Red Wine Glossary of Terms Help Guide You in the World of Red Wine
Red Wine Home's red wine glossary of terms is extensive and has been gathered through Wikipedia. Thank you Wikipedia. The review of the glossary will allow you to focus on definitions for terms with a focus on red wine.
Go to: A - C, D - L, M - S, T - V, W - Z
Red Wine Glossary - A
Acescence - Wine with a sharp, sweet-and-sour tang can be described as having acescence. The acescence characteristics frequently recalls a vinegary smell.
Adega - Portuguese wine term for a winery or wine cellar.
Amontillado - Best described as a matured Fino. After the flor dies, the yeast sinks to the bottom of the wine and is no longer able to protect the Sherry from oxidation. The now unprotected Sherry begins to take on a rich and deep nutty flavor, and can now be described as Amontillado.
Anbaugebiet - A German wine region. Anbaugebiet are further divided into bereiche or districts.
Aperitif - A wine that is either drunk by itself (i.e. without food) or before a meal in order to stimulate the appetite.
Ausbruch - Austrian term originally referring to the aszú production method of mixing grapes affected by noble rot with a fermenting base wine. Today a Prädikat in Austria, intermediate between Beerenauslese and Trockenbeerenauslese.
Auslese - German for "select harvest", a Prädikat in Germany and Austria.
Red Wine Glossary - B
Bottle - A bottle is a small container with a neck that is narrower than the body and a "mouth." Modern wine bottles are nearly always made of glass because it is nonporous, strong, and aesthetically pleasing.
Brawny - Taste descriptor for hefty, Herculean red wines usually young and full-bodied. The strength of brawny reds does not equate eloquence.
Breathing - The interaction between air and wine after a wine has been opened. Breathing may take place while the wine is decanting.
Red Wine Glossary - C
Cane Pruning - Cane pruning is when one or two canes from a vine's previous year's growth are cut back to six to fifteen buds which will be the coming growing seasons grape producers.
Cantina - Italian term for winery.
Capsule - The plastic or foil that covers the cork and part of the neck of a wine bottle.
Cellar Door - The area of the winery where point of sale purchases occur. This can be a tasting room or a separate sales area.
Cépage - French term for grape variety. When it appears on a wine label it will usually refer to the varietals used to make the wine.
Chaptalization - The practice of adding sugar to the grape must prior to fermenting, to compensate for low sugar content in the grapes.
Château - Generally a winery in Bordeaux, although the term is sometimes used for wineries in other parts of the world, such as the Barossa Valley.
Clairet - A French term for a wine that falls between the range of a light red wine and a dark rosé
Claret - British name for Bordeaux wine. Is also a semi-generic term for a red wine in similar style to that of Bordeaux.
Coates Law of Maturity - A principle relating to the aging ability of wine that states that a wine will remain at its peak (or optimal) drinking quality for as long as it took to reach the point of maturity. For example, if a wine is drinking at its peak at 1 year of age, it will continue drinking at its peak for another year.
Commercial Wine - A mass produce wine aimed for the wide market of wine drinkers made according to a set formula, year after year. These wines tend to emphasis broad appeal and easy drink-ability rather than terroir or craftsmanship.
Cordon Training - A method of vine training. Unlike cane pruning where the trunk itself is the only permanent, inflexible piece of the vine, cordon trained vines have one or two woody arms extending from the top of the trunk. These are then spur pruned.
Corkscrew - A tool, comprising a pointed metallic helix attached to a handle, for drawing Corks from bottles.
Côtes - French term for the hillside or slopes of one contiguous hill region.
Coteaux - French term for the hillside or slopes of a hill region that is not contiguous.
Country Wine - A quality level intermediate between table wine and quality wine, which in France is known as vin de pays and in Italy as Indicazione Geografica Tipica (IGT) . Also a synonym for Fruit wine.
Cru - A French term that literally means "growth". May refer to a vineyard or a winery.
Cru Bourgeois - A classification of Bordeaux wine estates in the Medoc that were not part of the originally 1855 Bordeaux classification.
Cru Classé - A French term for an officially classified vineyard or winery.
Cult wines - Wines for which committed buyers will pay large sums of money because of their desirability and rarity.
Red Wine Glossary - D
Decanting - The process of pouring wine from its bottle into a decanter to separate the sediment from the wine.
Drip Dickey - Trademarked name for a cover that slips over the neck of a wine bottle and absorbs any drips that may run down the bottle after pouring, preventing stains to table cloths, counter tops or other surfaces. The generic term is drip cloth.
Red Wine Glossary - E
En Primeur - A system commonly associated with Bordeaux wine where the previous year's harvest is available for contract sales several months before the wine will be bottled and release.
Entry-Level Wine - The wine from a producer's portfolio that is the lowest cost for purchase and offers the most basic quality.
Estate Winery - A United States winery license allowing farms to produce and sell wine on-site, sometimes known as a farm winery.
Red Wine Glossary - F
Fine Wine - The highest category of wine quality, representing only a very small percentage of worldwide production of wine.
Flying Winemaker - A winemaker who travels extensively across the globe, sharing techniques and technology from one region of the world to another. The term originated with Australian winemakers who would fly to Northern Hemisphere wine regions in Europe and the United States during the August-October harvest time when viticulture in the Southern Hemisphere is relatively quiet.
Fortified Wine - Wine to which alcohol has been added, generally to increase the concentration to a high enough level to prevent fermentation.
French Paradox - An 1991 episode of the American news program 60 Minutes that documented the low mortality rate from cardiovascular disease among the French who had a high-alcohol, high-cholesterol and low exercise lifestyle in contrast to the high mortality rate among Americans with a relatively lower cholesterol, low alcohol and more exercise lifestyle.
Red Wine Glossary - G
Globalization of Wine - Refers to the increasingly international nature of the wine industry, including vineyard management practices, winemaking techniques, wine styles, and wine marketing.
Grand Cru - French term for a "Great growth" or vineyard. In Burgundy, the term is regulated to a define list of Grand cru vineyards.
Grand Vin - French term most often associated with Bordeaux where it denotes a Chateau's premier wine, or "first wine". On a wine label, the word's Grand vin may appear to help distinguish the wine from an estate's second or third wine.
Grosslage - A German designation for a cluster of vineyards within a Bereich.
Red Wine Glossary - H
Hock - Term for Rhine wines, usually used in England.
Horizontal Wine Tasting - A tasting of a group of wines from the same vintage or representing the same style of wine (such as all Pinot noirs from different wineries in a region), as opposed to a vertical tasting which involves of the same wine through different vintages. In a horizontal tasting, keeping wine variety or type and wine region the same helps emphasize differences in winery styles.
Red Wine Glossary - I
International variety - Grape varieties grown in nearly every major wine region, for example Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot
Red Wine Glossary - J
Jeroboam - A large bottle holding three litres, the equivalent of four regular wine bottles.
Jug Wine - American term for inexpensive table wine (French: Vin de table).
Red Wine Glossary - L
Landwein - German term for a wine slightly above table wines (tafelwine). Similar to a French vin de pays wine.
Late Harvest Wine - Also known as late picked, wine made from grapes that have been left on the vine longer than usual. Usually an indicator for a very sweet or dessert wine.
Lieu-Dit - French term for a named vineyard site. Usually used in the context of describing individual vineyards below Grand cru status.
Red Wine Glossary - M
Master of Wine - A qualification (not an academic degree) conferred by The Institute of Masters of Wine, which is located in the United Kingdom.
Meritage - Originally created in California, these blended wines can be summed up as the "American Bordeaux". The term is a blend of the words "merit" and "heritage" and pronounced the same. The Red blend is made from at least 2 of the 5 Bordeaux grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec. The White Meritage is a blend at least 2 of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Vert, and Semillon.
Red Wine Glossary - N
New World Wine - Wines produced outside of the traditional wine growing areas of Europe and North Africa.
Noble Rot - A fungal virus brought on by Botrytis cinerea that results in dehydrated and shrivelled grapes that are high in concentrated sugar. Noble Rot grapes are an essential component of many Austrian and German wines.
Nose - The aroma or bouquet of a wine.
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Red Wine Glossary - O
Oenophile - A wine aficionado or connoisseur.
Oenology - The study of aspects of wine and winemaking.
Old World Wine - Wines produced inside of the traditional wine growing areas of Europe and North Africa.
Organoleptic - A winetasting term for anything that affects one of the main senses such as smell. An example would be an affliction of the common cold or being in a room with someone wearing an overwhelming amount of perfume.
Red Wine Glossary - P
Petit Château - A Bordeaux wine estate that doesn't have any official designation of classification.
Plan Bordeaux - A proposal for enhancing the economic status of the wine industry in Bordeaux.
Plonk - British English slang for an inexpensive bottle of wine. The term is thought to originate from the French word for white wine, "blanc".
Prädikat - A wine designation for high quality used in Germany and Austria, based on grape ripeness and must weight. There are several Prädikate ranging from Kabinett (Spätlese in Austria) to Trockenbeerenauslese.
Prädikatswein - The highest class of wine in the German wine classification, formerly called Qualitätswein mit Prädikat. These wines always display a specific Prädikat on their label.
Premier Cru - French term for a "First growth". Used mostly in conjunction with the wines of Burgundy and Champagne where the term is regulated.
Premium Wines - A subjective term to describe a higher quality classification of wine above every day drinking table wines. While premium wines maybe very expensive there is no set price point that distinguishes when a wine becomes a "premium wine". Premium wines generally have more aging potential than every day quaffing wines.
Punt - The indentation found in the base of a wine bottle. Punt depth is often thought to be related to wine quality, with better quality wines having a deeper punt.
Red Wine Glossary - Q
Qualitätswein Mit Prädikat (QmP) - A former designation of the best quality German wines, since 2007 shortened to Prädikatswein.
Quality-Price Ratio (QPR) - A designation for rating wine based on the ratio of its quality and its price. The higher quality and less expensive price a wine has, the better the ratio.
Quaffing Wine - A simple, everyday drinking wine
Quinta - Portuguese term for a wine estate.
Red Wine Glossary - R
Redox - A term describing the reductive-oxidative way that wine ages. As one part gains oxygen and becomes oxidized, another part loses oxygen and becomes reduced. Early in its life, a wine will exhibit oxidative aromas and traits due to the relatively recent influence and exposure of oxygen when the wine was barrel aged and/or bottled. As the wine ages and is shut off from a supply of oxygen in the bottle, a mature wine will develop reductive characteristics.
Reserva - Spanish and Portuguese term for a reserve wine.
Reserve - A term given to wine to indicate that it is of higher quality than usual.
Ripasso - Describes the brilliant addition of slight Amarone flavor to Valpolicella wine by allowing the Valpolicella to pass over the drained must of an Amarone on its way to secondary refermentation.
Red Wine Glossary - S
Sangria - A tart punch made from red wine along with orange, lemon and apricot juice with added sugar.
Semi-Generic - Wines made in the United States but named after places that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau requires be modified by a US name of geographic origin. Examples would be New York Chablis, Napa Valley Burgundy or California Champagne.
Sherry - A fortified wine that has been subjected to controlled oxidation to produce a distinctive flavor.
Sommelier - A wine expert who often works in restaurants.
Soutirage - French term for racking.
Spätlese - German for "late harvest". A Prädikat in Germany and Austria.
Super Seconds - A term used in relation to lower classified Bordeaux wine estates that come close in quality to the First Growth Bordeaux estates.
Super Tuscans - A style of Italian wine that became popular in Tuscany in the late 20th century where premium quality wines were produced outside of DOC regulations and sold for high prices with the low level vino da tavola designation.
Red Wine Glossary - T
Table Wine - Generally any wine that is not sparkling or fortified. In the US these wines must also be between 7% and 14% alcohol by volume. The term table wine is also used to describe a wine that is considered a good, everyday drinker.
Tafelwein - German term for table wine.
Tasting Flight - Refers to a selection of wines, usually between three and eight glasses, but sometimes as many as fifty, presented for the purpose of sampling and comparison.
Trocken - German for "dry".
Trockenbeerenauslese - A German term meaning approximately "harvest of selected dry berries". A type of German wine made from grapes affected by noble rot. Such grapes can be so rare that it can take a skilled picker a day to gather enough for just one bottle. A Prädikat in Germany and Austria.
Typicity - A term used to describe how well a wine reflects the characteristics of its grape variety and terroir
Red Wine Glossary - U
Ullage - The space between the wine and the top of a wine bottle. As a wine ages, the space of ullage will increase as the wine gradually evaporates and seeps through the cork. The winemaking term of "ullage" refers to the practice of topping off a barrel with extra wine to prevent oxidation.
Unctuous - Said of a wine that has layers of soft, concentrated, velvety fruits. Unctuous wines are lush, rich, and intense.
Uvaggio - An Italian term for a wine that has been blended from several grape varieties-the opposite of a varietal. An example would be a Chianti that is based on Sangiovese but include other grape varieties in the bend.
Red Wine Glossary - V
Varietal - Wines made from a single grape variety.
Vendange Tardive - French term denoting a late harvest wine.
Vertical Wine Tasting - In a vertical tasting, different vintages of the same wine type from the same winery are tasted, such as a winery's Pinot Noir from five different years. This emphasizes differences between various vintages for a specific wine. In a horizontal tasting, the wines are all from the same vintage but are from different wineries or microclimates.
Vieilles Vignes - Literally "old vines" in French, sometimes written as an acronym V.V. It is worth noting there is no official or legal definition of "Vieilles vignes" in any of the wine regions of France; it is not a regulated term. Thus, "Vieilles vignes" can be added to a label by wine makers as they see fit.
Vigneron - French for vine grower.
Vignoble - French term for a "vineyard"
Vin - French for wine.
Viña - Spanish for vines.
Vino - Italian for wine
Vin De Garde - French term for a wine with the potential to improve with age.
Vin De Table - French term denoting a table wine, the lowest classification of the French AOC system.
Viñedo - Spanish for vineyard
Vinho - Portuguese for wine.
Vinho Regional - The lowest level of the Portuguese classification system. Similar to a vin de pays.
Vin Nouveau - French term similar to Vin primeur denoting a very young wine meant to be consumed within the same vintage year it was produced. Example: Beaujolais nouveau.
Vin Ordinaire - French term used to denote an "ordinary wine" as opposed to a premium quality wine.
Vino - Italian and Spanish, Originally derived from Latin, for wine.
Vino Da Tavola - Italian term for "table wine"
Vino De Mesa - Spanish term for "table wine"
Vino Novello - Italian term for a Vin primeur
Vinous - A term used to denoting anything relating to wine.
Vintage - Vintage is the process of picking grapes and creating the finished product. A vintage wine is one made from grapes that were all, or primarily, grown and harvested in a single specified year.
Red Wine Glossary - W
Waiter's Friend - A popular type of corkscrew used commonly in the hospitality industry.
Weissherbst - A German rosé made from only black grape varieties such as Pinot noir.
Wine - An alcoholic beverage made from the fermentation of unmodified grape juice.
Wine Cave - A subterranean structure for storing and aging wine.
Wine Fraud - Any form of dishonesty in the production or distribution of wine.
Wine Label - The descriptive sticker or signage adhered to the side of a wine bottle.
Wine Lake - Refers to the continuing surplus of wine over demand (glut) being produced in the European Union.
Wine Tasting - The sensory evaluation of wine, encompassing more than taste, but also mouthfeel, aroma, and colour.
Red Wine Glossary - X
Xylem - The woody tissue of a vine, inside of the cambium layer, that includes heartwood and sapwood, which transports water and nutrients from the roots towards the leaves.
Red Wine Glossary - Y
Yeast - A micro-organism present on the skins of grapes that reacts with the sugars inside and results in the production of ethyl alcohol during a process called fermentation.
Yield - A measure of the amount of grapes or wine produced per unit surface of vineyard.
Red Wine Glossary - Z
Zymology - The science of fermentation in wine.
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