Wine Types and Terms

Wine Terms - Acidity to Sec

ACIDITY:  Acidity is the word normally used to indicate the quality of tartness or sharpness to the taste, the presence of agreeable fruit acids, an important favorable element in wine quality. Not to be confused with sourness (see "sour") or with dryness or astringency.

APERITIF WINE:  Aperitif is a French word for an appetizer, a drink taken before meals to stimulate the appetite, but in the United States the term" aperitif wine," as distinguished from" appetizer wine," usually refers to Vermouths and other wines of the appetizer class which are especially flavored with herbs and other aromatic substances.

AROMA:  That part of the fragrance of wine which originates from the grapes used, as distinguished from" bouquet."

ASTRINGENCY:  The quality of causing the mouth to pucker. Moderate astringency is a desirable quality in many wine types, demanded by many consumers. Not to be confused with dryness. Never call an astringent wine "sour."

BODY:  Consistency, thickness or substance of a wine, as opposed to the lack of body in a thin wine.

BOUQUET:  That part of the fragrance of the wine which originated from fermentation and aging, as distinguished from" aroma", the fragrance of the grape.

BRUT:  Driest of the dry in sparkling wine. No sugar is left after fermentation and no sugar is added.

CAVE (OR CELLAR):  A storage place for wine, which must have an even temperature, a fairly constant coolness, humidity, and ventilation.

CHATEAU BOTTLED:  Wine that has been made and bottled on the estate where it was grown.

CLOS:  A vineyard.

CRU:  A vineyard or growth.

CUVEE:  Usually refers to an especially prepared blend of wines, such as a blend of still wines before secondary fermentation to produce champagne.

DECANT:  To pour wine gently from the bottle in which crust or sediment has deposited, for the purpose of obtaining clear wine for serving.

DEMI-SEC or SEMI-DRY:  In the United States this term is used to describe a fairly sweet sparkling wine.

DRY:  The opposite of sweet: free of sugar. Dryness should not be confused with astringency, acidity, tartness or sourness. It simply means lacking in sweetness. The wines which uninformed individuals are apt to call "sour" are dry or tart, made with these flavor characteristics especially to blend with the flavors of main course foods. (A Champagne or Sherry labeled "dry" is actually semi-dry, and even an "extra dry" Champagne still may be slightly sweet. Really dry Champagne is labeled "brut" or "nature"; the driest Sherries are labeled "extra dry").

EXTRA DRY:  In Champagne, slightly less dry than brut.

FRUITY:  Having the fragrance and flavor of a familiar fruit, e.g. melon or blackberry.

MELLOW:  Soft in taste.

NEGOCIANT:  A shipper of wine. French wine labels usually carry a shipper's name and his geographical location.

NUTTY:  English term denoting the characteristic pungent flavor of Sherry. The result of oxidation in wine.

PROPRIETAIRE:  An owner of a vineyard.

SEC:  In other wines than Champagne, denotes a dry wine.


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