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Wine Glossary
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A tasting term, states whether the fruit, acid, wood flavors etc. are in the right proportion. A wine is well-balanced when none of those characteristics dominates. The general balance of a wine corresponds to the proportion between its smooth and its harsh nature.

A container of various sizes, usually made of wood, most typically oak. New barrels give more flavors to the wine, how long a barrel is toasted for, where the oak comes from and who coopers (makes) it, all affect the final product.

A system used to measure specific gravity, which indicates the sugar of unfermented grape juice. 1° Baumé is roughly equivalent to 1% alcohol when the wine is fully fermented.

A marked degree of acidity or tannin. An acid grip in the finish should be more like a zestful tang and is tolerable only in a rich, full-bodied wine.

Describes one of the four basic tastes (along with sour, salty and sweet). Some grapes--notably Gewürztraminer and Muscat--often have a noticeable bitter edge to their flavors. Another source of bitterness is tannin or stems. If the bitter quality dominates the wine's flavor or aftertaste, it is considered a fault. In sweet wines a trace of bitterness may complement the flavors. In young red wines it can be a warning signal, as bitterness doesn't always dissipate with age. Normally, a fine, mature wine should not be bitter on the palate.

Black rot
Fungus disease of grape vines

French word for 'white'.

The weight of wine in your mouth. Alcohol makes a wine seem heavier, as does tannin. Commonly expressed as full-bodied, medium-bodied or medium-weight, or light-bodied.

Also known as 'noble rot'. A fungus that attacks the skin of grapes, causing water to evaporate and thus increasing the sugar content. It is key to the production of great sweet wines such as Sauterne (from France), Trockenbeerenauslese (from Germany) and many new world 'stickies'.

A tasting term used to describe the smell of the wine as it matures in the bottle. Aroma denotes the smell of the grape.

Allowing a bottle of wine stand for several minutes (to several hours) after the cork is removed, but before serving it. It is believed that wines may be improved by air exposure prior to serving.

A scale used to measure sugar content of grapes and wine. Each degree of Brix is equivalent to 1 gram of sugar per 100 grams of grape juice. See also Baumé

French for 'Dry'.

Indicates the smell of melted butter or toasty oak. Also a reference to texture, as in "a rich, buttery Chardonnay."

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