Oenophile? Brix? Cuvée? If the language of wine is all Greek to you, no worries! Allow us to translate.
Ageing: Allows flavors and aromas of the wine to develop and mature prior to bottling.
Appellation: Generally, the area where grapes are grown and made into wine. Can be as broad as a county or as narrow as a vineyard. For example: Bordeaux, Sonoma.
Aroma: Smells that are directly related to the odor of the fresh wine grape.
Balance: Harmony among wine's components--fruit, acidity, tannins, alcohol. Great wines have balance. Also known as "integration."
Body: Perceived weight of the wine, sensation of fullness. The density of a wine on the palate—either light, medium, or full.
Bouquet: Smells that result from the fermentation or aging process.
Brix: A measurement of the sugar content of grapes before they are harvested. A scale is used to translate sugar into alcohol content of the resulting wine.
Cuvée: A single style, blend or barrel of wine.
Dry, Dryness: The absence of fermentable sugar, not sweet.
Fermentation: Process of yeast cells converting grape sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide.
Finish: The wine's aftertaste. Not only the flavors, but the length of time those flavors linger in the mouth.
Fruit-first: Wines that emphasize fruit before more complicated flavors. Used to describe softer, less acidic white and lower tannin red wines. Also called "fruit forward." See "tannin."
Hang time: Time the grape cluster is on the vine.
Lees: Natural sediment left by the wine following its first fermentation.
Malolactic fermentation: The conversion of tart malic acid into softer lactic acid. A secondary fermentation that may occur either during primary fermentation or after primary fermentation is completed. This process can be induced or occur naturally.
Mouthfeel: Tasting term for the texture of a wine; for example, its "smoothness."
Nose: Smell of wine, divided into two components: the aroma and the bouquet. Aroma comes from the characteristics of the grape. Bouquet is the complex fragrance developed by the winemaker's influence during fermentation and aging.
Oenology: The science of wine.
Oenophile: A lover of wine.
pH: A measurement of the concentration of acidity in the juice/wine.
sur lie aging: When wine is left to age with its natural sediment.
Tannin: Natural preservative found in varying degrees in skin, seeds and stems of grapes that manifests as a taste sensation. Can build structure and improve aging. Most prominent in reds, where it creates dry mouth-puckering sensation.
terroir: In French, literally "soil." The combination of a specific landscape, climate and soil that creates the character unique to a vineyard and its wines.
Titratable Acid (TA): Measurement of the total acidity present in grape juice or wine.
Varietal wines: Wines made from, and named after, a particular grape variety. In the US, to name the variety on the label, at least 85% of the blend must be composed of that grape.
vin de pays: French "country wines." Made from grapes grown in more than one vineyard. If d'oc appears on the bottle (like on Red Bicyclette) that means the wine is a country wine from the Languedoc region of France.
Vintage: The year in which the grapes were harvested.
Vintner: The winemaker.
Viticultural: Term for science of grape production for wine and the making of wine.
Viticultural area: A well-defined region with climate, soil, elevation and physical features which set it apart from surrounding areas.
Viticulturist: Person responsible for tending to the growth and maintenance of the grapevines.