The Cooking Inn : Wine Terminology C PageSelect a name from the list to go to it's site
The somewhat leaner sister of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc is often grown in the same places and is usually blended with cabernet sauvignon and merlot. The one noteworthy exception to this is the Loire Valley of France where cabernet franc alone makes the well known wines Chinon and Bourgeuil. Cabernet franc often has a unique violet aroma and a slightly spicy flavor.
Often called the king of red grapes, cabernet sauvignon is, along with merlot, the famous grape of Bordeaux, and is also grown in other renowned wine regions throughout the world including California, Washington state, Italy, Australia, and Chile. Cabernet sauvignon possesses what can be an impressive structure along with deep, rich cassis flavors.
The grape skins that float to the top of fermenting red wines, forming a cap.
The covering at the top of the neck of a wine bottle that protects the cork. Capsules, which come in many colors and designs, are considered part the wine's overall design. Recently, some wineries have forgone capsules in favor of a small wax dot on the top of the cork.
The famous sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region of France, about 90 miles northeast of Paris. Champagne is generally a blend of three grapes--two red: pinot noir and pinot meunier, and one white: chardonnay. It is made by a labor-intensive method known as methode Champenoise in which the secondary bubble-causing fermentation takes place inside each individual bottle. Made in a variety of sweetness levels, Champagnes range from bone-dry to sweet. The most popular of these is Brut.
The sweetness levels are as follows:
Extra Brut: very, very dry, O to .6% residual sugar.
Brut: dry, less than 1.5% residual sugar.
Extra Dry: off-dry, 1.2 to 2% residual sugar.
Sec: lightly sweet, 1.7 to 3.5% residual sugar.
Demi-Sec: quite sweet, 3.3 to 5% residual sugar. and Doux: sweet, more than 5% residual sugar.
Most Champagne firms make at least three categories of wine: non-vintage, vintage, and prestige cuvée. The vast majority of the Champagne produced each year is designated non vintage (that is, the blend may contain wines from several different vintages).
The wines in a vintage Champagne come only from the year designated on the label.
Vintage Champagnes are only made in top years.
Prestige cuvées are each firm's top-of-the-line wine. It too will only be made in great years and the grapes will come only from the firm's best vineyards.
Finally, there are two special styles of Champagne: rosé Champagne, a pink Champagne usually made by adding a small bit of red pinot noir wine to the bottle before the second fermentation, and blanc de blancs, a Champagne in which all of the wines in the blend are chardonnay.
One of the most popular white grape varieties in America and throughout the New World, as well as the white grape of the Burgundy region of France. Very easy to enjoy thanks to its full, round body and buttery, appley flavors laced with toastiness (the latter comes from the oak barrels used in the making of most chardonnays).
Said of a wine that has a full, almost thick mouthfeel. Zinfandels are often described as chewy.
Refers to the wine-making operation which removes lees - dead yeast cells and fragments of grape skins, stems, seeds and pulp - from grape juice or new wine.
A sweet wine without a sufficient amount of acidity to balance the sweetness will often taste so sweet as to be cloying.
A technique of chilling wines before bottling to cause the precipitation of harmless tartrate crystals.
A descriptive term for a multifaceted, multi-layered wine that continues to reveal different flavors as you drink it. A complex wine, because it is so fascinating, has an almost magical ability to draw the wine drinker in.
A musty wet dog or wet cardboard smell (usually slight) that wine can take on as a result of bacteria in the cork interacting with minute amounts of chemical residues that may remain on corks or in bottles after they are washed. Corked wines are not common, though a wine drinker may occasionally encounter one. Because a corked wine smells unpleasant, it should be discarded, though drinking such a wine in no way harms the drinker.
An off characteristic in wines due to imperfect corks. Often caused by the chemical compound trichloroanisole or TCA, corkiness is believed to come from fungi that are not detectable on dry corks, or by a cork processed with chlorine. TCA diminishes the fruit character of the wine, substituting a character like moldy newspapers or old swimming pool towels.
Descriptive term for a wine that tastes zesty and refreshing as a result of its prominent acidity.