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Wine Glossary
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An essential component in wine. Malic, citric and tartaric acids come from the grape; lactic acid converts the malic acid to a softer one during fermentation. The oxidation of alcohol can cause acetic acid, sometimes referred to as volatile acidity. Acidity can balance sweetness, and is necessary for wines to age well.

The process of letting a wine "breathe" in the open air, or swirling wine in a glass. It's debatable whether aerating bottled wines (mostly reds) improves their quality. Aeration can soften young, tannic wines; it can also fatigue older ones.

The taste or flavors that linger in the mouth after the wine is tasted, spit or swallowed. The aftertaste or "finish" is the most important factor in judging a wine's character and quality. Great wines have rich, long, complex aftertastes.

All wine is aged, from a few weeks to many decades. Ageing in barrels is a very slow oxidation, and the barrels can impart flavors to the wine: bottle ageing allows the wines to soften and various components within the wine to harmonize. After a certain point all wine will decline in the bottle. The difference between oak and stainless steel barrels is evident.

Appellation d'origine controlee

Any wine served before a meal. Traditionally, aperitifs were vermouths or other similar wines flavored with herbs and spices.

Defines the area where a wine's grapes were grown, such as Bordeaux, Gevrey-Chambertin, Napa Valley or Russian River Valley. Regulations vary widely from country to country. In order to use an appellation on a California wine label, for example, 85 percent of the grapes used to make the wine must be grown in the specified district.

A term loosely used to describe the smell of wine, specifically it refers to the smells that derive from grapes. Now it more commonly means the wine's total smell, including changes that resulted from oak aging or that occurred in the bottle--good or bad. "Bouquet" has a similar meaning.

It is the blending of several wines from different grape-varieties, independently vinified.

A lighter style, fresh , easy to drink wine.

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