24 MAY 2017
Small dictionary of wine, the words used in tastings and labels
How many times have you read the label of a wine and wondered “what does this word mean?”. How many times, at the table with friends, have you wanted to say those three or four right words to describe the wine you had just tasted?
To become a sommelier it takes months of study, to become a good sommelier it takes years of practice, to become a conscious consumer or a passionate wine connoisseur, a few basic notions are enough, which we have summarized in the ‘Little dictionary of wine’.
We remind you that we at Marcadoc are not professionals in the sector, if you find inaccuracies and / or errors we will be grateful if you report them to us.
Small dictionary of wine
Sweetheart. It is said of a wine with a slight sweet taste, determined by the presence of residual sugars that have not turned into alcohol.
Unripe. Wine not yet refined and that in the mouth has a sour, excessively acidic and disharmonious taste. In the mouth you have the same sensation as when you taste an unripe fruit.
Acescence. Condition of a wine that is becoming vinegar.
Total acidity. Set of free or combined substances present in wine.
Fixed acidity. Set of organic acids normally contained in the grape fruit and found in wine: malic, tartaric, lactic, succinic acid.
Volatile acidity. Indicates the volatile acids present in wine; that is. those acids impossible to separate from the wine by evaporation or distillation.
Acute: Term used in olfactory analysis when an aggressive, subtle, immediate and pungent aroma is perceived.
Refinement. Physiological process of wine that from disharmonious, after a period of maturation, becomes harmonic.
Allappante. It is said of a wine that “binds” in the mouth due to a high quantity of tannin.
Lovely. well balanced wine, with a pleasant, slightly sweet taste.
Amarascato. Wine that in aroma and taste is reminiscent of black cherry or morello cherry.
Wide. wine that has a variety and richness of aromas.
Vintage. Indicates the year of “birth” of the wine.
Withering. Dehydration of the grape, to concentrate the sugars. The method is used to obtain sweet wines.
Aroma. olfactory sensation of wines, aggregate of elementary odors, pleasant and not, perceived directly or afterwards
Aromatic. wine whose main aroma is from the vineyard from which it comes. It is said of a wine that exhales penetrating aromas. Fruity wines are generally particularly aromatic.
Taster. Expert trained in the tasting technique.
Dry. Wine that provides a slight sensation of astringency and leaves the mouth free of saliva (dry).
Astringent. Taste sensation generated by the presence of tannins that “bind the mouth” drying it.
Barricade: wine aged in barrels or barrique.
Barrique. Typical small barrel studied and used, for the first time, around 1866 in the Bordeaux region. The capacity of the barrique varies from area to area but the most used is the Bordeaux bottle which contains 225 liters.
Bouquet. French term that defines the set of olfactory sensations that develop during the aging and aging of wines. The set of aromas and aromas that the wine acquires with the different degrees of aging.
Brilliant, a bright and perfectly transparent wine.
Brut sparkling wine: wine with a dry taste, resulting from a sugar content of less than 15 g / l.
Warm: full-bodied, powerful, rich wine with a high alcohol content, which warms the mouth and stomach.
Chambrer. French term used in the 18th century. which meant taking a wine out of the cellar to bring it to the “chambre” (“pantry”) at a temperature of 14 ° C. Today, this term has entered “the jargon of wine lovers in reference to the transport of a wine from the cellar to the room used as a pantry or to the dining room.
Champenoise: term that indicates the method of production of sparkling wine with a second fermentation in the bottle. In Italy it is called the “classic method”.
Charmat: name of the process by which the refermentation and second fermentation takes place in an autoclave.
Bent over. It is said of a wine with added cinchona and other spices. according to an ancient custom; typical is the Piedmontese Barolo Chinato.
Back label. Optional part of the bottle clothing that contains information not required by law,
Body: the body or wine extract consists of all that remains after removing the water, alcohol and volatile substances. Practically. it is made up of tannin, fixed acids, mineral salts. from residual sugars and pectic and mucilage substances.
Short. It is said of a wine that leaves a fleeting impression both on the nose and in the mouth
Cremant: sparkling wine with a light foam, with the right to the designation of origin.
u: French word used to indicate a well-defined production area
Cuvée: content of a wine vessel and representative of a part or all of a vineyard, a grape variety, a climate, a soil, etc. Wine chosen to serve in the cut. First cuvée, the best, obtained from the vinification of a specific vineyard, coming from a scrupulous choice of grapes of excellent and rare quality.
Weak. It is said of a wine lacking in color, alcohol and dry extract.
Decrepit. It is said of a wine that is too old and has lost its characteristics.
Disharmony. It is a wine in which one element prevails over the others, giving it an unbalanced flavor.
Doc: controlled denomination of origin. Official denominations. A step below the DOCG, it is part of the classification inherent in most of the wines produced in Italy. Quality control standards are less strict (but similar in style) than those applied to DOCG wines.
DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin). Official denominations. The highest classification for Italian wines, introduced in 1963. It is used to ensure that a wine is controlled and above all follows a predetermined production scheme outside of which it would no longer receive the aforementioned denomination, which is guaranteed by the acronym as an index of superior quality. There are strict rules regarding the production of DOCG wines, most of them inherent to the type of grape allowed for production, the yield limits, the ripening of the grapes, the winemaking procedures and the specific aging. Each DOCG wine is subject to official tasting procedures. To prevent counterfeiting, the bottles have a numbering that seals the neck of the bottle.
Marangoni effect. Wide or narrow curves that form on the walls of the glass when the wine is slowly swirled.
Elegant: particularly balanced wine.
Balanced. Wine in which all the components are in the right relationship. without prevailing over each other.
Herbaceous: characterizes a vegetable odor referring to fresh grass. Term relating to the olfactory and gustatory aspect of a wine. Indicates the sensation of fresh grass: it can sometimes take on shades reminiscent of hay or cut grass. Particularly present in certain young wines such as Cabernet and Merlot.
Dry extract. Solid residue composed of the non-volatile substances of the wine after it has been evaporated at 100 ° C.
Ethereal. Term that indicates, on the olfactory examination, a characteristic of the bouquet resulting from different periods of aging.
Evanescence. In the visual examination of sparkling wines, it refers to the foam that fades too soon.
End. It is said of a wine that, due to its global characteristics, qualities and balance, stands out from the others.
End of mouth. Taste and taste-olfactory sensations that are perceived after the wine has been swallowed.
Fragrant. Franco. Wine that has no defects and provides well-defined organoleptic sensations. It is said of a wine that has very pleasant hints of flowers and fruit.
Fresh: it is said of a moderately acidic and alcoholic wine, with remarkable balance ratios, which gives sensations of pleasant freshness. Typical of a young wine with a light and pleasant acidity.
Fruity. Pleasant olfactory sensation found in young wines that have a clear hint of fresh and ripe fruit.
Generous: it is said of a full-bodied, dense wine. Strongly alcoholic wine. warm and vigorous that gives a pleasant feeling of well-being to the body.
Young. This adjective takes on different meanings depending on the wine it refers to. If it is a wine capable of aging it will be defined as young or too young expressing a certain regret for not having allowed it to express all its qualities and reproaching it. also, some immaturity. If the wine is. instead, of a certain age and it is still fruity and energetic, it is defined as young. but with extreme admiration.
Goudron. French term which literally means tar. Sensation that is revealed on the nose in aged and well-structured wines.
Fat. It is said of a wine that fills the mouth. very soft and meaty.
Igt: Typical Geographical Indication. Official denominations. The IGT classification was introduced in 1992 to allow a certain level of freedom to Italian winemakers. Before 1992, many wines did not qualify under the terms DOC or DOCG not because they were of low quality, but because they were made from grape varieties (or blends) not sanctioned under DOC or DOCG. The IGT classification focuses on the region of origin, instead of grapes conforming to the varieties or styles of the wine under consideration.
immature. Wine that has not yet reached its maturity in taste and aromas.
Intensity. Degree of strength with which the characteristics of a wine are revealed in the course of
The organoleptic analysis.
Jeroboam: bottle of wine with a capacity of 3 liters and can fill 28 glasses.
Light. It is said of a Wine that has a perfume with delicate hints, or. moderately alcoholic wine.
Fortified: it is said of a greasy white wine, softened by the presence of residual sugary substances, not fermented. Wine rich in sugar, alcohol and glycerin.
Maderizzato: a wine in which oxidation has led to the browning of the color and the formation of a characteristic odor.
Magnum: bottle of wine that holds 1.5 liters and fills 14 glasses.
Skinny. It is said of a light wine, with a low alcohol content that lacks bouquet and flavor.
Mathusalem: giant bottle with a capacity of 6 liters and fills 56 glasses.
Millesimato: refers to a wine referring to a harvest year.
Soft. Balanced wine with a certain roundness.
Must: fresh grape juice, not yet fermented, containing solid particles of grapes (pulp, grape seeds).
Mousse or foam. It is the “foam” that is formed when the Champagne or Spumante is poured into the glass. It has to be light. fine, copious and ready to dissolve in the liquid contained in the glass.
Nabuchodonosor: giant bottle (the largest) with a capacity of 15 liters of wine.
Novello: recently harvested wine, quickly put on the market, in the first year of fermentation.
Pasty. It is said of a very soft wine rich in sugars and glycerin.
Perlage. French term that defines the bubbles present in champagne and sparkling wines. Typical phenomenon of sparkling wines, due to the release of carbon dioxide.
Pétillant. French term to indicate a sparkling wine or demimousseux (semi-sparkling wine).
Full. Full-bodied wine, well structured and which feels very good in the mouth. It is said of a complete, balanced, round, compact wine that fills the mouth.
Second fermentation: a process that consists in obtaining, through the refermentation (in autoclaves or in bottles), an overpressure of dissolved carbonic gas which makes the wine effervescent, sparkling.
Pungent. Term that indicates a wine that seems to prick the tongue due to the excess of fixed acidity.
Aftertaste: persistent taste in the mouth after drinking wine with a more or less pleasant dominant.
Salmanazar: giant bottle with a capacity of 9 liters and fills about 84 glasses.
Sapid: it is said of a wine that has taste, rich in gustatory nuances perceived on the tongue, pleasant in the mouth and pleasant. Pleasant wine with the right amount of salts and acids.
Skinny. Lean wine, tired and lacking in particular organoleptic qualities.
Dry. It is said of a wine in which the sensation of sweetness is not perceived. Normally these are Wines with residual sugar comprised between 1-5 g / l.
Elusive. Evanescent scent that ends soon.
Sincero: wine with a pure, frank taste, without defects or alterations.
Fluffy. It is said of a wine that gives the palate a sensation similar to the one you feel when you touch a fabric.
Sommelier. He is the person in charge of taking care of drinks and especially wine in hotels and restaurants. His skills concern both the complete management of the cellar and the service in the dining room.
Foam: sort of foam (gas bubbles) that forms on the surface of wines during fermentation in autoclaves, due to the emission of carbonic gas.
Tannic: very dry wine rich in tannins (astringent, hard, sour or pleasant, round, melted). Astringent and lapping wine.
Tannins. Group of organic substances contained in grape seeds, skin and grape stalk.
Tannin: product of the polymerization of substances with phenolic functions, an astringent polyphenol compound readily available in the mouth, which binds the mouth by drying it and acts on the taste, indicating the good conservation of the wine, giving it antiseptic properties.
Typical: a wine in which the sensations that have always characterized that type of grape are clearly perceived.
Nail. Zone of minimum thickness when you observe the wine placed in the glass with an inclination of 45 °
Velvety. A velvety wine flatters the palate with pleasant and elegant sweet and caressing sensations that make one think of those felt when touching velvet.
Author’s wine. Term used to indicate those table wines that have been produced by a company, often in small quantities, with the aim of image and commercial prestige.
Table Wine (VDT). Official denominations. It is the category that identifies generic wines. They are generally wines of lower quality than those labeled with IGT, DOC or DOCG, although this is not always the case.
Vinous. This is said of a substantial wine in which the alcohol, the fruity smell, the body, the texture form a homogeneous whole. Young wine whose smell is reminiscent of the characteristic must.
Lively. Fresh and slightly sparkling wine.
VQPRD: quality wines produced
n determined region.
VLQPRD: quality liqueur wine produced in a specific region.
VSQPRD: quality sparkling wine produced in a specific region.
THE MAIN ‘FAMILIES’ OF AROMI
Floral: acacia, hawthorn, iris, rose, broom, violet, lime
Fruity: berries, tropical fruit, citrus, red fruit, white fruit, dried fruit
Herbaceous: cut grass, tomato leaf, green pepper, walnut husk, tobacco leaf, mushroom, truffle, undergrowth
Spicy: vanilla, clove, black pepper, cinnamon, licorice
Toasted: chocolate, coffee, caramel, toast, smoked, tar
Minerals: flint, graphite
Animals: leather, hide, game
Woody: cigar box, wooden pencil
Balsamic: resinous and juniper aromas
Ethereal: toffee, nail polish, soap, yeast dough.
THE TERMS OF OLFACTORY TASTING
- quality: finesse. freshness. cleanliness, pleasantness
- description of the aromas.
THE COLOR OF THE WINES
White wines: paper white, greenish yellow, straw yellow, golden yellow. amber yellow
Rosé wines: pale pink, cherry pink. light pink
Red wines: purple red. ruby red. garnet red orange red.
TYPES OF SPARKLING WINE
Compulsory term concerning the type of product, the data is indicated on the basis of the residual sugar present in the wine according to the following classification:
- Extra Brut: between 0 and 6 g / l
- Brut: less than 15 g / l
- Extra dry: between 12 and 20 g / l
- Dry or dry: between 17 and 35 g / l
- Demi-sec or semi-dry: between 33 and 50 g / l
- Sweet: over 50 g / l
Classification of Italian wines
With four official designations, the Italian wine classification system is relatively simple.
DOCG (Controlled and Guaranteed Designation of Origin): the highest classification for Italian wines, introduced in 1963. It is used to ensure that a wine is controlled and above all follows a pre-established production scheme outside of which it would no longer receive the designation indicated above, which is guaranteed by the acronym as an index of superior quality. There are strict rules regarding the production of DOCG wines, most of them inherent to the type of grape allowed for production, the yield limits, the ripening of the grapes, the winemaking procedures and the specific aging. Each DOCG wine is subject to official tasting procedures. To prevent counterfeiting, the bottles have a numbering that seals the neck of the bottle.
DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin): a step below DOCG, it is part of the classification inherent in most of the wines produced in Italy. Quality control standards are less strict (but similar in style) than those applied to DOCG wines.
IGT (Typical Geographic Indication): The IGT classification was introduced in 1992, to allow a certain level of freedom to Italian winemakers. Before 1992, many wines did not qualify under the terms DOC or DOCG not because they were of low quality, but because they were made from grape varieties (or blends) not sanctioned under DOC or DOCG. The IGT classification focuses on the region of origin, instead of grapes conforming to the varieties or styles of the wine under consideration.
Table Wine (VDT): VDT are generally lower quality wines than those labeled with IGT, DOC or DOCG, although this is not always the case, the ‘Super Tuscan’ (see below) are often labeled as Table Wine.