Most Commonly Used Wine Terms
Acid is a major element in wine to enhance its balance.
See Alsace guide.
Appellation d’origine contrôlée
AOC represents France’s highest quality classification of wine. Hence, we selected the name AOC Wines to pay homage to the origin of the wines we enjoy and represent. See about AOC Wines.
Tasting term. Balance is an indicator of quality – where all elements come together
Wooden barrel from France with a capacity of 59 gallons/225 liters.
French for stirring of the lees.
Method of farming which prohibits the use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, other synthetic matters and any filtering. Biodynamic winemaking is one step beyond organic viticulture: using strict schedules in accordance with the cycles of the moon, planets and stars.
Blanc de Blancs
Champagne made from entirely white grapes.
Tasting term. The “volume” of a wine from light to full.
See Bordeaux guide.
A fungus, noble rot, is deliberately cultivated to infect the grape with mold.
Sparkling unsweetened wine, which is very dry.
See Burgundy guide.
See Champagne guide.
Process of adding sugar before or during the fermentation.
Tasting term. No tasting defects.
Tasting term. A wine that contains many different elements of wine with i.e., fruit, flowers, minerals, and scents.
Tasting term. Spoiled wine that smells damp and/or moldy.
A slope or hillside used in many regions in France.
Sparkling wine made by the Méthode Champenoise.
Vineyard or group of vineyards, one of recognized quality.
Bordeaux châteaux that are classified below the Cru Classé. See Bordeaux Classifications.
The upper classification for the châteaux of the Médoc, which is divided into five tiers.
Off dry wine.
Tasting term. Opposite of sweet.
Finishing process performed before bottling which removes dead yeast and bacteria.
Tasting term. The finish is the aftertaste. After finish comes the length.
Tasting term. A wine that tannic.
Refers to the best vineyard sites usually located on the slopes of Burgundy, Champagne and Alsace.
The practice of removing unripe bunches of grapes in midsummer in order to reduce the yield per plant and increase the quality.
Measurement used in viticulture, approximately 2.5 acres.
Lies (French for Lees)
Heavy sediment consisting of dead yeast cells and other solid matter such as grape, pulp, and pips left in the bottom of a vat, tank or barrel.
See Bordeaux guide.
Tasting term. The length is how long the flavor of the wine prolongs on the palate after it has been swallowed.
Often used in Burgundy and Alsace. For a specific named plot of land which is in practice used on labels for vineyards below 1er Cru in rank.
See Loire guide.
Process used to reduce acid in wine where malic acid (appley) is altered by natural means to softer-tasting lactic (milky) acid.
Traditional method for making Champagne in which the second fermentation is in the bottle.
Winemakers outside the Champagne region using the Méthode Champenoise.
Tasting term. The midpalate is a term for the taste and feel of a wine when held in the mouth.
Mise en bouteille
Sweet or medium sweet wine.
Term to describe a wine merchant that buys grapes or juice and bottles the wine under their own name and label.
Wines produced outside Europe.
See Botrytis cinerea. Conditions of foggy damp, misty mornings followed by warm sunny afternoons. The Noble rot leaves the grapes shriveled, dehydrated and thus rich in sugar.
Tasting term. The nose of the wine describes the “aromas” of a wine.
Science behind wine and winemaking.
Winemaking with no fertilizers, pesticides or other chemicals.
Method of submerging the cap of skins and grape solids which is kept in contact with the fermenting wine to increase extract during cuvaison.
Essential vineyard practice important in canopy management.
Process involving the transfer of wine from one vessel into another after fermentation.
French for “riddling”, which brings the lees into the neck of the bottle prior to their removal. Step in the production of Champagne involving gradual turning and inversion of the bottle.
Any substance that remains after fermentation.
See Bordeaux guide.
French for dry except in case of Champagne where it mean sweet.
Tasting term. Structure is an aspect of taste.
Large collection of organic compounds present in grapes as a result of photosynthesis. Sugar is a substrate utilized by yeast in the production of alcohol, a process known as fermentation.
Compounds that are added to wine to prevent spoilage and oxidation.
French term used to describes a wine that has allowed to lie on its lies for some time before being racked off.
Polyphenolic compounds found in grape skins, pips and stalks.
Tasting term. Too much acid.
French for “soil”, the physical environment characteristics that give a wine its uniqueness. A group of vineyards from the same region, belonging to a specific appellation, and sharing the same type of soil, weather conditions, grapes and wine making savoir-faire, which contribute to give its specific personality to the wine.
Tasting term. The texture of a wine describes how the wine feels on the palate.
Tasting term. Smelling or tasting of toast.
Tasting term. Describes aromas such as mushrooms, truffles, baked meats or tobacco usually inherent to older wines.
French for old vines, 30 years and older.
French for wine.
The year the grapes were harvested.
The process of making grape juice into wine.
The cultivation of grapes.