Glossary of Wine Terms
Glossary of Wine Terms : From ‘A’ for Acidity to ‘Z’ for Zinfandel
1. Acidity : Giving white wines their tartness, it’s what makes your mouth water. Vital
component that gives the wine its zip and refreshment value. In the right proportion,
gives many wines their balance and longevity. Wines without enough acids are often
2. Aftertaste : The taste that lingers in your mouth after swallowing the wine; it should be
pleasant. Longer this pleasant taste lingers, finer is the wine.
3. Alsace : Wine region in France, lying near the border it shares with Germany. Famous for
dry Rieslings and the uniquely perfumed Gewurztraminer.
4. Appellation : Controlled geographical wine name or region. A geographical area defined
under an appellation is where the grapes must be grown for its wine to be named under
5. Autolysis : It is a process which involves ageing sparkling wine on lees (along with the
dead yeast sediment in the bottle) which leads to it feeding on itself, thereby giving the
wine its bready aromas and buttery smooth texture.
6. Amarone : Red wines made from dried grapes, originally from Veneto, Italy.
7. Auslese : German for "select harvest", a Prädikat (Classification System) in Germany and
8. Aperitif : A wine that is either drunk by itself (i.e. without food) or before a meal in order
to stimulate the appetite.
1. Barrique : Standard Bordeaux barrel with a capacity of 225 litres.
2. Barrel Fermentation : Popular wine making technique where the grape juice is fermented
in barrels to produce wine.
3. Bordeaux : Famous wine region in France known for the most expensive red wines in the
4. Botrytis : Also know as noble rot, is a fungus affecting grapes, resulting in concentration
of sugars and acidity leading to potentially magnificent, long lived, sweet wines.
5. Body : The mouth-feel of a wine, how heavy it feels in the mouth. Body can range from
light to medium to full.
6. Bouquet : The complex smell of a mature wine, consisting of various aromas.
1. Cava : Sparkling wine of Spain from the wine region Catalunya.
2. Chablis : A white wine region in Burgundy, France producing some of the best
Chardonnays in the world.
3. Cuvee : French word meaning ‘blend’, particularly used for sparkling wines / champagne.
4. Complex : Aromas of wines that come across in layers, scents-within-scents - of fruits,
flowers, minerals, animal and vegetal scents.
5. Crisp : When a wine has an attractive, balanced and refreshing acidity, it is said to be
6. Corked : Wine tainted by a bad cork. Tends to smell like wet cardboard or a wet dog.
7. Cru : French work meaning ‘growth’ but in wine terms it usually refers to a specific
1. Dry : a term used to describe wines that are tart (white wine) or have a drying effecting in
the mouth (red wine), opposite of sweet wines.
2. Domaine : French word, particularly from Burgundy, for a wine producing property.
3. Disgorge : Champagne or sparkling wine production method by which the yeast sediment
is popped out of the bottle before the final cork is plugged in.
4. Dom Perignon : A high end, expensive vintage Champagne named after the monk and
cellar master who is believed to have invented this bubbly by pioneering the traditional
method of bottle fermenting wine to produce Champagne.
5. DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) : Italian wine classification
term given to the highest quality wines or wine regions; restricted to a geographical
1. Eiswien : Sweet wine made from frozen grapes. A speciality of Germany; also produced
in Austria and Canada. Also know an Ice Wine.
2. Estate bottled : Wine bottled in the same estate where the grapes were grown.
3. Enology : US spelling for Oenology; meaning the study of wine making.
4. Eden Valley : A wine region in South Australia sharing its border with Barossa Valley.
Well known for producing high quality Riesling and Shiraz wines.
5. Epernay : A village in the heart of Champagne, France. Home to some of the finest
champagne houses including Moet & Chandon.
6. Earthy : Used to denote aromas of fresh, rich, clean soil. An intense smell, more than
woody or truffle scents.
7. Elegant : Although more white wines than red are described as being elegant, lighterstyled, graceful, balance red wines can be elegant.
1. Finish : the lingering aftertaste of a wine that indicated quality; the more persistent the
better. Wines are usually described as having a short or long finish.
2. Firm : A wine having attractive tannins that lend a great character and finish to the wine.
3. Flight : A wine tasting involving a series a wines.
4. Full bodied : A term used to describe wines having a rich, full and heavier mouth feel
(compared to water)
5. Floral : Usually associate with white wines showing aromas of flowers like elder flower,
rose, jasmine, etc. Wines made from Viognier or Muscat grapes have floral aromas.
6. Fruity: A wine having concentrated fruit aromas.
7. First growth : Also known as Cru Classe, a Bordeaux term for vineyard also included in
the 1855 Classification that divides the top properties in to 5 divisions – first to fifth
8. Fortified wine : A wine to which spirit has been added anytime during the production
process. Sherry, Port, Madeira are all fortified wines.
1. Grand Cru : Very widely used wine classification term in France; used differently in
different regions but is usually denote a high quality wine.
2. Green : A term used to describe wines that have unripe green fruit aromas. These are
usually made from unripe fruit resulting in wines lacking richness; it is not a good quality
3. Gewurztraminer : Aromatic and peppery white wine that’s a specialty of the Alsace
region of France. Also found in Germany, Italy and New Zealand.
4. Grenache : A red grape variety originating from Southern Rhone and usually blended
with Syrah. It is also a popular grape in Spain where it is known as Grenacha. Also a part
of the GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) blends that were pioneered in Australia.
5. Garganega : A local Italian white grape variety that makes up at least 70% of the famous
6. Glera : The Italian white grape previously known as Prosecco; main grape varietal that
goes into this famous Italian sparkling wine.
7. Gamay : Originating from Beaujolais, Burgundy this is a red grape varietal producing
uniquely fresh, fruity and light wines.
8. Graves : Situated on the left bank in Bordeaux, Graves AOC is an important sub-region
famed for all of Bordeaux' three main wine types - red, white and sweet wines.
9. Gaja, Angelo : Great winemaker and trend-setter in the Piedmont region of Italy.
10. Gavi : It is an Italian DOCG wine from Piedmont; exclusively made from Cortese, a local
white grape varity.
1. Herbaceous: An term used to describe herb like aromas in wine. Many wines like
Sauvignon Blanc and to a lesser extent Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon, have herb like
aromas of thyme, sage, rosemary, and oregano.
2. Hard: A quality resulting from high tannins or high acidity, usually associated with young
3. Harsh: A wine that is too hard is termed as harsh; high astringent wines are termed as
harsh. It is not a desirable quality to have in a wine.
4. Hollow: A wine with no depth or flavour, especially on the mid palate. However, it will
have some taste at the beginning and at the finish.
5. Honeyed: An aroma/taste of honey that appears in certain white wines.
6. Heady / Hot: Used to describe high alcohol wines. Too much alcohol content can
unbalance the wine. However, it is an acceptable quality in port-style wines.
7. Hazy: A wine that doesn’t appear clear due to any sediment. Usually associated with
unfiltered wines but otherwise considered a flaw in filtered wines.
8. Halbtrocken: A German term meaning ‘off-dry’.
9. Horizontal Tasting: An evaluation of wines from a single vintage; the wines may
highlight producers from a single region or the same grape variety from many regions,
among other permutations.
10. Harmonious: Well balanced wine; not lacking in anything.
1. IGT: quality classification meaning "wine typical of a region." Indicazione Geografica
Tipica (IGT) is one level above the base category, Vino da Tavola. It can also be used by
2. Intensity: Intensity of a wine can be judged on 2 parameters: appearance and aroma.
When talking about appearance intensity refers to the concentration of colour, describing
whether it is pale, medium or dark. The more concentrated and dark a wine's colour, the
higher its intensity. When the aroma and flavour of the wine is more pronounced, the
more intense the wine. Intensity is one of the most desirable traits in a wine. However,
these wines must also have balance, layers of flavours and vibrancy. Their intensity
should add to their character, rather than subtracting from it.
3. Imperial: A large-format bottle holding 6 liters; the equivalent of eight standard 750ml
4. Inox vats: This is the French term for stainless steel vats that are used for both
fermentation and storage of wine.
1. Jammy: Wines with a concentrated, intense and flavourful fruit extract with ripe intensity
are known as jammy wines.
2. Jeroboam: large-format bottles holding 4.5 liters, or the equivalent of six bottles.
3. Jug Wine: American term for inexpensive table wine (French: Vin de table).
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