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The Cooking Inn : Wine Terminology A Page

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Acetic acid is the acid that gives vinegar its characteristic taste. Small amounts of acetic acid, about 0.5 grams per liter, are normal in wine; amounts over 1.0 gram per liter give wine a vinegar-like character.

A compound present in all grapes and an essential component of wine that preserves it, enlivens and shapes its flavors and helps prolong its aftertaste. There are four major kinds of acids--tartaric, malic, lactic and citric--found in wine. Acid is identifiable by the crisp, sharp character it imparts to a wine.

Natural component in grapes that gives the final wine a snappy refreshing quality. Wines with too little acidity taste dull, flabby and unfocused. Wines with too much acidity can taste aggressively tart.

The flavor that lingers in your mouth after you've swallowed the wine. All good wines should have a pleasant aftertaste and great wines should have a long pleasant aftertaste. Aftertaste is also known as the wines finish.

Intentionally keeping a wine for a period of time so that the flavors harmonize and the wine begins to soften and open up. There is no one correct period of aging for wine, all wines will age differently and at different rates.

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Aging Sur Lie:
Meaning aging on the lees, and often referred to as yeast contact. Wine is aged in the barrel with the yeast retained, rather than being clarified before aging. Aging on the lees increases the complexity and creaminess of the wine.

A natural result of the fermentation process. When yeast metabolize the sugar in grapes, the two major by-products are alcohol and carbon dioxide. Most table wines in the U.S. have 12 to 14% alcohol by volume.

Appellation (d'Origine Contrôlée):
Hopefully I didn't misunderstand the complete name of this, that is why most of it is in parenthesis.
Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, (AOC), refers to a set of comprehensive regulations that specify the precise geographic area in which a given French wine can be made. AOC regulations also stipulate the types of grapes that can be used, the manner in which the vines must be grown and how the wine can be made. The Italian equivalents of France's AOC laws are known as DOC, Denominazione di Origine Controllata, and a slightly more strict set of regulations known as DOCG, Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita. In the U.S., the regulations governing AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) are far less strict than French or Italian appellation laws. AVAs are designated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. There are now more than 130 areas that have been designated as AVAs including such well known AVAs as the Napa Valley, Stags Leap District, Russian River Valley, Anderson Valley and so on.

Traditionally defined as the smell that wine acquires from the grapes and from fermentation. Now it more commonly means the wine's total smell, including changes that resulted from oak aging or that occurred in the bottle--good or bad. "Bouquet" has a similar meaning.

That quality in a wine that makes your mouth feel slightly dry and puckery. Astringency is related to tannin (see entry). A small amount of astringency is expected in some wines, especially young red wines made from powerful varieties such as cabernet sauvignon.

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