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Wine Glossary

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Table Wine
Generally, table wine is any wine that is not sparkling or has not been fortified. In the US table wine has to be between 7% and 14% alcohol by volume. The term is also used to describe a good, everyday wine.

Tannins are found in grape skins, pips and stalks but may also enter the wine from oak barrels. They are harsh, bitter compounds responsible for flavouring - especially red wines. If present in large amounts tannins make a wine difficult to drink as they leave a dry, puckered sensation in the mouth - like drinking stewed tea, which is also very tannic. Extra tannin (wine tannin or grape tannin) often needs to be added to non-grape wines. The amount of tannin in a wine can be increased by enhancing extraction, achieved by prolonging the cuvaison. Tannic wines are generally destined for ageing, the tannins polymerising to form sediment with time.

This is a tasting term that describes a wine high in acidity. Often found in young, unripe wines.  

Tartaric Acid
The main acid present in ripe grapes. It plays a vital part in the maturing of wines.

Tartrate Crystals
During fermentation tartaric acid may be converted into potassium hydrogen tartrate. In cold conditions this compound may crystallise to form small clear or white crystals in the wine. The crystals are harmless and cold stabilisation prevents their formation.

See ‘legs’.

A French word for the growing conditions in a vineyard, such as the climate, soil, drainage, slope, altitude, topography etc.

The texture of a wine describes how the wine feels in your mouth. Common terms are silky, velvety, rounded, and smooth. This is a more specific term than body, which describes the general impact of the wine.

A tubular instrument for removing a sample of wine from a cask or barrel. Also called a pipe. See Wine Making Equipment for more information.

A tasting term literally meaning just that – wine smelling or tasting of toast. It may be due to 'toasting' of the barrels, when they may be placed around a fire (sometimes as they are made), the flames altering the physical and chemical composition of the surface of the wood, and subsequently this will have a significant effect on the flavour of the wine.

Used to describe a wine that clearly portrays all unique aspects of its flavor--fruit, floral, and mineral. The opposite would be a wine where flavors are diffused and thoroughly integrated.

Trial Jar
An upright container made from glass or clear plastic for holding a  small quantity of wine. A hydrometer is floated to check the specific gravity


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