A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Acetic
Wines are described as acetic when they have excessive levels of acetic acid. Acetic wines can be identified by the presence of unpleasant vinegar aromas.
Acetic Acid
Acetic acid, vinegar's key ingredient, is formed when the alcohol in wine is exposed to oxygen and the Acetobacter bacteria. All wines contain some level of acetic acid, and unless it is excessive, is unnoticeable. At low levels, acetic acid is thought by some to enhance wine's flavor by providing "lift" and complexity. Winemakers combat acetic acid by maintaining clean conditions in the winery and by limiting the developing wines exposure to oxygen. Acetic acid is the dominate volatile acid (more easily vaporized) found in wine.
Acidity
Acidity creates a sense of freshness and crispness in wine and is a critical element of a wine's structure. Too much acidity and wine will taste sharp, tart or sour, too little and the wine will taste flat or flabby.

As grapes ripen, sugar levels increase and acid levels decrease. Excessively hot climates or years can result in grapes with very high sugar levels and very low acid levels with the result being flabby, high alcohol wines. Cool climates or years can result in the opposite: thin and tart wines.

The primary acids found in wine are tartaric, malic and lactic with smaller amounts of citric and succinic acids also present. Tartaric and malic acids are present in grapes and lactic acids result from a winemaking process called malolactic fermentation (converting the sharper malic acids to the softer lactic acids). The sour tasting tartaric acid has the largest effect on the taste of the wine and is measured to determine the wines titratable acidity (loosely consider total acidity). Another related measure of a wine's acidity is pH. While titratable acidity measures the amount of acid present and is perceptible to the drinker, pH measures the strength of the acid and is larger unnoticeable. Very ripe grapes can result in wines with high pH readings (low acidity) and are susceptible to spoilage. Wines with higher acidity, lower pH, also require fewer sulfites to stabilize the wine.

Titrable acidity (TA) and pH are routinely published by winemakers (Twisted Oak Winery's "Geek Sheet Cheat Sheets" provide some of the most informative and best formatted data available). Optimal titratable acidity for red wine is approximately .60 to .80 and .65 to .85 for white wine. Optimal pH levels are 3.4 for red wine and 3.1-3.2 for white wines.
Acrid
Acrid is used to describe a wine that is harsh, bitter or unpleasantly pungent.
Aftertaste
Aftertaste, or finish, is used to describe the flavors perceived on the palate after wine is spit or swallowed. Quality wines usually have a long, pleasant aftertaste.
Aging/Cellaring
Wine is routinely aged, both before and after bottling, to enhance its flavors, soften tannins and integrate flavors. Both red and white wines can improve with bottle aging, but many whites and some reds (depending on grape variety, quality, balance and style) should be consumed shortly after release. Most of the soft and fruity red wines produced in the U.S. in the $10 to $25 should be drank within five years of its vintage date. In addition to consulting vintage charts available online, many wineries and wine reviewers provide aging information. Wine should be aged in a location free of sunlight, with temperature between 55 and 65 degrees and humidity between 55% and 85%. The bottles should be stored on their side to keep the cork moist and prevent air from entering the bottle.
American Viticulture Area (AVA)
In the U.S., grape growing appellations are referred to as American Viticultural Areas (AVA). Unlike the French appellation system, AVAs only apply to the grapes' origin. There are almost 200 AVAs with over half of them being located in California. AVAs range in size from the gigantic Ohio River Valley whose 16 million acres span across Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia to the tiny Cole Ranch in Mendocino County whose 150 acres contains a single vineyard. Some AVAs are stand-alone regions while others overlap or are contained within larger AVAs.
Angular
Angular is used to describe tart-tasting wines that seem to have edges rather than a soft roundness. Angular wines often result from grapes that fail to achieve necessary ripeness.
Appellation
An appellation is geographic region used to identify where the grapes used to produce a wine were grown. In the U.S., grape growing appellations are referred to as American Viticultural Areas (AVA). Unlike the French appellation system, AVAs only apply to the grapes' origin. There are almost 200 AVAs with over half of them being located in California. AVAs range in size from the gigantic Ohio River Valley whose 16 million acres span across Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia to the tiny Cole Ranch in Mendocino County whose 150 acres contains a single vineyard. Some AVAs are stand-alone regions while others overlap or are contained within larger AVAs.
Approachable
Approachable wines are enjoyable with no harsh flavors or textures.
Aroma
A wine's aroma is basically its smell. Traditionally, the smell of younger wines is referred to as the wine's aroma and the smell of aged wines is referred to as the wine's bouquet.
Aromatic
Aromatic wines have strong, expressive aromas.
Astringent
Astringent wines are especially tannic and create a drying, puckering sensation in the mouth. Young, red wines are typically astringent and normally become less so as they age.
Austere
Austere wines are relatively hard and lack expressiveness and roundness. Fruit flavors, if evident, are restrained, and tannins or acids may dominate. Austere wines may open up with aging.
Backward
Similar to austere wines, backward wines are undeveloped, closed and not yet ready to drink.
Balance
A wine is considered to be well balanced when its structural and flavor components (alcohol, sugar, acid, tannin and fruit concentration) are in proportion. When one or more component dominates, the wine is often described with terms such as hot, cloying, acidic, astringent, flabby, etc. Quality wines will always be well balanced, or at least will have the ability to become well balanced with age.
Barnyard
Wines with aromas similar to those found on farms and in barns are often referred to as having barnyard aromas. Barnyard aromas are often the result of a wild yeast call brettanomyces, or brett for short. Brett can also result in sweaty leather-type flavors. Brett's presence at low levels is generally, but not universally, considered a positive attribute as it adds an earthy complexity to wine.
Barrel Aging
Barrel aging adds complexity to wine by imparting flavors, primarily spice, and contributes to the wine's structure by allowing for very slight oxidation.
Barrel Fermentation
With barrel fermentation, the grape juice is converted into wine within oak barrels, vice within stainless steel tanks. Barrel fermentation is primarily used with full-body white wines to impart creamy vanilla and spice flavors.
Bentonite
Bentonite, a fining agent, is a type of clay used to clarify wine. Bentonite is added to a tank or bottle of wine, and as it settles to the bottom, attaches to various solids suspended within the wine.
Big
The term "big" is used to refer to a wine that is full-bodied and has intense, concentrated flavors. Hot climate regions that produce ripe grapes with high sugar levels often result in big wines.
Biodynamic
Biodynamics is a way of farming in which the farm is viewed as a living system. In 1924 Dr. Rudolf Steiner presented a series of lectures in which he presented the farm as a living, self-contained and self-sustaining organism. Biodynamics also sees the farm in the context of the wider pattern of lunar and cosmic rhythms. According to Steiner, farms have the ability to maintain and vitality without external and unnatural additions such as pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Demeter, the organization responsible for certifying vineyards as biodynamic, was created in 1928 to support and promote Steiner's agricultural methods.

According to Demeter, "In addition to the requirements of organic certification, Biodynamic standards include a biodiversity set aside of 10% of total land, rigorous processing standards that emphasize minimal product manipulation, and perhaps most importantly whole farm certification (versus a particular crop or area). It is the highest paradigm of sustainable farming, offering one of the smallest carbon footprints of any agricultural method."

Biodynamics has created significant discussion within the winemaking industry. Adherents, and some studies, report that it results in better soil quality and more complex wines. Critics point to practices such as filling cow horns with cow manure, fermenting heads of yarrow in a stag's bladder and fermenting oak bark in the skull of a domestic animal as little more than vineyard witchcraft. There are currently over 100 U.S. vineyards and wineries that are growing or using biodynamically grown grapes in their winemaking.
Bitter
Bitterness is one of the basic taste sensation and, at appropriate levels, is essential for a wine's balance. Bitterness is experienced as an astringent, biting sensation similar to that experienced when eating very dark chocolate. Bitterness is normally caused by a high level of tannins originating from the grapes themselves or from excessive oak exposure.
Blind Tasting
Blind tasting refers to tasting wines without having complete knowledge of the wine being tasted. In some blind tastings nothing is known about the wine whereas in others, basic regional or vaarietal information is known. The purpose of blind tastings is to prevent bias or expectations (based on price, producer, etc.) from influencing a taster's evaluation of the wine.
Body
Body refers to a wine's sense of weight and fullness on the palate and is directly related to the wine's alcohol and extract levels. Although not usually as dramatic, the difference between light- and full-bodied wines is similar to the difference between skim and full milk.
Botrytis Cineria
Botrytis cineria is a fungus that routinely results in "noble rot." In the right conditions, the fungus dehydrates the grape without causing undesirable rot and sugars become super-concentrated. The grapes are used to produce exceptional desert wines, including the best known from Sauternes in France.
Bottle Shock
Bottle shock is also known as bottle sickness and is frequently caused when wines are exposed to excessive vibration or shaking during travel. The condition, marked by disjointedness and muted fruit flavors, is temporary and usually dissipates within a couple of days. For those shipping or traveling with wine, its always advised to give the wine a few days to settle down before opening.
Bouquet
The term "bouquet" is traditionally used to refer to the complex smells developed by aged wines.
Boutique Winery
Similar to other types of "boutique" stores, boutique wineries are normally small wineries that place a very high value on quality and customer service. The combination of small size, high quality and superior service routinely results in relatively higher prices. In today's wine market, the term is significantly overused and largely meaningless.
Breath
Allowing a wine to breath, i.e. aerate, is the process of exposing wine to oxygen/air prior to drinking to release aromas, soften tannins, and integrate flavors. Decanting, in addition to allowing a wine to breath, also removes any sediment that may be present in the bottle. Removing the cork from a bottle of wine does not count as allowing a wine to breath; the miniscule surface area of the wine exposed to air by doing so is insufficient for the benefits of breathing to occur.
Brettanomyces
Brettanomyces, brett for short, is a wild yeast that results in wines having gamey, barnyard and/or band-aid aromas. Brett can also result in sweaty leather-type flavors. Brett's presence at low levels is generally, but not universally, considered a positive attribute as it adds an earthy complexity to wine.
Briary
Briary wines have flavors reminiscent of wild shrubs. The flavors are often described as woodsy and stemmy. In addition, briary wines often exhibit wild berry and pepper flavors.
Bright
The term "bright" is used to describe wines whose fruit flavors are fresh and attention grabbing. The term can be used to describe both fruit flavors and acidity. In either case, wines described as bright are often crisp and refreshing.
Brix
Brix is a unit of measurement used to approximate the amount of sugar (primarily glucose and fructrose) in a grape must. Because sugar is the primary solid in a grape must, and because brix measures the percent of soluble solids in a solution, the brix percentage is roughly equal to the sugar percentage. Approximately half of the sugar in a grape must is converted to alcohol, therefore, a wine's final alcohol content can be estimated based on the must's brix reading.
Browning
The browning of a wine due to aging indicates that a wine is at or past its peak. Both red and white wines turn brown as they age due to the effects of oxidation. The brown tint is best viewed along the wines edge as it is tilted in a wine glass.
Buttery
Unlike other wine terms that are a little abstract, the term "buttery" is used to describe wines that are, well, buttery. The buttery aromas and flavors and rich, smooth, soft and somewhat oily texture is the result of a flavor compound called diacetyl. Diacetyl is produced during fermentation, especially malolactic fermentation. Chardonnay, due to it rather blank-slate nature, is most commonly associated with diacetyl and buttery flavors. Winemakers, critics and the bulk of the Chardonnay-buying consumers are in the process of establishing the market size for the various styles (ranging from light and crisp to big and buttery) of Chardonnay.
Carbonic Maceration
Carbonic maceration is a technique used reduce the tannins and increase the fruitiness of wines. Unlike standard wine fermentation in which the grapes are crushed and the grape juice and skins ferment while in contact with each other, carbonic maceration leaves the grapes intact and lets the grapes ferment from within. The process is referred to as carbonic maceration because carbon dioxide soaks into (macerates) the whole grapes and initiates fermentation from within the grapes.
Chaptalization
Chaptalization is the process of adding sugar to the must to increase a wine's final alcohol level. Because sugar is converted to alcohol during fermentation, unripe grapes (with low sugar levels) result in low alcohol (less than 10%), thin, flavorless wines. Chaptalization is generally legal in colder climates (Long Island, New York, Oregon) where full ripening can be a problem but is illegal in warmer climates such as California. Although chaptalization increases a wine's body and adds to its balance, wines that have undergone chaptalization routinely lack the varietal character that results from well developed, ripe grapes.
Chewy
Chewy is one of those wine terms that makes wine novices question the sanity, or at least sobriety, of wine critics. The concept behind chewy is that some wines are so thick, rich and tannic that they must be chewed before being swallowed.
Cigarbox
The term "cigarbox" is used to describe wines that have tobacco and cedar aromas.
Clone
Clones are a group of vines originating from the same parent plant, propagated through cuttings and genetically identical. Clones are used to reproduce the prized characteristics of the parent vine.
Cloudy
The presence of particles such as spent yeast, if not removed through filtering or fining, can give wines a cloudy appearance and undesirable flavors.
Cloying
Wines are normally described as cloying when the wine's sweetness is not balanced by adequate acidity.
Complexity
Complexity refers to the multiple aromas and flavors detected in a wine and is one of the primary indicators of quality. In addition to multiple fruit flavors, complex wines often exhibit earth and spice aromatics. Most soft and fruity bargain wines display rich fruit flavors but have limited complexity.
Concentrated
The term "concentrated" is normally used to refer to rich fruit flavors. Light-, medium- and full-bodied wines can all display concentrated flavors. Concentrated fruit flavors are in contrast to diluted, watered-down fruit flavors.
Corked/Cork Taint
Cork taint is a wine fault caused by the presence of the chemical compound 2,4,6-trichloroanisole (TCA). TCA routinely enters wine through a TCA-infected cork, but entire wineries (barrels, drain pipes, rubber hoses, etc.) can also be infected with TCA. TCA-infected wines, which are harmless to drink, display very muted fruit flavors and a moldy, wet cardboard smell. Depending on the degree of the infection and the taster's perceptiveness to TCA, TCA can go unnoticed or result in an undrinkable bottle of wine. Cork taint is one of the major flaws that wine drinkers should be on the look out for when conducting the initial taste of a wine in a restaurant. Although nearly all restaurants say they will replace a corked bottle, it will largely depend on whether or not the waiter or sommelier agrees with your assessment that the wine is corked. Various studies have found that TCA infects anywhere from .7% to 8% of wines produced.
Creamy
The term "creamy" is used to describe wines that feel thick and viscous on the palate. Wines with relatively high levels of diacetyl resulting from malolactic fermentation often have a creamy feel as do Botrytis-infected desert wines.
Crisp
The term "crisp" is used to describe wines with relatively high levels of acidity. The acidity results in wines, usually white, that are fresh, lively, somewhat tart and food friendly. Grapes grown in cooler climates tend to have higher acidity levels. Albarino, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Roussanne and Sauvignon Blanc are examples of grapes with relatively high acidity that generally produce crisp-style wines. Marsanne, Semillion, Viognier and warm-climate Chardonnay tend to have lower acidity levels and usually result in softer, rounder wines.
Cult wines
Cult wines are characterized by high quality (routinely indicated by wine critics scores at or near 100), limited supply, relatively large demand and high prices. Examples of wineries typically considered to produce cult wines include Screaming Eagle, Levy & McClellan, Bryant Family Vineyards, Abreu, Sloan, Colgin Cellars, Sine Qua Non, Hundred Acre, Harlan Estate and Marcassin.
Decanting
Decanting, in addition to allowing a wine to breath (releases aromas, softens tannins and integrates flavors) also removes any sediment that may be present in the bottle. Removing the cork from a bottle of wine does not count as allowing a wine to breath; the miniscule surface area of the wine exposed to air by doing so is insufficient for the benefits of breathing to occur.
Delicate
Wines with light tannins and subtle, but pleasant, aromas and flavors are often referred to as delicate.
Depth
The term "depth" is commonly used to describe two different concepts. Some wine writers use the term as a synonym for concentration to describe the wine's richness, extract and body. Other wine writers use the term to describe a wine's sense of verticality created by high acidity levels.
Diurnal Temperature Variation
The change in temperature between the warmest and coolest times of the day. A large temperature variation is particularly important in hot climates, where cool nights provide the opportunity for the ripening process and acid retention to keep pace with the sugar accumulation that occurs during the hotter day temperatures.
Dry
The term "dry" is used to refer to wines that have no perceptible sweetness (although they may actually contain very low levels of residual sugar). High levels of tannins can also be referred to as "dry" due to the resulting texture. Just to keep things interesting, when it comes to sparkling wines, the term dry indicates that the wine is sweet. Dry Champagne is referred to as Brut, Extra Brut and Brut Nature while semi-sweet Champagnes are referred to as demi-sec (medium dry), sec (dry), and extra dry.
Earthy
The term "earthy" is used to describe wines that have flavors or aromas that give the impression of minerals, soil, stone, mushroom or dry leaves. In the right proportions, earthy flavors can add complexity and interest to a wine. An excess of earthy flavors usually results in a wine that is lacking fruit flavors.
Elegant
The term "elegant" is usually used to describe wines that emphasis finesse over power. These wines are normally complex, very well made, light to medium body with light to moderate extraction and tannins.
Enology
Enology is the American spelling of oenology, the science or study of wine making (viniculture).
Extract
A wine's extract is comprised of its non-volatile compounds such as acids, alcohols, sugars, polyphenols and tannins that contribute to the wine's body, flavor, style and color.
Farm Winery
In addition to selling fruits and vegetables, a farm winery is licensed to produce and sell wine on-site. Various states have passed farm winery acts which normally require a certain percentage of the wines be produced from fruit grown on the farm.
Fat
Similar to fleshy, the term "fat" is usually used in a positive sense to describe rich, full-bodied, chewy wines. When wines become too fat, they are called flabby, which is not a positive term.
Fermentation
With regards to wine, fermentation is the process in which the sugar within wine grapes is converted to alcohol by yeast.
Field Blend
Wines are referred to as field blends when several different grape varieties from the same vineyard are harvested and blended together.
Filtering
Wines are routinely filtered immediately before bottling to remove suspended particles such as yeast cells, bacteria, proteins, and fining particles. Many winemakers filter their wines if they think the wine would benefit, while other winemakers either always or never filter their wines. Advocates of filtering assert that filtered wines are cleaner, clearer, fruitier and more stable. Critics of filtering often support the idea of natural, minimal intervention winemaking and claim that filtering strips the wine of some of its character, complexity and flavor. Wineries that produce at least one unfiltered wine can be found in the AmericanWineryGuide.com database by selecting the "Unfiltered" attribute.
Fining
Fining refers to a wine finishing process in which a fining agent, such as bentonite, egg whites or gelatin, is used to remove haziness, reduce tannins and/or remove unstable proteins. Fining agents are added to a tank or bottle of wine, and as they settle to the bottom, attach themselves to various solids suspended within the wine. Winemakers who place a high value on the idea of making natural, minimal intervention wines typical do not fine their wines claiming that flavors and aromas are removed during the process. Wineries that produce at least one unfined wine can be found in the AmericanWineryGuide.com database by selecting the "Unfined" attribute.
Finish
Finish, or aftertaste, is used to describe the flavors perceived on the palate after wine is spit or swallowed. Quality wines usually have a long, pleasant finish.
Firm
Wine's described as firm typically have substantial but not overpowering tannins. The term describes a wine's texture and is used to indicate that a wine has a somewhat hard, vice soft, mouthfeel.
Flabby
Flabby wines are excessively soft due to relatively low acid levels. Flabby wines provide no sense of structure ir depth and feel heavy on the tongue.
Fleshy
Similar to fat, the term "fleshy" is usually used in a positive sense to describe rich, full-bodied, chewy wines.
Flinty
The term "flinty" is used to describe a wine with mineral aromas similar to those experienced when flint is struck against steel. The term is most commonly associated with Sauvignon Blanc that originates from limestone soils such as those of Chablis and Sancerre in France.
Floral/Flowery
The terms "floral" and "flowery" are used to describe wines that have floral aromas. White wines such as Viognier, Riesling, and Pinot Gris often have floral aromas. Common floral aromas include heather, hibiscus, honeysuckle, and orange blossom. On occasion, floral elements can be detected in red wines with some of the the most common being roses, carnations and violets.
Foxy
The term "foxy" is used to describe wines that have a musky, grapey aromas and flavors. Wines made from native American vitis labrusca grapes such as Concord and Catawba often exhibit foxy characteristics.
Fruit Bomb
Fruit bomb is a relatively new term used to describe very soft and fruity wines; it is used as both a criticism and as a compliment. For those that appreciate soft tannins, low acidity, rich fruit flavors and the ability to enjoy a new wine without cellaring, fruit bombs are ideal. For those that appreciate complex, structured, light- to medium-bodied, food friendly wines that have the potential to age, fruit bombs are California's curse on the wine industry.
Fruit Bomb
Fruit bomb is a relatively new term used to describe very soft and fruity wines; it is used as both a criticism and as a compliment. For those that appreciate soft tannins, low acidity, rich fruit flavors and the ability to enjoy a new wine without cellaring, fruit bombs are ideal. For those that appreciate complex, structured, light- to medium-bodied, food friendly wines that have the potential to age, fruit bombs are California's curse on the wine industry.
Fruity
Fruity is a broad term used to describe wines with dominant clean, bright fruit flavors. Floral, earthy, spicy and herbal flavors are usually undetectable in fruity wines.
Full-bodied
The term "full-bodied" is used to describe a wine that has a relatively high alcohol content and has a substantial feel on the palate. In addition, because high alcohol content is due to high sugar levels in ripe grapes, full-bodied wines also tend to be rich and concentrated.
Funky
The term "funky" is normally used to describe wines that have unique or strange, but not necessarily disagreeable, smells or flavors. Wines with herbal, yeasty and barnyard characteristics are frequently described as funky.
Gamey
The term "gamey" is used to describe wines that have flavors reminiscent of wild game birds or animals. Brettanomyces are typically responsible for creating the gamey flavors, and if not overpowering, generally add desirable complexity to the wine.
Grafting
Grafting is the process of splicing together budwood with a rootstock. Grafting is typically done to create a phylloxera-resistant vitis vinifera vine. Most native American or hybrid rootstocks are phylloxera-resistant while most vitis vinifera (e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, Syrah, etc.) rootstock is not. By grafting vitis vinifera budwood onto American or hybrid rootstocks, vitis vinifera grapes can be grown in phylloxera-occupied locations.
Grip
The term "grip" refers to a feeling of traction that tannins create on a taster's tongue, i.e. wines with light tannins are smooth and easily pass over your tongue while wines with heavier tannins seem to grip your tongue as they pass over it.
Hard
Wines are considered to be hard when their tannins or acids are out of proportion resulting in an abrasive, difficult to drink wine. Exceptionally hard wines are routinely called harsh.
Harmonious
Wines are described as harmonious when they are well balanced and the structure and flavors compliment each other exceptionally well.
Herbaceous
Wines are referred to as herbaceous when flavors and aromas of herbs such as basil, thyme, mint, sage, oregano, and rosemary are present.
Hollow
As a wine is tasted, it should have a consistent feeling of fullness and weight. Wines are typically referred to as hollow when they start and end strong but are lacking in flavor and/or structure in the midpalate.
Honeyed
Desert wines that have been affected by noble rot routinely exhibit aromas and flavors of honey.
Horizontal Wine Tasting
In a horizontal wine tasting, all the wines are from the same vintage and may or may not be from the same region or of the same variety. Horizontal tasting is usually used to compare wines produced from various regions or wineries during a particular year.
Hot
Wines are described as hot when their alcohol content is out of proportion with the rest of the wine's components and a slight burning sensation can be detected in the back of the throat.
Hybrid
Hybrid grape vines are created by crossing two different species. Hybrids can happen naturally through cross-pollination, but most are intentionally created in an attempt to combine attributes of two different species-typically in an attempt to overcome harmful climatic conditions. Examples of American hybrids include Catawba, Deleware, Isabella and Niagara. French hybrids include Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc and Baco Noir.
Ice Wine
Ice wine is a desert wine produced from frozen grapes. Grapes are allowed to freeze on the vine before being harvested and immediately pressed. The frozen water that was in the grapes is left behind resulting in high sugar levels and concentrated flavors.
Integrated
The term "integrated" is used to describe wines whose components (tannins, acids, alcohol) are not experienced as unique and distinct aspects of the wine. Similar to harmonious wines, well-integrated wines have components that meld together to form a complimentary whole.
Intensity
Intensity is similar to concentration. Both terms are related to attention-grabbing, vibrant aromas and flavors.
Jammy
The term "jammy" refers to ripe, concentrated wines with thick fruit flavors. Jammy is used as a complement by those preferring intense new-world styled wines and is often used as a criticism by those preferring the subtlety and food friendliness of old-world styled wines.
Kosher Wine
Kosher wines are those that are handled only by Sabbath-observant Jews. In addition, kosher winemakers are forbidden to use any products, such as unauthorized yeasts or animal-based fining agents that might fall outside the parameters of kosher convention and thus compromise the ritual essence of the wine. Early production of Kosher wines in the U.S. relied primarily on Concord grapes and required various amounts of residual sugar to make them palatable, but no anymore. A new generation of winemakers around the world are making award-winning kosher wines from vitis vinifera grapes such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Wineries that produce kosher wines can be found by selecting the kosher filter on the Winery Search page.
Lactic acid
Lactic acid is a byproduct of the fermentation process and is one of the many acids that contribute to a wine's overall acidity. Lactic acid is also created by a process called malolactic fermentation in which the harsher malic acid is converted to the softer lactic acid.
Late Harvest Wine
Late harvest wine is made from grapes that have been picked as late as possible. These late harvested grapes have shriveled, due to losing most of their water content and have very high sugar levels. In addition, some of these grapes become infected with noble rot. The resulting wine is luscious, sweet and honeyed.
Lean
Wines described as lean typically display subdued flavors and have a thin, angular feeling on the palate.
Lees
Lees refers to both the solid particles suspended in the wine must after crushing or pressing and the sediment (dead yeast, grape seeds, fining particles and other solids) that accompanies fermentation and fining. Wines, particularly whites, left in contact with the lees typically become more complex and full-bodied. Wine is removed from the lees through racking.
Legs
After a glass of wine is swirled, tracks of liquid, commonly referred to as legs or tears, can be observed descending down the sides of the glass. Because the legs are caused by the wine's alcohol and/or glycerol levels, thick, slowly descending legs typically indicate a wine with a relatively high alcohol level. The legs have no bearing on a wine's quality.
Length
The term "length" refers to the amount of time that a wine's aftertaste or finish is perceptible to the drinker. Wines with good length are typically enjoyed for ten seconds or more after they leave the mouth.
Library Wine
Not to be confused with wine consumed in the presence of books, library wines are those from a previous vintage that are still available for purchase from the winery.
Light
The term "light" is used to describe a wine's body as well as its texture. For certain varieties a sense of lightness would be expected whereas in others it would be regarded as a flaw.
Lively
Lively wines exhibit a fruity freshness and exuberance typically due to good acidity levels.
Lush
Lush wines are soft, velvety and concentrated.
Maceration
Maceration is the process of maintaining contact between the must and the grape skins and seeds in order to transfer phenolic compounds associated with tannins, color and flavors/aromas to the resulting wine.
Magnum
A bottle holding 1.5 liters, the equivalent of two standard bottles.
Malic acid
Malic and tartaric acid are the two main acids in wine. Malic acid has a tangy, tart flavor and usually makes up about 30 to 35 percent of a wine's total acidity. Malic acid is routinely converted to the softer lactic acid through malolactic fermentation.
Malolactic Fermentation
In malolactic fermentation, also referred to as ML and secondary fermentation, the harsh and tart malic acid is converted into the softer, more creamy lactic acid with an accompanying increase in complexity and decrease in acidity. Unlike the initial fermentation in which yeasts convert sugar to alcohol, malolactic bacteria is the cause of secondary fermentation.
Massive
Massive wines are exceptionally ripe, concentrated, full-bodied wines.
Meaty
Similar to "chewy" wines, meaty wines are thick, rich and tannic and almost must be chewed to be consumed.
Meritage
The term "Meritage" was coined in 1998 and is a combination of the words "merit" and "heritage" and rhymes with heritage. The term is registered with the U.S. Department of Trademarks and Patents and is used to describe U.S. produced Bordeaux-style red and white blends. For reds, permitted varieties are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Carmenere and Malbec; for whites, Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadelle and Sémillon.
Micro-oxygenation
Micro-oxygenation is the process in which very low levels of oxygen are fed into stainless-steel fermentation tanks to simulate the oxidation that wines receive when they are barrel aged. Micro-oxygenation is commonly used to soften wines and to reduce costs. Proponents consider it to be another tool to make quality wines at a reasonable price while opponents view it as another technical intrusion into the traditional art of winemaking.
Microclimate
A microclimate is a relatively small area within a larger climate in which temperatures, winds and exposure to sunlight are distinctly different. In the U.S., microclimates typically allow for the growing of cool climate grapes in generally warm climate areas such as California.
Mid-palate
Wine tasting proceeds from initial flavors (entry), to the mid-palate, to the finish. A quality wine should have pleasant and consistent presentation from start to finish. Some fruit-forward wines start out strong and fade through the mid-palate and finish, while hollow wines are strong on the front and back, but lack depth and flavor on the mid-palate as the wine is held in the mouth.
Muscadine
Muscadine is a grape variety native to the southeastern U.S. that produces strong, musky wines.
Must
Must is the hodge-podge of whole grapes and/or clusters, grape skins, grape seeds and juice that will be transformed into wine through fermentation.
Native Yeast
Displays wineries that produce at least one wine relying exclusively on the use of native/wild yeast. Native yeast is found naturally on grape skins. Depending on various factors, winemakers can choose to use these natural yeasts or commercial yeasts for fermentation. Proponents claim that the use of natural yeast limits manual intervention in the winemaking process and allows terroir to be expressed. Opponents claim that natural yeasts, which can result in stuck fermentations and unpleasant aromas and flavors, often prevent winemakers from making the best possible wine.
Native/Wild Yeast
Native yeast is found naturally on grape skins. Depending on various factors, winemakers can choose to use these natural yeasts or commercial yeasts for fermentation. Proponents claim that the use of natural yeast limits manual intervention in the winemaking process and allows terroir to be expressed. Opponents claim that natural yeasts, which can result in stuck fermentations and unpleasant aromas and flavors, often prevent winemakers from making the best possible wine. To find wineries that make at least one wine using native yeasts, select the Winery Search's "Native Yeast" filter.
Negociant
Negociants are wine merchants that either buys juice (fermented or unfermented), usually from smaller growers, that are matured, blended, bottled and shipped or buy grapes and produce their own wine from scratch.
New World Wine
New world wine is used to describe both a wine's place of origin and its style. Geographically, new world wines primarily originate from North and South America, Australia and New Zealand. These wines are generally produced in warmer climates for an audience that has become accustomed to big and bold flavors. Many wine critics have argue that today's competitive global wine market has led style to trump origin as increasing numbers of geographic old world wineries produce wines in a new world style. The ascendancy of the new world style, often blamed on the influence of wine critics such as Robert Parker, has resulted in a backlash of sorts that has led many winemakers to move towards more of a subtle, food-friendly, old world style.
Noble Rot
Noble rot is caused by the fungus botrytis cinerea. In the right conditions, the fungus dehydrates the grape without causing undesirable rot and sugars become super-concentrated. The grapes are used to produce exceptional desert wines, including the best known from Sauternes in France.
Nose
A wine's "nose" is its aroma or bouquet.
Oak Barrels
Oak barrels, primarily French and American, are used for wine aging, and sometimes fermentation. Oak barrels increase a wine's complexity by adding oak, vanilla, smoke, and spice flavors and allow for low-level, controlled oxidation. This low-level oxidation is also critical for building the wine's structure, intensifying its color and softening its tannins. French and American oak are the two most commonly used types of barrels. American oak tends to add significant aromas but has a relatively small impact on the wine's structure. French barrels tend to add more structure to the wine but relatively less oak aromatics.
Oak Chips
Oak chips provide winemakers the ability to add oak flavors and complexity without the incurring the costs associated with oak barrel aging. Because oak chips don't provide the maturation benefits that oak barrel aging does, other techniques such as micro-oxygenation are used to oxidize and soften the wine.
Oaky
The term "oaky" is used to describe the oak-related flavors that wine obtains through its contact with oak. Excessive use of oak or oak substitutes can overwhelm a wine's fruit flavors and is considered a flaw.
Oenology
Oenology is the science or study of wine making (viniculture).
Oenophile
An oenophile is someone who enjoys wine and is usually considered a wine aficionado or connoisseur.
Off-dry
Off-dry refers to wines that minimal, but noticeable, amounts of residual sugar.
Old Vine
Older vines are generally recognized as having the potential to produce wines of exceptional quality and distinction. But, similar to the term "reserve", the term "old vine" is not regulated and can be used by nearly anyone, regardless of the age of the vines. The term is most commonly associated with 50 to 100 year old California Zinfandel vines.
Old World Wine
Old world wine is used to describe both a wine's place of origin and its style. Geographically, old world wines originate from Europe with the best examples being France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Austria and Switzerland. These wines are generally produced in cooler climates for an audience that has a long tradition of pairing wine and food. Whereas new world style wines are known for their boldness, old world wines are known for their subtlety. Many wine critics argue that today's competitive global wine market has led style to trump origin as increasing numbers of geographic old world wineries produce wines in a new world style. The ascendancy of the new world style, often blamed on the influence of wine critics such as Robert Parker, has resulted in a backlash of sorts that has led many winemakers to move towards more of a subtle, food-friendly, old world style.
Organic
Wines in the U.S. can either be labeled as "organic wines" or as "made from organically grown grapes." The AmericanWineryGuide.com provides both an "Organic Wine" and "Made from Organic Grapes" filter. To be labeled as an organic wine, the wine must be made from organically grown grapes (no synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides and no fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge, bioengineering or ionizing radiation) and have no added sulfites. Organic products in the United States are regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in accordance with the 1990 Organic Food and Production Act (OFPA). The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) establishes the standards for organic products, and the National Organic Program (NOP) administers the program through the use of private, public or non-profit "accredited certifying agents" (ACA).
Over Cropped
Over cropped vines carry an excessive amount of grape clusters. The excessive number of grapes per vine prevent adequate grape ripening, resulting in thin, vegetal wine and poor vine health. Over cropping is prevented and corrected through proper pruning.
Overripe
Overripe grapes result from excessive time on the vine and/or heat spikes at the end of the growing season. Overripe grapes have high sugar levels and low acid levels often resulting in flat, heavy wines.
Oxidization
Wine undergoes oxidation when it is exposed air (oxygen). The process normally takes several hours to occur and results in a flat, stale wine with limited fruit flavors and a darker color. Left for long enough, and in the presence of the Acetobacter bacteria, acetic acid (vinegar) results.
Palate
Palate refers to a wine drinker's sense of taste - to include taste, smell and feel.
Phylloxera
Phylloxera is a tiny insect that kills grape vines by sucking the nutrients out of the roots. In the 1860s, the insect was transferred to Europe on U.S. vine cuttings and destroyed vast amounts of vitis vinifera vineyards. To counter the insect, vitis vinefera vines are usually grafted onto indigenous American, phylloxera-resistant vitis labrusca rootstock. Non-grafted vines can still be found in places such as eastern Washington, where the climate and high levels of sand in the soil limit the impact of the insect.
Physiological Ripeness
Physiological ripeness, also known as phenolic ripeness, refers to the ripening of a grape's skins, seeds and stems. When physiological ripeness is not attained, the grapes tannins will result in harsh, herbaceous flavors. Physiological ripeness is related to, but separate from, sugar ripeness. In warm areas, grapes often reach sugar ripeness prior to physiological ripeness. To ensure physiological ripeness, winemakers are sometimes forced to allow sugar levels to continue to increase beyond optimal levels. The resulting wine is normally full-bodied with very high-alcohol levels and low acidity.
Pierce's Disease
Pierce's disease is a bacterium spread by insects such as the glassy-winged sharpshooter. The bacteria is inject into the sap of grapevines, and other plants, by the sharpshooter as it feeds on vine vegetation. The bacterium eventually blocks the movement of water and kills the vine. In recent years, the disease has caused the replanting of hundreds of acres of Californian grape vines and has caused tens of millions of dollars of damage in the Temecula Valley.
Plonk
The term "plonk" refers to cheap, inexpensive, low quality and poor tasting wine.
Plump
Plump wines are soft and full-bodied, but not quite fat.
Port
Port is a fortified wine produced from grapes grown in the terraced vineyards of Portugal's Douro region. During England's war with France in the late 17th century, England began shipping wines from Portugal. It was found that adding brandy during fermentation halted fermentation and resulted in a wine with about 10% residual sugar and an alcohol content of approximately 20%. The wine not only tasted good but was also better able to survive the journey to England. Ports come in several different styles and are copied the world over.
Pump-Over
Pumping over is a red wine fermentation cap management technique that involves the use of a pump to push fermenting must from the bottom of the vessel over the top of the fermentation cap. Pumping over, similar to other cap management techniques such as punch-downs, keep the cap cool and wet enough to complete fermentation and maintain sufficient contact between the grape skins and the fermenting must.
Punt
The indentation at the base of a wine bottle. The origins and original purpose of the punt are still in dispute, and their continued presence is more a matter of tradition and consistency than anything else.
Quality-Price Ratio (QPR)
The quality-price ratio is used to compare a wines quality to its price. Wines with a high quality to price ratio represent good values. Some reviewers calculate an actual QPR number or percentage by using a wine's score on a 100 point scale and the wine's price. Others use the term in a more generic manner describing the wine as having an excellent or poor QPR.
Racking
Racking is the process of transferring wine from one container to another to clarify the wine by separating it from the lees.
Residual Sugar
Residual sugar is the sugar that is not converted to alcohol and remains in the wine after fermentation.
Rich
Wines described as "rich" have pleasantly strong aromas, flavors and texture.
Riddling
Riddling is the process of rotating and tilting sparkling wines made in the Method Champenoise to collect the dead yeast sediment in the neck of the bottle. The sediment is then removed in a process called degorgement.
Rootstock
Roots of a grape variety (typically vitis labrusca) to which fruiting wood (typically vitis vinifera) is grafted. Rootstocks are usually chosen for their resistance to particular diseases or pests.
Rough
Wines described as "rough" typically have excessive and unpleasant tannins or acids.
Round
As the term implies, "round" wines have no sharp edges and have a full and smooth texture.
Rustic
Although there is no precise definition for "rustic" as it applies to wines, the general definition of "rustic" includes the notions of rural, simple and unsophisticated. While relating "simple" and "unsophisticated" to wine is fairly easy, "rural" is a little more difficult. Most wine drinkers feel that the rural nature of the term implies that the wine has characteristics (usually flavors and aromas) that are not common in the typical and popular "urban" wines. Depending on a person's view towards rural, simple and unsophisticated, rustic wines can either be charming or a little backward.
Screwcaps
Screwcaps are at the center of one of the biggest debates in the wine business. Overlooking the chemical intricacies surrounding different closure types and the benefits of each, many consumers associate screwcaps with cheap, inferior wine and/or enjoy the tradition and spectacle associated with the use of cork. Meanwhile, many consumers and producers who have wasted significant sums of money due to corked wines, support the use of alternative closures such as srewcaps.
Scuppernong
Scuppernong is a member of the Muscadine grape family and is native to the southeastern U.S. Wines made from scuppernong grapes have a rather unique and sweet flavor.
Sediment
Sediment is the small particles that accumulate in a bottle as it ages due to the interaction between bitartrates, tannins and color pigments. The sediment is harmless, although gritty and somewhat bitter, and should be removed through settling and decanting. Sediment is commonly found in older red wines, Port and in some white wines.
Sharp
Similar to "rough", sharp wines typically have excessive acids. Wines with excessive tannins can also be described as sharp.
Short
Wines described as "short" have very little finish or aftertaste. For crisp, white wines, a short finish may be desirable, but for red wines, a short finish is usually an indicator of a lower quality wine..
Silky
Silky wines have a soft, smooth texture, completely lacking any harsh, angular characteristics.
Simple
Simple wines lack complexity. Simple wines can have either agreeable or disagreeable flavors and aromas.
Smoky
The term "smoky" is used to describe wines that display a smoke (usually wood) aroma due to barrel aging and/or soil of origin.
Soft
Soft wines have smooth tannins and low acidity and lack a sense of firmness.
Sommelier
Sommeliers are wine experts that typically work in restaurants and are responsible for selecting and serving wines that will compliment the restaurant's food.
Sour
The terms "acidic" or "tart" are usually used instead of the term sour to describe wines with excessive acid levels.
Spicy
The term "spicy" is used to describe wines that display aromas and flavors suggestive of spices such as clove, cinnamon, pepper, etc. The term is also used to describe wines that are lively, fresh and well structured.
Structure
The structure of a wine is determined by its body, texture, depth and length and the relationship between them.
Sugar Ripeness
Sugar ripeness refers to the condition when grapes have developed sufficient amounts of sugar to produce the desired style of wine. Sugar ripeness is related to, but separate from, physiological ripeness (the ripening of a grape's skins, seeds and stems). In warm areas, grapes often reach sugar ripeness prior to physiological ripeness. To ensure physiological ripeness, winemakers are sometimes forced to allow sugar levels to continue to increase beyond optimal levels. The resulting wine is normally full-bodied with very high-alcohol levels and low acidity.
Sulphur Dioxide
Sulpher dioxide's primary role in wine is to minimize the off-odors associated with oxidation. White wines and wines with high pH levels (low acidity) require higher levels of sulphur dioxide to counter oxidation's effects. Sulphur Dioxide, which can produce a struck-match smell in wines, is also added to crushed grapes to prevent the growth of, or kill, unwanted yeasts and bacteria that cause unpleasant odors and tastes. Due to consumer and producer interest in natural, additive-free wines, some producers create wines without the use of sulphur dioxide; only wines with no added sulfites (sulfite is produced naturally during fermentation) can be labeled as "organic wine". With regards to health issues associated with sulphur dioxide, the chemical can cause adverse reactions in asthmatics, and some wine drinkers, correctly or not, blame sulphur dioxide for causing wine headaches. Wines with no added sulfites can be located in AmericanWineryGuide.com database by selecting the "Organic Wine" filter.
Supple
Similar to silky wines, supple wines have a soft, fluid feel without harsh, angular characteristics.
Sur Lie
Sur lie translates to "on the lees" and refers to allowing wines to retain lees (dead yeast and grape particles) contact in the barrel during aging. Sur lie aging increases complexity and body and is often used with Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Sustainable
According to the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, sustainable winegrowing is "growing and winemaking practices that are sensitive to the environment (Environmentally Sound), responsive to the needs and interests of society-at-large (Socially Equitable), and are economically feasible to implement and maintain (Economically Feasible). The combination of these three principles is often referred to as the three "E's" of sustainability."
Sweetness
The sense of sweetness in a wine is determined primarily by the amount of residual sugar present. The wine's acidity, tannins and alcohol level also influence a drinker's perception of sweetness. Dry wines with very ripe fruit flavors or vanilla flavors from oak aging will often seem to have a slight touch of sweetness.
Table Wine
In the U.S., table wines are defined by the Bureau of Alcohol, tobacco and Firearms as wines that have between 7% and 14% alcohol. The term is also used throughout the world to refer to simple, cheaper, food friendly wines.
Tannins
Tannins are a basic structural component of red wine that is essential for proper aging (when balanced with acids and alcohol levels). Stems, leaves, grape seeds and grape skins all contribute to a wine's level of tannins. In addition, oak aging can increase the tannins in a wine. For the wine drinker, tannins contribute to a wine's sense of substance but can be bitter and mouth-drying in young wines but soften as a wines ages.
Tart
Tart wines are generally unpleasant wines that have high acidity levels usually due to the use of unripe grapes.
Tartaric Acid
Tartaric acid comprises the largest percentage of a grape's total acidity (approx. 50%) and is very sour. Tartaric acid often precipitates into harmless tartrate crystals that can be found on a wine's cork or at the bottom of the bottle.
Terroir
Terroir is the French term for the physical, climactic and geographical characteristics of a particular vineyard that provides a resultant wine its unique properties (sense of place). It is a hotly debated term, both its existence and its definition, particularly in the New World where winemakers have much greater latitude with regards to the winemaking techniques they use.
Texture
Texture is the "feel" that a wine has in the mouth and is a result of the relationship between acid, tannins and alcohol. Terms used to describe texture include lean, crisp, silky, round, supple and fat.
Thick
Similar to plump wines, thick wines are soft and full-bodied and typically display ripe fruit flavors.
Thin
Thin wines have a watery consistency with diluted fruit flavors.
Toasty
The term "toasty" is commonly used to describe a toasted bread taste detected in Chardonnays that have been aged in charred oak barrels.
Unfiltered
Wines are routinely filtered immediately before bottling to remove suspended particles such as yeast cells, bacteria, proteins, and fining particles. Many winemakers filter their wines if they think the wine would benefit, while other winemakers either always or never filter their wines. Advocates of filtering assert that filtered wines are cleaner, clearer, fruitier and more stable. Critics of filtering often support the idea of natural, minimal intervention winemaking and claim that filtering strips the wine of some of its character, complexity and flavor. Wineries that produce at least one unfiltered wine can be found in the AmericanWineryGuide.com database by selecting the "Unfiltered" attribute.
Unfined
Fining refers to a wine finishing process in which a fining agent, such as bentonite, egg whites or gelatin, is used to remove haziness, reduce tannins and/or remove unstable proteins. Fining agents are added to a tank or bottle of wine, and as they settle to the bottom, attach themselves to various solids suspended within the wine. Winemakers who place a high value on the idea of making natural, minimal intervention wines typical do not fine their wines claiming that flavors and aromas are removed during the process. Wineries that produce at least one unfined wine can be found in the AmericanWineryGuide.com database by selecting the "Unfined" attribute.
Unoaked
Unoaked, or naked, wines are those that have not had contact with oak. The recent emergence of a large number of unoaked wines is partly in response to the large number of over-oaked wines, particularly chardonnay, that saturated the market during the early 2000s.
Vanilla
The oak used for oak barrels contains significant quantities of vanillin, the main aroma component of natural vanilla. Aging wines in oak barrels, especially those with the right levels of toasting, results in a wine with vanilla aromas.
Varietal
Varietals are wines made from a single grape variety.
Variety
Variety refers to a specific type of grape (e.g. chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, merlot) within a species (e.g. vitis vinifera). Whereas most old world wines are labeled by region, U.S. wines are typically labeled by variety.
Vegetal
Vegetal refers to aromas or flavors that suggest vegetables such as bell peppers and asparagus. At minimal levels, vegetal flavors can add interest, but at levels where the vegetal flavors dominate, the tastes are generally unpleasant and likely the result of unripe grapes.
Velvety
Wines described as velvety are typically similar to those described as silky, but tend to be a bit richer. The wines texture reminds the drinker of the feel, not the taste, of velvet.
Veraison
The stage when grapes begin to soften and turn either yellow or red depending on the variety.
Vertical Wine Tasting
In a vertical tasting, different vintages of the same wine type from the same winery are tasted. This emphasizes differences between various vintages. In a horizontal tasting, the wines are all from the same vintage but are from different wineries.
Viniculture
The study or science of making wine. Viniculture is also referred to as enology/oenology.
Vinification
The process of converting grape juice into wine.
Vintage
A wine's vintage is the year in which the grapes were harvested. In the U.S., at least 95% of the grapes used must come from the vintage year listed on the bottle.
Vintner
A vintner is a person who makes or sells wine.
Viscous
Viscous wines are full-bodied and concentrated. The thickness of the wine coats the tongue and seems to slowly slide down the throat.
Viticulture
The study or science of grape growing.
Vitis Labrusca
Vitis labrusca is a vine species found primarily in the northeast U.S. and in Canada. The most common vitis labrusca grapes varieties are concord, deleware, and niagrara. Although labrusca varieties are cold weather and insect tolerant, the wines produced from these grapes routinely has a candied grape-jelly flavor, commonly referred to as wild or foxy. Vitis labruca vines are commonly used as rootstock for vitis vinefera vines due to their resistance to Phylloxera..
Vitis Vinifera
Vitis vinifera is a native Eurasian vine species responsible for making nearly all of the world's premium wines. The most popular varieties of vitis vinifera include cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, cabernet franc, syrah, tempranillo, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot gris, and riesling.
Volatile Acidity
Volatile acidity (more easily vaporized) is a necessary component of wine and is usually found in wine in the form of acetic acid. In small quantities, acetic acid adds lift to wine but is a fault if in excess.
Whole Berry or Whole Cluster Fermentation
The production of red wines normally involves the de-stemming and crushing of grapes prior to fermentation. In whole berry/whole cluster fermentation, the grape cluster, stems and all are fermented. The intended result is a full-bodied, high extraction, complex and structured wine.
Woody
The term "woody" is usually used to describe a wine that has been over-oaked and displays excessive wood-like aromas. These aromas may be excessive oak or other non-oak wood aromas.
Yeast
Yeast is the fermentation work-horse. This single-cell organism, among other things, converts sugar in contained within in a grape into alcohol and carbon dioxide. While some winemakers rely on native or wild yeast for fermentation, most use commercially produced yeasts specifically designed for various winemaking styles.
Yeasty
The term "yeasty" is used to describe the fresh-baked bread bouquet that wines can acquire through sur lie fermentation. Like so many other wine flavors and aromas, in proper proportions, the yeasty aroma benefits a wine, but is a fault if in excess.