeaux.

 

Cuve

(French) Vat or tank.

 

Cuvée

(French) 1. The juice resulting from the first pressing in Champagne. 1. A blend.

 

Debuttage

(French) Removing the protective earth that has been placed around the base of the vine during buttage (q.v.).

 

Dégorgement

(French) Removal of the sediment from a bottle in traditional method sparkling wine production.

 

Dégorgement tardive

(French) A Champagne that has been disgorged after an exceptionally long period of yeast autolysis, or ageing sur pointe (q.v.).

 

Degree-day

A method of classifying climatic zones based on the sum of the average daily temperatures above 10ºC (the temperature at which the vine starts to grow) during the growing season.

 

Demi-Sec

(French) Medium-dry.

 

Density of planting

The number of vine plants per area of land, usually expressed as vines per hectare, and will vary from 3 000 to 10 000 or more per hectare. Low plant density has the advantage of lower establishment costs, but higher density will generally give better quality wines, given a fixed yield per hectare. Factors such as mechanisation will affect the choice of plant density.

 

Département

(French) French political region.

 

Diurnal range

The difference between daytime and night-time temperatures. A wide diurnal range encourages fruit aromas and acid retention; warm nights encourage sugar build-up.

 

Doce

(Portuguese) Sweet.

 

Dolce

(Italian) Sweet.

 

Domaine

(French) Estate.

 

Dosage

(French) Adjustment of the sugar level in sparkling wines by the addition of liqueur d’expedition (q.v.) after dégorgement (q.v.).

 

Doux

(French) Sweet.

 

Downy mildew

Fungus appearing as downy patches on the vine leaves, reducing photosynthesis. Also called peronospera.

 

Dulce

(Spanish) Sweet.

 

Eau-de-vie

(French) Spirit distilled to a maximum of 96% abv; literally, ‘water of life’.

 

Edelfaule

(German) Noble rot.

 

Edes (Hungary)

Sweet.

 

Einzellage

(German) Individual vineyard.

 

Eiswein

(German) Sweet wine made from frozen grapes.

 

Elaborado (por)

(Spanish) Produced (by).

 

Elevé en fûts de chêne

(French) Aged in oak barrels.

 

Embotellado (por)

(Spanish) Bottled (by).

 

En Primeur

(French) Wines, especially from Bordeaux, that are sold before they are bottled.

 

Erzeugerabfullung

(German) Estate-bottled.

 

Estate

A producer who makes wine from grapes grown on their property only.

 

Estufagem

(Portuguese) Heating process used in the production of Madeira, to caramelise the sugars in the wines.

 

Ethanol

See Alcohol.

 

Extra-Sec

(French) Off-dry (sparkling wines).

 

Fattoria

(Italian) Estate.

 

Federspiel

(German) In the Wachau, a category lying in between Steinfeder and Smaragd (q.v.).

 

Feints

The tails (q.v.). Fraction of the second distillation of Scotch malt whisky.

 

Fermentation

The conversion, by the action of yeast enzymes of sugar to alcohol.

 

Fermentazione naturale

(Italian) A naturally produced sparkle in a wine.

 

Fining

Removal of matter in suspension in a wine by the addition of a fining agent such as bentonite (q.v.), which acts as a coagulant. Occasionally animal products are used, making such wines unsuitable for vegetarians, although none of the fining agent remains in the wine.

 

Fixed acidity

The acidity in wine detectable only on the palate (cf. volatile acidity [q.v.]), composed of tartaric, malic and lactic acids.

 

Flor

(Spanish) Yeast growth which forms particularly on the surface of Fino and Manzanilla Sherries, giving them a distinctive taste and protecting them from oxidation.

 

Foreshots

The heads (q.v.) fraction of the second distillation of Scotch malt whisky.

 

Frizzante

(Italian) Slightly sparkling.

 

Fusel oils

Toxic by-products of distillation, containing long-chain hydrocarbons, removed as part of the tails (q.v.).

 

Garrafeira

(Portuguese) A superior wine with additional ageing.

 

Gemeind

(German) A commune.

 

Gônc

Traditional cask, used in Hungary for ageing Tokaji.

 

Governo

(Italian) Vini?cation technique, occasionally used in the production of Chianti, in which a small quantity of semi-dried grapes or concentrated must is added to the wine after fermentation to induce a slight secondary fermentation, increasing the glycerine content of the wine.

 

Graft

The union of a small piece of one plant, including a bud (the scion [q.v.]) on to a supporting rootstock (q.v.). In viticulture the most important use is the grafting of a V. vinifera scion on to a rootstock having some American parentage and thus tolerant of phylloxera.

 

Grains Nobles (Sélection de…),

(French) Botrytis-affected grapes (wine made using a selection of nobly rotten grapes). This is a legal description in Alsace, but the phrase may occasionally be seen on wines from other regions, such as Condrieu, Mâcon and Côteaux du Layon.

 

Gran Reserva

(Spanish) A wine that has seen long ageing in cask and bottle. Minimum periods are set by law and vary from one region to another.

 

Granvas

(Spanish) Tank-fermented sparkling wine.

 

Green malt

Grains of barley which have been soaked and which have started to germinate, converting the stored starch into sugar. When dried in a kiln, green malt becomes malt (q.v.).

 

Grey rot

Malevolent form of Botrytis cinerea (q.v.), affecting unripe berries or black grapes, causing off-flavours and lack of colour.

 

Grist

Ground grains, such as barley.

 

Grosslage

(German) A group of adjoining vineyards. Not to be confused with Einzellage.

 

Gyropalette

(French) Hydraulically operated, computer-controlled racks for mechanical remuage (q.v.).

 

Habillage

(French) The dressing (foil etc.) that a bottle of sparkling wine receives before it is dispatched from the winery.

 

Halbtrocken

(German) Off-dry.

 

Head grafting

A process that allows an established vineyard of one variety to be grafted over to another, more profitable variety, without having to grub up and replant.

 

Heads

The first ‘fraction’ to be vaporised during distillation: containing, in addition to ethanol, volatile and toxic compounds such as methanol.

 

Hybrid

A vine variety resulting from the cross-pollination of two vines of different species, usually one V. vinifera and one of American origin to breed in tolerance of phylloxera. Also called interspecific crossing.

 

Imbottigliato all’origine

(Italian) Estate-bottled.

 

Invecchiato

(Italian) Aged.

 

Irrigation

The supply of water to the vine by means of artificial canals, Flooding, overhead sprays or drip systems on individual vines. Until recently, this was forbidden in EU vineyards except for young vines not in production, and experimental vineyards. It is used widely elsewhere.

 

Kabinett

(German) German QmP category, indicating wine made without chaptalisation from grapes harvested at ordinary ripeness.

 

Lagar

(Portuguese, Spanish) Trough, generally made of stone or concrete, used for treading grapes. Superseded in most regions by more modern methods, but still occasionally used in the Douro.

 

Lees

The sediment of dead yeast cells that gathers at the bottom of the tank or cask once fermentation is completed.

 

Lees stirring

A process of mixing the lees (q.v.) with the wine, usually in cask, to help extract components that will give the wine extra flavour and body.

 

Lieu Dit

(French) A named vineyard site not of Premier Cru or Grand Cru status.

 

Limestone

A sedimentary rock consisting mainly of calcium carbonate. Its drainage, and water-retention properties make it particularly suitable for viticulture. The calcium content inhibits the uptake of acid-neutralising potassium, thereby helping grapes retain their acid.

 

Liqueur d’expédition

(French) Final adjustment to the sweetness of sparkling wine prior to corking. Also called dosage

 

Liqueur de tirage

(French) Mixture of wine, sugar and yeast added to still wine to promote a secondary fermentation in sparkling wine production.

 

Liquoreux

(French) Very sweet, especially botrytis-affected wines.

 

Liquoroso

(Italian) Strong, often fortified, wine.

 

Loess

Literally, ‘loose’. A very fine, wind-blown deposit of silt, or sand and silt. Like clay soils (q.v.), they have a high capacity for retaining water.

 

Low-wines

The water-white liquid with an alcoholic content of around 30% abv which results from the first distillation of Scotch malt whisky. Cf. brouillis (q.v.).

 

Lutte raisonnée

(French) A form of viticulture that, although not organic, attempts to avoid unnecessary systematic use of synthetic chemicals.

 

Millésime

(French) Vintage date.

 

Mise en bouteille (par)

(French) Bottled (by)

 

Mise en bouteille au chateau/domaine

(French) Château/domain-bottled.

 

Mise sur lie

(French) Bottled on its lees.

 

Mistelle, Mistela

(French, Spanish) A mixture of unfermented grape juice and alcohol.

 

Moelleux

(French) Medium-sweet.

 

Monopole

(French) A vineyard, especially in Burgundy, that has only one owner.

 

Mosto Cotto

(Italian) Reduced, concentrated grape must, used as a sweetening agent.

 

Mousseux

(French) Sparkling.

 

Muffa nobile

(Italian) Noble rot (q.v.).

 

Must

Unfermented grape juice, destined to become wine.

 

Must enrichment

The addition of sugar or rectified concentrated must to grape juice prior to fermentation to increase the final alcoholic content of the wine. Strict controls govern its use (cf. chaptalisation).

 

Must weight

Density, or specific gravity, of grape juice prior to fermentation. Measurement of the must weight enables the winemaker to estimate the ?nal alcoholic content of the wine.

 

Négociant

(French) Merchant (q.v.).

 

Noble rot

Benevolent form of Botrytis cinerea (q.v.) which concentrates the sugars of ripe grapes, facilitating the production of the ?nest sweet wines.

 

Non-Filtré

(French) Unfiltered.

 

Oechsle

German scale for measuring must weight (q.v.).

 

Oidium

Powdery mildew (q.v.).

 

Organic

A wine made from organically farmed grapes; that is, one where synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilisers have not been used.

 

Overproof

Most commonly used of Rum. Any spirit that is higher in alcohol than proof spirit (q.v.).

 

Passérillee

(French) Grapes that have begun to shrivel on the vine, resulting in a concentration of sugars.

 

Passito

(Italian) A generally strong, sweet wine made from partially dried grapes.

 

Peronospera

Downy mildew (q.v.).

 

Pétillant

(French) Lightly sparkling.

 

Petit château

(French) In Bordeaux, one of the many château brands that fall outside the classifications.

 

Photosynthesis

The conversion of carbon dioxide and water to usable organic compounds, especially carbohydrates, by plants, using light energy absorbed by the green chlorophyll in the leaves.

 

Phylloxera vastatrix

The most serious insect pest of the vine. It feeds on its roots and, in the case of European V. vinifera, will kill it. There is no known way of eradicating the louse, but its effect can be stopped by grafting the V. vinifera scion (q.v.) on to American rootstock.

 

Pipe

Traditional cask (q.v.) used in the Douro for Port production. Two sizes are recognised, the 550-litre production, or Douro, pipe and the 534-litre shipping pipe.

 

Podere

(Italian) A small estate.

 

Pourriture noble

(French) Noble rot.

 

Powdery mildew

Fungus which attacks the vine, initially appearing as ?oury white dust on the leaves and grapes, eventually causing the grapes to split. Also known as Oidium.

 

Prädikat

(German) The various subcategories of German Quality wines (Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese, as well as Eiswein). Austria adds the category Ausbruch, but does not include Kabinett.

 

Primary aromas

Aromas in a wine that arise directly from the fruit (q.v. secondary, tertiary).

 

Produttore

(Italian) Producer.

 

Propriétaire

(French) Owner.

 

Pruning

Removal of unwanted parts of the vine, mostly wood that is one year old, or less, in order to regulate the yield and control the vine’s shape. The main pruning, usually carried out by hand, is during the vine’s dormant period in the winter.

 

Pupitre

(French) Rack consisting of two hinged boards through which holes have been bored to hold the necks of sparkling wine bottles during remuage (q.v.).

 

Puttunyos

Measure of sweetness in a Tokaji wine.

 

Maceration

Period of time when the skins are in contact with the fermenting must during red wine vinification.

 

Malolactic fermentation

Conversion of harsh malic acid into softer lactic acid by the action of lactic bacteria.

 

Malt

Barley which has undergone the malting process of soaking, germination and kilning to convert the starch present in the original grain into fermentable sugar.

 

Manipulant

(French) A grape-grower who also makes wine, especially in Champagne.

 

Marc

(French) 1. The residue of skins pips and stalks left in a press after the extraction of juice or wine. In English, this is called pomace. 2. The name given to one charge of a traditional vertical press, especially in Champagne.

 

Mas

(French) Vineyard

 

Mash bill

The mix of grains in a whisky.

 

Maso, Masseria

(Italian) Estate.

 

Merchant

  1. A company that buys grapes or finished wine for vinification, maturation and blending before sale. 2. A wine dealer

 

Mesoclimate

Site climate (q.v.).

 

Metodo charmat

(Italian) Tank-method sparkling wine.

 

Metodo classico, metodo tradizionale

(Italian) Traditional method, bottle-fermented sparkling wine.

 

Micro-climate

  1. The climate within the canopy of the vine. 2. Used informally to refer to the site Quinta

(Portuguese) Farm or estate.

 

Racking

Drawing off clear wine from a cask or vat and moving it to another, leaving the sediment behind.

 

Raisin

(French) Grape.

 

Recioto

(Italian) Similar to passito (q.v.), made with part-dried grapes.

 

Récoltant

(French) Someone who harvests their own grapes.

 

Récolte

(French) Vintage or harvest.

 

Rectifier

The second column of a Coffey or patent still, in which the alcohol rich vapour from the analyser (q.v.) is condensed to form spirit, while heating the cold wash. Heads and tails are removed here.

 

Refractometer

Hand-held instrument consisting of a prism and a series of lenses used for gauging the must weight (q.v.) of grape juice to assess the ripeness of the fruit.

 

Remuage

(French) ‘Riddling’. Moving the sediment to the neck of the bottle prior to dégorgement (q.v.) in traditional method sparkling wine production.

 

Reserva

(Portuguese, Spanish) For Spanish DO and DOC wines this indicates ageing in cask and bottle for legally de?ned minimum periods. For other wines, such as those of Chile, it has no legal meaning.

 

Reserve

May indicate a superior quality wine, or wines that have seen a period of ageing. Or it may indicate very little. This word has no legal meaning.

 

Residual sugar

Unfermented sugar remaining in the wine after bottling. Even dry wines will contain a small amount.

 

Rich

(French) Sweet (sparkling wines).

 

Riserva

(Italian) Reserve, for DOC wines, one that has been aged in cask and/or bottle for a particular length of time.

 

Rootstock

Phylloxera-resistant or tolerant vine, usually with some American parentage, on to which a V. vinifera scion is usually grafted. (Rootstocks may be selected to achieve other effects, such as lime-, or nematode-resistance, or to increase or decrease yields.)

 

Rosado

(Spanish) Rosé.

 

Rosato

(Italian) Rosé.

 

Rosso

(Italian) Red.

 

Rouge

(French) Red.

 

Scion

Section of plant material grafted on to a rootstock. For wine making, this will be V. vinifera grafted on to American rootstock (q.v.).

 

Sec

(French) Dry.

 

Secco

(Italian) Dry.

 

Seco

(Portuguese, Spanish) Dry.

 

Secondary aromas

Aromas in a wine that arise from the fermentation (q.v. primary, tertiary aromas).

 

Selection

(German) A German category for quality dry wines from single vineyard sites.

 

Semisecco

(Italian) Medium-dry.

 

Semi-seco

(Spanish) Medium-dry.

 

Single cask

Particularly of Malt Whiskies, a spirit that is not a blend of several casks. These are often bottled unfiltered, at cask strength (q.v.).

 

Site climate

The climate of a plot of vines, perhaps a vineyard, or part of a vineyard.

 

Smaragd

(German) In the Wachau (Austria), rich, full-bodied dry wines from late-harvested grapes.

 

Solera

System of fractional blending used in the production of Sherry, wherein older wine is refreshed by the addition of younger wine.

 

Spätlese

(German) German quality wine category, indicating a wine made without chaptalisation from late-harvested grapes.

 

Spumante

(Italian) Sparkling wine made by any method.

 

Spur

A short cane (q.v.) of one-year-old wood with two or three buds.

 

Steinfeder

(German) In the Wachau (Austria), the lightest bodied wine category for dry wines.

 

Straight Whiskey

  1. A whiskey made from at least 51 per cent of one grain, distilled to no more than 80% abv, and aged for a minimum of two years in new oak casks.

 

Stravecchio

(Italian) Very old, particularly of Marsala and spirits.

 

Strohwein, Schilfwein

(German) Sweet wine made from grapes that have been dried on straw or reed mats.

 

Sulphur dioxide (SO2)

Highly reactive and pungent gas which is used in winemaking as an anti-oxidant and antiseptic. May be added to wines and musts as gas in the form of metabisulphite (solid) or produced in an empty cask by burning a sulphur candle (additive E220).

 

Super Second

Bordeaux Châteaux that were second (or third) growths in the 1855 Classification, but which sometimes produce wines that rival the first growths for quality. Which châteaux qualify is a matter of debate.

 

Supérieur

(French) Indicates a higher degree of alcohol.

 

Superiore

(Italian) Superior. For DOC wines this may mean that it came from the best vineyards within the region, had been aged longer or had a higher degree of alcohol.

 

Sur lie

(French) A wine that is aged on its lees (q.v.).

 

Sur Pointe

(French) Ageing of a bottle of sparkling wine, neck down, after yeast autolysis is complete, but before disgorgement.

 

Süss

(German) Sweet.

 

Süssreserve

(German) Unfermented, sterile grape must added to dry wine prior to bottling to increase sweetness and balance excess acidity. Not to be confused with must enrichment (q.v.).

 

Systemic fungicides

Chemicals used to combat fungal diseases of the vine by being absorbed into its tissues, rather than remaining on the surface.

 

Szamorodni (Hungary)

As it comes’. Wine made from grapes that have not been sorted according to their degree of botrytis.

 

Száraz (Hungary)

Dry.

 

Taille

(French) 1. Pruning. 2. The juice resulting from the second pressing of grapes in Champagne.

 

Tails

The third fraction collected during distillation, containing ethanol and a number of less volatile compounds, many of which are toxic.

 

Tannin

Chemical compound present in the skins, stalks and pips of grapes which is extracted during red wine vinification. Tannin is a preservative in red wine, giving a dry sensation on the gums when present.

 

Tartaric acid

The acid responsible for most of a wine’s acidity. Detectable only on the palate. May be added to wines lacking acidity in warm vineyard regions.

 

Tenuta

(Italian) Estate.

 

Terroir

(French) A sense of place expressed in a wine, which may include the effects of climate, site climate, soils, aspect, slope, and even local grape varieties, yeast cultures and winemaking practices.

 

Tertiary aromas

Aromas in a wine that are due to the effects of ageing (q.v. primary, secondary aromas).

 

Tinto

(Portuguese, Spanish) Red.

 

Tonneau

(French) 900 litres. A unit of volume used in the Bordeaux trade, equal to 100 cases of twelve 75cl bottles of wine.

 

Trellis

Any manmade system of support for the vine, usually consisting of posts and wires.

 

Tri (pl. Tries)

(French) A selection of grapes, especially those grapes picked during one passage through a vineyard, selected at the perfect level of ripeness for sweet wines.

 

Triage

(French) Process of sorting grapes according to quality before winemaking.

 

Trocken

(German) Dry.

 

Trockenbeerenauslese

(German) The sweetest category of German quality wine.

 

Uva

(Italian) Grape.

 

Uvaggio

(Italian) Blend of grapes.

 

Vara y Pulgar

(Spanish) A system of vine pruning used in Jerez.

 

Vecchio

(Italian) Old. For DOC wines there are controls as to how this word may be used.

 

Vendange

(French) The wine harvest.

 

Vendangé à la main

(French) Hand-harvested.

 

Vendange Tardive, VT

(French) Late-harvest. A wine made with exceptionally ripe grapes.

 

Vendemmia

(Italian) Vintage.

 

Vendimia

(Spanish) Vintage.

 

Véraison

(French) The moment when a grape begins to change colour.

 

Vieilles vignes

(French) Old vines. Not a legally defined term.

 

Viejo

(Spanish) Old.

 

Vigna, vigneto

(Italian) Vineyard.

 

Vignoble

(French) Vineyard.

Vin

(French) Wine.

 

Vin de paille

(French) Wine made from grapes that have been dried.

 

Vin de rebèche

(French) Any juice remaining in the grapes after the extraction of the taille (q.v.) in Champagne. It must be distilled and cannot be made into wine.

 

Viña

(Spanish) Vineyard.

 

Vine/grape variety

One of a number of recognisable members of a particular vine species. They may result from natural mutation or deliberate crossing (q.v.).

 

Vine species

Any of the members of the genus Vitis. Most wine is made from European species, Vitis vinifera, but using American rootstocks from the species V. rupestris or V. riparia.

 

Vinha

(Portuguese) A plot of vines.

 

Vinho

(Portuguese) Wine.

 

Vinification

Winemaking.

 

Vino

(Spanish, Italian) Wine.

 

Vino generoso

(Spanish) Fortified wine.

 

Vino novello

(Italian) New wine, bottled shortly after the harvest.

 

Viticoltore, Vigniaiolo

(Italian) Grower.

 

Viticulture

Grape growing.

 

Vitigno

(Italian) Grape variety.

 

Vivace

(Italian) ‘Lively’. Slightly sparkling.

 

Volatile acidity

Acetic acid (q.v.) in a wine. A small amount exists in all wines and is an important part of the aroma or bouquet. Excessive amounts indicate a faulty wine.

 

Wash

Any alcoholic liquid resulting from fermentation which is destined to be distilled.

Winzergenossenschaft

(German) Co-operative cellar.

 

Wort

The sweet liquid resulting from the extraction of sugar from malt, which is fermented to give wash (q.v.) in whisky production.

 

Yeast

Generic term for a number of single-celled micro-organisms which produce zymase, the enzyme responsible for converting sugar into alcohol. The most important wine yeast is Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

 

Yeast autolysis

Breakdown of dead yeast cells after the secondary fermentation in sparkling wine production. Among other things, it gives the wine a yeasty, or biscuit-y, nose.

 

Courtesy of Wine & Spirits Education Trust

 

Image credit: Wines2review