A quick guide to some common wine vocabulary. I did not rely on one source because definitions seemed to vary. Definitions are not complete in all cases…this is a cheat sheet after all. More info can be found if you follow the links.
Tasting Characteristics: Fruit, Sweetness, Tannins, Acidity and Boldness
- Fruit – generally the main characteristic of wine. Red – tend to be dark fruit flavors such as raspberry, blueberry and blackberry. White – tend to have lemon, lime, peach and yellow apple. http://winefolly.com/review/wine-characteristics/
- Sweetness – The amount of residual sugar in the wine. Wines range from bone dry (little to no residual sugar) to very sweet. Follow this link to a wine sweetness chart http://winefolly.com/tutorial/wine-sweetness-chart/
- Tannins – Bitter component to wine resulting from phenolic compounds. The compounds come from grape skins, seeds stems and woods (generally oak). These are also the antioxidant that you hear so much about. Tannins also help with aging of wine. https://vinepair.com/wine-101/guide-to-tannins/ , http://winefolly.com/review/wine-characteristics/
- Acidity – Wines are generally acidic. The most common acids that are found are tartaric, malic and citric acids. Acids give crispness to the palate. http://winefolly.com/review/understanding-acidity-in-wine/ , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acids_in_wine , http://www.totalwine.com/wine-guide/wine-acidity-crispness
- Body – Overall impression of wine but most closely related to alcohol content. High alcohol (greater than 13.5%) are considered full body. Low body wines have alcohol lower than 12.5%. https://vinepair.com/wine-101/wine-body-guide/ , http://winefolly.com/review/wine-characteristics/
Terrior – The environmental condition, especially the soil and climate, in which grapes are grown and give the wine a unique flavor. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/terroir , https://vinepair.com/wine-101/terroir-wine-guide/
Old World Wines – Generally wine made in Europe but could also include wine making regions that surround the Mediterranean sea.
New World Wines – Everywhere that is not covered by Europe or close to the Mediterranean. Most often the regions are the US, Australia, Chile and Argentina.
Negociant – A merchant that purchases grapes, bulk juice or finished wines from other vineyards. They can bottle the wine as is or blend it with other wines and sells it under their own brand. https://www.winefrog.com/definition/147/negociant
Viticulture – The science, production and study of grapes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viticulture
Bulk Juice (Bulk Wine Juice) – Wine shipped in containers (ISO, Flexitanks, etc) rather than bottles. http://ibwsshow.com/blog/an-insiders-guide-to-the-us-bulk-wine-market/
Bordeaux style red – Blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petite Verdot grapes produced in the Bordeaux region of France. http://www.winespectator.com/drvinny/show/id/47952
Bordeaux style white (Bordeaux Blanc) – Blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle produced in the Bordeaux region of France. http://www.winespectator.com/drvinny/show/id/47952
Burgundy style red – Pinot Noir produced in the Burgundy region of France
Burgundy style white – Chardonnay produced in the Burgundy region of France
Rhone style red – Its complicated….. Northern Rhone region – Syrah (may have some white varietals blended in), Southern Rhone – up to 13 varietals including but major components are Grenache and Syrah (may have some white varietals blended in). https://www.thewinecellarinsider.com/wine-topics/wine-educational-questions/grapes-for-wine-making-flavor-characteristics-explained/guide-to-rhone-valley-wine-grapes-for-red-and-white-wine/
Rhone style white – Blend composed of two or more Rhone varietals, including but not limited to, Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, Clairette and Bourboulenc. https://www.winemag.com/varietals/rhone-style-white-blend/
Provence – Region in the south of France that is famous for producing Rose.
Beaujolais – A Region in France that is north of Lyon but governed under Burgundy wine making laws. The region is known for producing red wine from Gamay grapes.
Grand Vin – marketing term that is not regulated. It’s a way for the Chateau to say its their best wine and mark up the price. http://www.winespectator.com/drvinny/show/id/42975
Appellation – a geographical name (as of a region, village, or vineyard) under which a winegrower is authorized to identify and market wine.
Mis un Bouteille Chateau – Bottled at the Chateau
Terra Vitis – environmental certification and is to be found in all the vine growing regions of France. Recognised by the French Ministry of Agriculture, Terra Vitis certification has been awarded the equivalence of level 2 environmental certification. https://terravitis.com/presentation/?lang=en
Bordeaux Superieur – Appellation that covers the entire Bordeaux region. However, regulations are stricter than Bordeaux: requires aging of at least 10 months, slightly higher alcohol levels and lower yield per hectare https://www.vivino.com/wine-regions/bordeaux-superieur https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regional_Bordeaux_AOCs
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