Wine making process
The differences between red and white wines
French wine history
Wines from Spain
Port wines from Portugal
Italian wine history
German wine history
Hungarian tokay wine
Wines from Algeria
How to buy wine
Wine storage tips
Wine serving basics
History of wine
Types of wine glasses
Selecting wine for meals
Wine region map
Wine information > Wine dictionary
Age, Ageing - The characteristics of age in time
are: first, progressive softening up to a point (mainly due to deposition of tartar,hence tartar is so often found on the insides
of casks); and, secondly, the development of bouquet of a secondary nature (due, it is thought, to the action of micro-organisms).
Beeswing - A light, filmy, floating ` crust ' in some old Ports, supposed to be something like an insect's wing in appearance.
Beverage Wines - Opposed to vintage wines. Wines of average quality and strength (and price) suitable for drinking in large quantities and regularly.
Body - That quality in a wine which gives it the
appearance of consistency and vinous strength. Merchants speak of a 'full' wine or wine with body, as opposed to a light, cold, or thin wine.
Bond - Wines or spirits, etc., were kept 'in bond,'
and in the State-controlled warehouses till the duty is paid on them.
Bouquet - The odour or perfume of fine wine appreciated by the sense of smell as opposed to seve, which is aroma appreciated by the sense of taste.
Brut. Of Champagne - with no added sugar or
liqueur. `Nature' means the same.
Butt - Large cask for Sherry or Malaga or Ale,
Chateau-Bottled - Special wines bottled at the
Chateau where grown, instead of by the wine merchant. Similarly, 'estate- bottled.'
Chateau-Bottling - Descriptive of wines bottled
at the cellars of the Chateaux (generally classified wines) where the wines were grown. At most Chateaux the privilege of Chateau-bottling is only granted in good vintage years. At the Chateau Lafite, Chateau -bottling was not allowed from 1885 to 1905 (1915 also excepted) ; at Chateau Mouton Rothschild it was not allowed from 1883 to I906 (1915 also excepted), and similar remarks apply to
several other of the high-classed growths. Chateau-bottling has never been accorded at all at :
Chateau Leoville Barton
Chateau Langoa Barton
Chateau Pontet Canet
whilst at Chateau Yquem (white wine) it
was suppressed in 1910 and 1915.
Cordial - A lighter kind of liqueur made by infusion of alcohol and sugar with fruit juices. The term is not very explicit.
Corked - Wine that is corked tastes mouldy; it
also smells bad. Corked wine is rare, and wine-drinkers in a restaurant should be careful before they make the charge. No restaurateur would refuse to replace a corked bottle or would make a mistake about the condition. A few particles of cork-dust falling into the wine do not constitute
'corked' wine as has been occasionally thought by innocents. Sometimes the corks of the bottles are too porous or of inferior quality, and give the wine a bad taste, this taste the French term 'gout de bouchon.'
Cru. Growth - A particular growth is described
as 'Premier cru,' ` grand cru,' etc. Crust. A deposit in old wines, especially Port, Burgundies, and red wines generally. Rest after bringing up from the cellar, and careful decanting, are necessary to prevent the crust 'slipping.' It should remain in the bottle, and not be allowed to pass into the decanter or glass. Ports are always marked with a white splash on the upper side of the punt-end of the bottle, and this mark should be kept upwards when re-binning
Cuvee - Contents of a cellar; also the different
products of pressure of one vine which fill many vats; more particularly applied to Champagne, but sometimes to Burgundy.
Dry - Opposed to sweet with no excess of
Ethers - Certain, at present unanalysable, com-
ponents found in old wines, whiskies, etc., giving character to the bouquet. The presence of ethers in still or sparkling wines, or in spirits, show maturity.
Fine Champagne - 'Grande' or 'Fine' Champagne is the official description given to finest quality Brandies from the Grande or Fine Champagne district. (Not to be confused with wines of the Champagne district).
Fiery - Applied to raw spirits or raw wine;.
meaning is obvious.
Fining - The process of clarification of a wine by introduction of albumen, e.g. white of egg or other suitable medium.
Fliers. Light, whitish, fluffy particles that float in white wines or rest at the bottom, looking like a light sand. An effect apparently of transportation to colder countries than the country of origin. They do, not affect the taste of the wine. The cure is to rest the bottles in a warm temperature, say about 70° Fahr.
Fortifying - By the addition of wine-spirit, e.g.,
to Port and Sherry in the making.
Frappe - Of sparkling wine, iced sufficiently
for the table.
Green - Of young, immature wine. Grande Champagne. See 'Fine' Champagne. Hard, Harsh. Obvious terms applied to taste of
wines, generally those with excess of tannin.
Hogshead Of Port, 57 gallons; of Brandy, 60
gallons; of Beer and Cider, 54 gallons; of Claret, etc., 46-q.8 gallons.
Jeroboam Magnum - Bottles for Clarets and
Champagnes. Magnum, double bottle, 4 reputed pints; Jeroboam, double magnum.
Must - The grape juice before it becomes wine by fermentation.
Nature - Same as 'Brut' (dry).
Oeil de perdrix - Of Champagne, used by the
French; of White Burgundies and Champagnes which exhibit unexplained phenomenon of a slight pinkish tinge. That of Meursault (Cote d'Or) is considered the type of this quality.
Oidium - A mildew disease of the vine.
Phylloxera - Phylloxera vastatrix : an insect pest
destroying the vine. Appeared in France 1865, and was at its worst 1868- 1873.
Pipe - Cask for Port and Tarragona wines, 56
dozen bottles or 115 gallons.
Proof - A standard to estimate alcoholic strength
of a spirit. In the United Kingdom proof spirit at 6o° Fahr. contains 57.04% of absolute alcohol by volume, 49.24% per by weight.
Puncheon - Large cask for Brandy, 120 gallons; Rum, 114 gallons.
Racking - Separating the bright wine from the deposit, as Claret from its lees.
Re-corking - After many years in bottle the corks of some wines became rotten; it is necessary to draw the old corks and replace with new, and to label the wine 're-corked' (e.g.)
'7/2/21.' Thus, a Madeira say after twenty to twenty-five years would be recorked.
Ruby - Term to describe a Port midway between
Tawny and Full of a reddish tinge.
Seve - This word is generally employed to indicate the vinous strength and the aromatic savour which develops at the time of tasting, embalming the mouth and continuing to make itself felt after the passage of the wine through the mouth. It is composed of alcohol and aromatic particles, which are dilated and evaporate immediately the wine is warmed by heat of the, mouth, etc. The seve differs from the bouquet in that the latter disengages itself or becomes apparent the instant the wine comes into contact with the air, and that it does not indicate the presence of any spirit, and flatters the smell rather than the taste.
Solera - Of Sherry: double butts of stock wines
used for maintaining the standard of shipped Sherries.
Stalky - A harshness due to final pressure of the
Tawny - Refers to colour and character of Port;
of wines that have matured in wood (contrast with Ruby and Vintage).
Tun - Large cask Of 252 gallons; is now rarely seen; generally means, in quotations, its equivalent of four hogsheads.
Ullage An ullaged cask or bottle is one, some
of the contents of which have leaked, evaporated, or been extracted.
Vin Ordinaire. Used of wines of poorer quality in comparison with the finer wines of same district.
Vintage Wines - Of wines of high character. Used principally of Ports, Clarets, Burgundies, and Sauternes; shipped under their respective years.
Well-succeeded - (Fr. Tres re'ussi): a term to express the fact that a given wine displays the best characteristics of its particular growth, and has fulfilled the expectation., formed of it.
Woody - A wine may become tainted from a defective or rotten stave in the cask. If discovered early enough the wine may be saved by racking of into a clean, well-sulphured cask.
Worn (or tired) - Of Brandy: from being too
long in cask. Also of Clarets, etc., that have been left too long in battle.
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