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Wine vocabulary

To learn how to read wine colour, smell its aromas, has many taste-smelling sensations on mouse, wine words reflects variety of soils, grapes and vines. Great time for all wine lovers, visit vineyards is a special moment to discover wine and talk about it.

"Who knows how to taste, never drink wine but discover its secrets" Salvator Dali 

Is said of a wine with long duration that fully occupies mouth.

Sensation of hardness, rape, astringency caused by excess of tannins or bad quality.

Wine scents. We distinguish primary aromas (specific to the grape variety), secondary aromas (from fermentation), and tertiary aromas resulting from wine aging and especially aging in bottles.

Mix of must or wines providing from different vats.

First tasting perception during which wine reveals its first sensations (tannins, aromas…)

The Harvest Ban
Official first harvests day in an appellation.

Wooden barrel used for raising wine whose capacity varies according to region (225 liters in Bordeaux).

Collection of mature aromas developed with age in fine wines.

Unit of measure of aromatic persistence after tasting (1 caudalie = 1 second). The longer the persistence is, the greater is the wine.

Grape variety
Variety of vine plant characterized by specific aspects: form of leaves and bunches, color of grapes at maturity, composition of grapes ...

The cellar
Place where the winemaking is done.

To chamber
Placer le vin à température ambiante avant de le déguster.

Filtering technique that clarifies the wine, removing suspended particles in the wine. The best known method is to use egg white.

Slowly put a mature wine from its bottle into a decanter to allow it to breathe and separate the wine from its deposit.

Separate the grapes from the stalks before winemaking.

Practice of removing leaves around the bunches to provide them better sun and wind exposure.

Alcoholic fermentation
First fermentation during which grape juice sugars are transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide under yeasts action. The grape juice (the must) become wine.

Malolactic fermentation
Second fermentation during which the malic acid contained in the wine is transformed into lactic acid. This process removes acidity from the wine and gives it more flexibility.

Soil composed by limestone, often blend with sand and/or clay. Typical to the left side of Bordeaux.

After the pressuring, grape skins can macerate, with must. Maceration gives to the must its colour, thanks to the tannins.

The year that the grapes were harvested in to produce the wine (usually indicated on the label).

Not fermented grape juice. Represent the future wine.

Noble rot
Produced by Botrytis Cinera, it allows grape berries to concentrate their sugar. Essential for sweet wines production.

Operation which consists in wine pressuring (with a press) to extract the juice (must).

Woody and peduncular support for the grapes.

Found in grape stalks, seeds and skins. Tannins mellow with aging and is a major component in the structure of red wines: it gives wine character and longevity.

Traditional measure unit in Bordeaux equal to 900 liters, 4 barrels.

Colour of an evolved red wine, when it turns orange.

Summer period (july-august) in which grapes gain in sugar, swell and change their colour (from green to red, white translucent or rosé).