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Useful words for wine lovers

Residual sugar: amount of sugar left in the wine after the fermentation process has finished.


Volatile: something that quickly turns into fragrant vapours. All wines are, to some extent, volatile. They are volatile if they are warm and made out of very fragrant varieties. Wine is said to be volatile if it's too volatile, that is to say, it gives off its aroma so fast that it begins to smell of vinegar.


Tannic acid:  natural preservative derived from the piths, clusters and seeds of grapes (but also from the wood out of which barrels are made); tastes like frowsty iced tea.


Wine tasting blindfolded:  the purpose is to identify and / or evaluate wines whose identity is unknown. Bottles are the ones to wear masks, not people.


Horizontal wine tasting: comparative tasting of wines from the same vintage.


Maturiy: the development of a wine, the period between youth and early decline. It may occur after three years, or even thirty, depending on the wine. "Mature" is asupplementary term, as opposed to "old" or "out-of-date," which are negative terms.


Noble: adjective used to describe the most respected wine varieties, varieties that yield wines suitable for extended aging. The most popular are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Nebbiolo, Chardonnay, Riesling and Semillon, but almost all the varieties mentioned in the book can claim nobility. Exceptions are Trebbiano and Colombard, but there are wines that prove that even these varieties have a little blue blood.


Oxidized: wine that has lost its flavour and freshness as it came in contact with air.


Body: important feature of the wine; it shows the weight of the wine, which is determined primarily by the strength of the alcohol, and the essence. The more full-bodied the wine is, the less it tastes like water.


Full-bodied: mouth-coating density / full of essence, as opposed to a wine which is medium-bodied or light-bodied.


Heavy: too much alcohol and too little acidity, based on the amount of fruit and sugar.


Weight: All wines have weight; as in humans, this is a measure of corpulence.


The past: old wine that has lost the initial fruit flavour; it has a shortage of flavour and essence and sometimes a clear excess of acidity.


Sulphurous: a wine where the winemaker used too much sulfur dioxide (SO2), favourite disinfectant of the trade; typical odor of a burnt match or coal stove. The smell can be dissipated by spinning the wine in the glass.

Source: "Degustarea Vinului - Jancis Robinson"



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