ALCOHOL An integral component of wine that adds much of the wine's body. Most wines range from 7 percent to 14 percent alcohol by volume. Alcohol is produced naturally by yeast during the fermentation process. The active yeast converts the natural sugars in the grape juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide, which is released from the fermenting tank by means of a trap.
Amarone Amarone is one of the world's most distinctive and unusual wine styles. It is produced in the same northern Italian region that creates valpolicella, and is a product of the indigenous corvina grape. When harvested, select lots of grapes are set out on mats to dry, thereby concentrating their sugars and flavors. The resultant wine is thick and rich, with alcohol levels around 15%. The wines have distinctive porty overtones, though they are generally dry. Paired with game or other rich dishes, amarone can be a revelation--although the style of the wine is certainly not for everyone.
BANYULS An unusual French wine commonly served with chocolate or dishes with a hint of sweetness. Made from late-harvest Grenache grapes, the wine must by law contain 15 percent alcohol. The steep hillside vineyards in the small village of Banyuls are above the Mediterranean at the southern limit of Roussillon.
Barbaresco Fine, full-bodied red wine from Piemonte, northern Italy.
BARBERA A noble red grape of northern Italy, especially Piedmont; also grown in California and used for blending. It produces dark, astringent, fruity wines such as Barbera d'Albi and Barbera d'Asti, and may also be made into sparkling and semisweet wines.
Bardolino Popular light red
wine from Verona, northern Italy.
Barolo Excellent red wine from
Piemonte, northern Italy, made from
Nebbiolo grape: one of the single best
Italian wines, very long-lived.
Beaujolais Famous red wine
from Burgundy, produced from Gamay
grape. Beaujolais-Villages is wine from
one of the 35 communes in the northern
district, usually finer than plain
Beaujolais: the best wines come from the
communes of Brouilly, Chiroubles, Cote
de Brouilly, Chenas, Fleurie, julienas,
Morgon, Moulin-a-Vent and Saint-Amour.
BEERENAUSLESE A German word meaning "selected berry picking." A rich wine, golden in color, that is produced mostly from overripe Riesling grapes that have been affected by botrytis.
BLANC DE BLANCS A white wine, especially champagne, made from only white grapes.
BLANC DE NOIRS A white or blush wine made from dark grapes.
BLUSH WINE An American term for rosé. Any wine that is pink in color, such as the misnamed "white Zinfandel."
Bordeaux City in southwestern
France; also France's largest fine wine
region. Principal wine districts:
Medoc, Graves, St. Emilion, Pomerol,
Sauternes, Barsac, Entre-Deux-Mers.
Produces elegant red wines and scented
BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO The Brunello grape, grown in the town of Montalcino in southern Tuscany (Italy), produces full-bodied, rich, powerful, long-lived wines. By DOCG law the wines must be aged in wood for three and a half years and be released not before their fourth year. Rosso di Montalcino, also produced from the Brunello grape, can be released after one year with no wood aging required.
Brut French for
"natura1," driest grade
employed for Champagne.
Burgundy Old French province,
one of France's most celebrated wine
districts. Principal regions: Chablis to
the north; the Cote d'Or, divided into
the Cote de Nuits and the Cote de
Beaune; Chalonnais; Maconnais; and
Beaujolais,north of the city of Lyon. In
the U.S. burgundy also a generic term
identifying full-bodied, dry red wine.
Chablis Little town in
northeastern Burgundy, France, and its
exquisite dry white wine. The name
"Chablis," is also used all
over the world as a generic term to
describe dry white wines.
sparkling wine produced in the Champagne
district in France.
Chardonnay Excellent white
wine grape, used in Burgundy and
Champagne; also grown in California and,
to a small degree, in New York State for
some of this country's best white wines.
red wine produced in the Rhone region in
southern France; powerful and
CheninBlanc Fine white wine
grape, native to the Loire district in
France. Now an important grape in
California. It usually makes Slightly
Chianti Famous red wine from Tuscany, Italy. Usually a light, fruity red wine. Best district in central portion, known as Chianti Classico.
Claref Term originally
identified light red wines of Bordeaux,
now in general use to distinguish wines
of this type.
Cotes-du-Rhone Good red, white
and rose wines produced in Rhone River
Extra Dry Degree of sweetness of Champagne; not quite as dry as Brut but drier than Sec (dry.)
Gewurztraminer Fine white
grape producing characteristically
full-flavored "spicey" wines;
native to the Alsace region and
important in Germany, central Europe and
Graves Celebrated wine
district in Bordeaux producing fine red
and white wines. The whites are
especially famous. Reds are particularly
full bodied for Bordeaux.
off-dry white wine from Germany.
Loire Major river in
north-central France, with many fine
wine regions along its banks. The upper
Loire is the source of Pouilly-Fume and
Sancerre; the middle Loire is the source
of Vouvray, Chinon and Bourgueil. The
lower Loire includes Anjou, a major
producer of rose wines and dry Muscadet.
Madeira Island in the Atlantic
Ocean off the coast of Africa, long
noted for its fortified wines. Wines of
this type are also produced in the U.S.
Margaux Noted wine village in
the Medoc district of Bordeaux; produces
exquisite red wines.
Medoc Important wine district
north of the city of Bordeaux, France;
also the name of the fine red wine it
produces. Region includes the famous
communes (townships) of Margaux,
Listrac, Moulis, Saint-Julien, Pauillac
Merlot Fine quality red wine
grape grown in many parts of the world.
It gives scented, graceful red wines
with a good deal of fruit.
Mosel (French, Moselle)
picturesque river. Vineyards abound on
its banks. Fine-scented Riesling wines
are its specialty.
Muscadet Popular dry white
wine grown in lower Loire: made from
grape of the same name.
Petite Sirah Robust grape
variety grown in California. Produces
very full-bodied red wines, especially
in the North Coast counties.
Pinot Noir Principal red wine
grape of Burgundy and Champagne, and
increasingly in California; produces
very fine red wine. Vinified separately,
away from the skins for the Blanc de
Port Sweet fortified wine from
the district of Oporto in Portugal; also
identifies any sweet fortified wine of
this type, produced by adding brandy to
partially fermented grape juice.
white wine from Burgundy, very dry,
POUILLY-FUME Dry white wine
made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape
grown in the upper Loire
district in France; no relation to
Rhone Major river in France,
and the many fine vineyards along its
Riesling Superb white wine
grape, originally, developed in Germany
and now grown around the world.
Rioja One of Spain's leading
wine regions. Produced some of Spain's
very finest red wines.
Roseacute; Pink wine, known
as vin rose, produced either by
fermenting the grapes with the skins for
a limited time, or by blending red and
white wine together.
Saint-Julien Celebrated wine
commune in the Haut-Medoc district,
Bordeaux, prodices elegant, scented red
Sauternes Sweet, luscious
white wine from theVineyards of
Sauternes in Bordeaux. When spelled
without the final "S",
identifies any sweet or semi-dry white
Sauvignon Blanc Fine white
wine grape, produces elegant, scented
Semillon White grape variety;
gives a rather full-bodied white wine.
Sherry Fortified wine produced from vineyards surrounding the city of Jerez de la Frontera in southwestern Spain. Also identifies wine produced
elsewhere of sherry character.
Soave Popular light dry white
wine from the Verona region, northern
Italy; rated D.O.C.
Sonoma Notable wine county
north of San Francisco; one of the
"North Coast Counties."
Varietal Wines named for the
grape varirty from which they are made.
Vinifera The Eurasian or
European species of wines grown
throughout the world's vineyards.