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Glossary of Wine Terms

Glossary of Wine Terms : From ‘A’ for Acidity to ‘Z’ for Zinfandel


  1. Acidity : Giving white wines their tartness, it’s what makes your mouth water. Vital component that gives the wine its zip and refreshment value. In the right proportion, gives many wines their balance and longevity. Wines without enough acids are often called “flabby.”
  2. Aftertaste : The taste that lingers in your mouth after swallowing the wine; it should be pleasant. Longer this pleasant taste lingers, finer is the wine.
  3. Alsace : Wine region in France, lying near the border it shares with Germany. Famous for dry Rieslings and the uniquely perfumed Gewurztraminer.
  4. Appellation : Controlled geographical wine name or region. A geographical area defined under an appellation is where the grapes must be grown for its wine to be named under that appellation.
  5. Autolysis : It is a process which involves ageing sparkling wine on lees (along with the dead yeast sediment in the bottle) which leads to it feeding on itself, thereby giving the wine its bready aromas and buttery smooth texture.
  6. Amarone : Red wines made from dried grapes, originally from Veneto, Italy.
  7. Auslese : German for “select harvest”, a Prädikat (Classification System) in Germany and Austria.
  8. Aperitif : A wine that is either drunk by itself (i.e. without food) or before a meal in order to stimulate the appetite.


  1. Barrique : Standard Bordeaux barrel with a capacity of 225 litres.
  2. Barrel Fermentation : Popular wine making technique where the grape juice is fermented in barrels to produce wine.
  3. Bordeaux : Famous wine region in France known for the most expensive red wines in the world.
  4. Botrytis : Also know as noble rot, is a fungus affecting grapes, resulting in concentration of sugars and acidity leading to potentially magnificent, long lived, sweet wines.
  5. Body : The mouth-feel of a wine, how heavy it feels in the mouth. Body can range from light to medium to full.
  6. Bouquet : The complex smell of a mature wine, consisting of various aromas.


  1. Cava : Sparkling wine of Spain from the wine region Catalunya.
  2. Chablis : A white wine region in Burgundy, France producing some of the best Chardonnays in the world.
  3. Cuvee : French word meaning ‘blend’, particularly used for sparkling wines / champagne.
  4. Complex : Aromas of wines that come across in layers, scents-within-scents – of fruits, flowers, minerals, animal and vegetal scents.
  5. Crisp : When a wine has an attractive, balanced and refreshing acidity, it is said to be crisp.
  6. Corked : Wine tainted by a bad cork. Tends to smell like wet cardboard or a wet dog.
  7. Cru : French work meaning ‘growth’ but in wine terms it usually refers to a specific vineyard.


  1. Dry : a term used to describe wines that are tart (white wine) or have a drying effecting in the mouth (red wine), opposite of sweet wines.
  2. Domaine : French word, particularly from Burgundy, for a wine producing property.
  3. Disgorge : Champagne or sparkling wine production method by which the yeast sediment is popped out of the bottle before the final cork is plugged in.
  4. Dom Perignon : A high end, expensive vintage Champagne named after the monk and cellar master who is believed to have invented this bubbly by pioneering the traditional method of bottle fermenting wine to produce Champagne.
  5. DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) : Italian wine classification term given to the highest quality wines or wine regions; restricted to a geographical location.

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