wine vocabulary

The 10 wine words you need to know.


Why does the wine world seem so intimidating?
The truth is that it shouldn’t be.


Here is a bit of advice for anyone interested in learning about wine, don't be overwhelmed and think that you have to learn everything about wine to appreciate a great wine lifestyle. Wine comes in many different flavors and colors for you to enjoy, and don't get caught up in the details.

Here is a short list of the words that we think you should learn to better appreciate wine.

1. Appellation
One specific geographic area from which a wine is produced. It can refer to a region, such as Bordeaux or Burgundy in France, or to an even more tightly defined sub-region within, such as The Médoc in Bordeaux. A legally protected name for a wine region.

2. Aroma
Aroma is a singular, specific smell from a specific wine. The intensity and character of the aroma can be assessed with nearly any descriptive adjective. Usually refers to the particular smell of the grape variety. The word “bouquet” is usually restricted to describing the aroma of a cellar-aged bottled wine.

3. Bouquet
Near synonym for “aroma”. The scent of a wine that develops as it ages and matures. Bouquet is the more complex collective or composite of aromas in a wine, just as in the term applied to a collection of flowers. Sometimes call the ‘nose.’”

4. Breathing
To breathe is to let wine open up by interacting with air. When wine is poured into a wineglass, the mixture of air seems to release pent-up aromas which then become more pronounced.

5. Dry
The opposite of sweet wine. Dry is a relative word that indicates a wine that is not sweet.

6. Fermentation
Yeasts do a really useful job: they eat up sugar in grape juice and excrete alcohol. This is called fermentation, the process that occurs in barrels and tanks after grapes have been pressed and the sugar in the grape juice is converted into alcohol. This is what converts grape juice into wine!

7. Terroir
Is a French term that roughly translates to territory. Terroir refers to site-specific differences in wines that are caused by factors such as soil types, drainage, local microclimate and sun exposure. Includes geographic, geological, and other attributes that can affect an area of growth as small as a few square metres.

8. Varietal
A wine named after the single grape variety it was made from. This consumer-friendly practice began in earnest in the USA in the 1950s and is now so popular that the majority of wines from the new world now have the grape variety on the label.

Vintage is the year the grapes were picked or harvested (not bottled). This is the year that appears on the bottle.

10. Wine Voice
The most influencial wine web site on the planet, offering great wine advice, wine history and wines from around the world.

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