There is a lot of jargon used to describe wine. I tried not to use it but the posts do not read properly without it. I have therefore included this ‘jargon buster’.
Acidity– The tartness of the wine. Wine that is crisp and fresh is acidic.
Appellation- The region or village or vineyard under which the grower of grapes is authorised to identify and sell win
antipasti – appetisers. Light food to enjoy before a main meal
Aperitif- A wine drank without food or before food to stimulate the appetite. Wines that are good as aperitifs lose their flavour when drank with food. They taste ‘acidic’ when drank with some foods.
Aerating-To add air to wine in order to soften the tannins.
Bouquet-The smell of the wine, E.G. a bouquet of green apples
Chilli, Chili, Chile– ‘Chilli‘, is the preferred spelling in Britain. ‘Chili’ with an ‘i’at the end is the Americanized version and ‘Chile’ with an ‘e’ at the end is the most common Spanish spelling in Mexico and other Latin American countries.
Nose– The term used to describe how the wine smells in the glass.
Lees- Lees is Sediment—dead yeast cells, grapeseeds, stems, pulp and tartrates (harmless tartaric acid crystals)—remaining in a barrel or tank during and after fermentation. Lees are removed from the wine unless the bottle states ‘sur lie’. This means that the wine has been aged with the lees in the wine. Another way of advising the consumer that the wine is ‘sur lie’ is to state the the wine has been aged on the lees for a period of time.
Legs– When you swirl the wine in your glass it clings to the side of your glass, separates and then runs down the inside in strips. The strips are called ‘legs’. The higher the alcohol content the longer and thicker the legs. If your glass has been in the dishwasher the legs take longer to form because of residue on the glass, but they do form eventually.
Length- How long the taste of the wine lingers on your palate after you have swallowed it.
Malolactic fermentation- Known a MLF it is often associated with red wines and some Chardonnays. Specifically “buttery” Chardonnay. As the name implies it is a form of fermentation. Unlike a yeast fermentation, however, during malolactic fermentation no alcohol is produced. Malic acid is converted into lactic acid by lactic acid bacteria. This takes away the acid taste leaving a creamy taste.
Milk – Milk is used as a refining product to ensure that the wine is crystal clear.
Passito – Passito is an Italian word for wines made by the appassimento process. Fresh grapes are partially dried on mats or by being hung in bunches either directly in the sun or may in a cool, ventilated room. The process of drying removes the water content of the grapes and concentrates the sugar and flavors. The grapes are then crushed and fermentation begins. If these grapes are used to make wine the wine is sweet, known as Recioto. The grapes are added to Valpolicella blends to create full bodied, rich wine.
Pomace – In red wine production, pomace is produced after the grapes have been pressed. The juice is poured off, leaving behind dark blackish-red waste consisting of grape skins and stems.
Recioto– Recioto wines are naturally sweet Italian wines. The word refers to wines that have been made from ‘dried’ grapes, or grapes that are harvested when ultra ripe then left out to dry and ‘raisin’ before fermentation.
Suphites – Sulphites in wine act as a preservative and help to maintain freshness by preventing oxidization
Tannin-Words that describe the taste that tannin gives wine are: dry, tart, acidic and bitter. For wine to work well with fatty food there needs to be tannin in the wine. Wines with high tannin need food and do not work as an aperitif.
Viscosity- when the wine or any fluid is thick and sticky. A wine with low viscosity will have smaller more watery legs. A wine with high viscosity will have larger slower legs.
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Read my wine and food column in The Bournemouth Echo on the first Saturday of every month.