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Wine Glossary

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Calcium Carbonate
Another name for precipitated chalk. It is used to reduce excess acids in wine, in particular for reducing oxalic acid from rhubarb wines.

Campden Tablets
Tablets that contain 0.45g of sodium metabisulphite that release 50 ppm of sulphur dioxide in 4.5 litres of water. They are used as an effective preservative or for sterilising ingredients before use. They also prevent oxidation and the growth of bacteria, fungi and moulds. See Wine Making Equipment for more information.

Skins, pips and other solid matter that rises to the surface of the wine during alcoholic fermentation. Pigeage helps to keep the solid matter mixed in with the wine, imparting colour, flavour and tannin. Also see cuvaison and How To Make Wine for details.

The plastic or foil that covers the cork and part of the neck of a wine bottle. It both protects the cork and enhances the appearance of the bottle.

Carbon Dioxide
This is the colourless gas produced during fermentation, caused as the yeast converts the sugar into alcohol.

Carbonic Maceration
A wine making method, widely used in Beaujolais, which produces wines with fruit flavours and colour, but little tannin. The resulting wine is immediately drinkable. The technique involves fermenting whole grapes that have not been crushed.

Glass or plastic bottles used for home winemaking. These come in a wide range of sizes, from 1 litre up to 20 litres and even larger.

This a large wooden container for making or storing wine.

Italian word meaning ‘castle’ – it refers to a wine estate.

Aging or storing a wine to improve it. Cellaring is carried out in a cool dark place (12-15°C) that free from large temperature changes, and free from vibration.

A centrifuge is a rapidly spinning device use to separate mixed materials. In wine making it may be used to clarify the must or to separate out fractions of the liquid must, and as such can be used to remove alcohol.

Champagne Flute
A glass having a long stem and a tall, narrow bowl on top. See Wine Glasses for more details.

The process of adding sugar to unfermented grape must before fermentation so that more alcohol can be produced. Named after its inventor Jean-Antoine Chaptal.

A French name, commonly used in the Bordeaux region, for a grand winery estate.

Citric Acid
The main acid in citrus fruits like lemons and oranges, that is needed to provide the acidity vital to most home wines. See Wine Making Equipment for more details.

An Italian term applying to certain DOC or DOCG wines whose vineyards are in the original, classic part of the territory where that particular type of DOC/DOCG can be made.

This is a tasting term that describes a wine where there is no, or very little, aroma or flavour. Many young wines have strong aromas but 'close down' as they get older before 'opening out' again as they reach maturity.

Cold stabilisation
This is the chilling of wine prior to bottling. It causes tartaric acid to crystallise out which prevents the formation of tartrate crystals when the wine is in the bottle.

The juice of white or red wine grapes concentrated and usually sold in tins or packs.

This is a tasting term that describes a sweet aroma/flavour that tastes more manufactured (more like candy than honey).

The part of a vine that is permanent – ie the part that is left from year to year, whereas other parts are pruned away.

Cordon training
This is a method of training vines. See How to Grow Vines for more information.

A tasting term used to describe wines contaminated from mould infection in the cork. Note that this does not mean a wine with bits of cork floating in it. In the worst cases the wine may have cardboardy, musty, mushroomy, dank aromas and flavours. Corked wine is often undrinkable.

Country Wines
Country wines are those made from fruit, vegetables, flowers or cereals (excluding grapes). See How to Make Wine for more information.

A Spanish term that describes the aging a wine received. The exact rules are defined by each DO. If a DO has no specific rules, a crianza wine must age a minimum of 2 years either in a tank, an oak barrel, or a bottle. Many DOs specify that 1 of the 2 years be in oak barrels.  "Sin crianza" indicates that the wine did not receive minimum aging and was bottled young.

A tasting term that describes a wine that feels clean and slightly brittle in your mouth; it is the opposite of ‘soft’. Crispiness is usually due to high acidity. Crisp wines are usually relatively light in body and go well with food.

A sediment that sticks to the inside of a wine bottle.

A French word for the period of time during fermentation when the wine is in contact with solid matter e.g. skin, pips, stalks.  This is done to extract colour, flavour and tannin.



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