In order to describe and comprehend the sensations that any wine’s tasting may offer it is useful to acknowledge the meaning of the most recurrent technical exemplificative terms. The essential words are highlighted in capitals.
Acerbic: raw smell or taste, green and citreous flavour; it is said about wines whose acidity is too high; it is a significant flaw in balance due to the un-ripeness of a wine’s compounding grapes.
Acetic: vinegar like smell or flavour (mostly featured by wines whose content of volatile acidity or ethyl acetate is high; it is synonymous with vinegar taint; it is a major flaw.
Acetonic: neologism; aroma or taste that recalls nail polish (mostly featured by acidic wines, or wines whose fermentation has been difficult and those who have gone through a second unwanted fermentation).
Acidic: wine whose acidity is excessive, whose aroma and/or flavour are not balanced but sour, raw, acute and sharp; it is a major flaw that comes with lack of complexity and unpleasantness in a wine’s taste.
After-taste: tasting’s phase that follows swallowing, it is when a wine’s persistency shall be measured; synonym for finish and back palate.
Ageing: wine’s stabilization in glass or containers made with other materials (oak, inox, concrete); excessive ageing causes oxidation, which is a decrease of wine’s integrity
Aggressive: wine that hits our olfactory and gustative receptors with violent sensations, excessive and sharp, they are generated by a prevalence of acidity or bitterness; it is a major flaw because it is aggressive that wine whose perfumes and flavours are not balanced, whose taste is unpleasant for not being smooth enough.
Airy: light wine, not much extracted and or rich in alcohol; it is a synonymous of ethereal.
Ampelography: discipline concerned with the description and classification of grapevines for their external morphology (sprouts, leaves, clusters, berries).
Analogy: clear recall proposed by a wine’s perfumes, by its taste and after-taste, with flowers, fruits or other substances.
Anthocyanin: tannic compounds found in grape skins that give red wines their colour.
Anti-botrytis: treatments against the rot practiced on the fruit in the vineyard (see botrytis);
Anti-oidium: treatments against oidium practiced on the fruit in the vineyard.
Aromatic bonus: oak generated aromas (spiced, toasted, balsamic flavours).
Arrangement: it expresses how a wine’s smell or taste is organized with regards to its softness and/or acidity; practically, it concerns ripeness. A well arranged wine is smooth, while if badly arranged it result acidic and over-ripe. A well-arranged wine is a well-balanced wine, but not vice versa.
Assemblage: mix of different wines or grapevines resulting in a unique melange, it means the same as the words blend and cuvee.
Astringency: chemical process provoked by wine’s tannin (substance that can instantly precipitate saliva’s colloid protein) which consists in the decrease of mouth’s natural lubrication.
Astringent: barren and rugged taste proper of highly tannic wines; when a wine is astringent it is mouth drying for the huge precipitation of saliva caused by its overabundant tannins.
Austere: alcoholic and not much sweet wine, usually characterized by dry acidity, a pronounced tannic element and a warm taste.
BALANCE: organoleptic feature that concerns the balance and measure of wine’s perfumes and tastes among acidic, sweet and bitter sensations. A balanced wine is that wine whose taste is as soft as bitter-acidic. Sweet tasting sensations must be equal to the sum of acidic tasting sensation + bitter tasting sensation (B= STS = ATS + BTS). Together with consistency and integrity it is one among the three fundamental organoleptic features that represent any wine’s quality and pleasantness.
Balanced: wine presenting all the fundamental gustative impulses (acidity and smoothness in white wines; acidity, smoothness and tannins for the reds), all of them mutually, perfectly balanced. Nose and palate are compact but rich of facets, each of them singularly perceivable. It is another word for harmonious and poised; it is an enhancing virtue.
Balsamic: aroma or flavour that recalls mint’s fragrance, eucalyptus, chlorophyll, toothpaste typical aromas; it is commonly offered by wines that matured in new oak; it is a virtue whereas not overwhelming the basic fruit.
Barrique: 225 litre oak cask, traditionally used in Bordeaux
Beige: specific chromatic hue, between white and straw-yellow, that is typically shown by mildly concentrated wines.
Black berry: analogy recalling black soft fruit like cassis, blackberry, blueberry, etc.; it can be found in soft and richly tannic red wines whose colour will tend to be opaque, with shades of black and dark red.
Blend: mix of different wines or grapevines resulting in a unique melange, it means the same as the words assemblage and cuvee.
Boisé: vanilla-like, spiced, minty taste and aroma, deriving from wine’s maturation in new or clean oak; it is an aromatic bonus (see) whose effect is a pleasant, for sweetness, added character. Whereas balanced with wine’s fruit, it enriches its organoleptic profile.
Bonding: clarifying process that is realized using some product (such as albumen, isinglass, gelatine, etc.) able to precipitate wine’s rougher solid compounds.
Bordeaux mixture: mixture of lime, copper sulphate and water once widely used to treat vine’s diseases; sprayed on vines during summer, it gives the vineyard a characteristic blue-greenish tint.
Botrytis: fungal vine disease that feeds on grape’s constituent water; its effect is detrimental to unripe grape, while, in certain specific climatic condition, if grapes are ripe, it can give rise to a benevolent concentration of the berries’ extractive substances.
Brazen: brass-like smell or taste that affects wine’s neatness; usually it is traceable in wines who had defective fermentations.
Brut: classification for sparkling wines whose residual sugar is fewer than 12 grams.
Buffer (to): attenuating effect carried out by saliva and wine’s sweet compounds on tart or tannic sensations.
Buffer capability: pH’s protective system proper naturally of all wines; it is measured through alkaline titration of ashes. Protecting with a variable intensity the strength of wine’s acidity, it is one of the features that determines its perceived sensorial acidity.
Bunch thinning: removal of clusters from the vine before its final ripening; the purpose is to concentrate grape’s juice in a smaller amount of berries; such technique’s consequence is wine’s greater extractive consistency.
Burned: specific taste or smell that recalls charred oak or smoke; it is generated by contaminant sulphurous substances or, more rarely, by wine’s ageing in charred cask; synonym for over-toasted (see).
Burning: proper of the pseudo-calorific sensation that can be felt swallowing wines whose volatile acidity is high (almost always it is paired with vinegar taint); major flaw.
Buttery: smell or taste, or even tactile sensation, able to recall butter’s density (such a sensation generates from wine’s extractive richness and it can be improved through malolactic fermentation) (see)
Caramelized: smell or taste caused by development; it may concern sweet wines as dry ones: what does caramelize is sugar, but also tannins in old red wines whose colour is orange or brown shaded (tannins polymerization = tannins caramelization). A caramelized red wine is always, more or less, oxidized.
Carbon dioxide: gas responsible for wine’s effervescence as visually perceived in sparkling wines; it generates instead an aromatic tension in still wines, that is called aromatic vector for its evaporation leads and highlights wine’s perfumes.
Carbonic maceration: specific vinification technique consisting in putting whole clusters in closed wine casks that are saturated with carbon dioxide, so provoking intracellular fermentation within the berries. Grapevines auto-ferment with no prior pressing. It is a technique that might involve some organoleptic enhancement through the exaltation of fruitiness that is consequent to such vinification’s brevity and naturalness.
Cherrish: neologism; cherry-like aroma or flavour offered by red wines whose fruit is clean and sharp; such a characteristic matched with tannin richness is an enhancing value.
Chewy: it indicates those wines that are extremely consistent, those whose internal tact is very tight-knit, somehow solid; it is a sensation usually traceable in wines that are rich of extractive and tannic substances; synonym for eatable.
Cinchonous: neologism indicating the bitter taste or smell, recall of cinchona bark, presented by red wines whose tannic richness results in a bitter lack of balance.
Citric: grape’s intrinsic acid, to whom we owe lemon-like acidic freshness; if exceeding it may cause a salivation drop, together with a bitter and harsh taste. As an adjective, it is used to point out unbalanced wines, whose acidity result too intense, recalling lemon’s sourness.
Clarification: oenological process by which insoluble substances suspended in the wine precipitate, making it clear and stable from what concerns its proteins.
Clean: so it is a wine with no flaws and/or extraneous flavours.
Cleanliness: it stands for the absence of negative and defective aromas or flavours and/or for a proper ecological process. Together with fruit’s freshness and un-oxidation, it is determinant for a wine’s integrity.
Clear: referred to wine’s colour, when it is bright, with no suspended substances; it regards aromas and tastes, expressing cleanliness, thus absence of vices coming not from wine’s compounding berries.
Clone: specifically selected vine variety; many are the existing clones, more or less qualitative and quantitative is their production.
Close-woven: tight-knit wine, such is a wine very much concentrated, highly extractive; it is a wine whose perceived tact is dense.
Coarse: wine whose tannins are very concentrated, thus coarse is that wine able to recall not only its constituent fruit’s pulp, but also its skin, supplier of polyphenols. It may be an enhancing value, when not paired with overwhelming bitterness.
Cold maceration: short and low temperature skin fermentation process used in white vinification to increase the loss solid substances to the liquid; it is a risky technique and it might be counter-productive because the actual enhancement provided to the extract is not very significant and it is all made of bitter, easily oxidizable tannins.
Compounding Fruit: grape from which wine is obtained; figuratively it expresses the organoleptic purity naturally proper of any ripe berry (pulpiness, sweetness, freshness).
Concave: it is concave a wine that is nearly lacking smoothness, thus simultaneously entering the palate acidic and coming out bitter; very serious defect as it means extreme unbalance.
Configuration: set of organoleptic sensations that a wine proposes. Synonymous with system.
Connective tissue: thick and pulpous texture, it is typical of majorly consistent wines, while it is rare and fluent in dilute wines (as depending on wine’s extractive richness); it is synonymous with texture and fibre.
Connotation: complex of features that together determine a wine’s fundamental organoleptic characteristics.
Consistency: wine’s substantial richness. Together with balance and integrity it is one of the three fundamental organoleptic parameters. The intensity of these parameters is what determines any wine’s quality, pleasantness and fruitiness.
Convex: plush wine, fruit-driven, ripe and sweet (fragrant entry, fruit dome, calibrated final bitterness); it is an optimising feature, synonym for gustative balance.
Cooked: smell or taste able to recall cooked fruit, mainly traceable in wines whose fermentation temperature was to high or wines that are partially oxidized (therefore such word indicates mediocre fragrance and clear aromatic and gustative heaviness). Cooked fruits whose recalls is typical are: over-ripe pear in white wines, prune and beetroot in red wines.
Cooling: stabilizating and settling the must or the wine; precipitation of tartaric suspended substances performed with a drastic temperature reduction.
Corroborating: wine provided with alcoholic and extractive richness, therefore powerfully perfumed and vigorous, warm tasting and tonic.
Crémant: sparkling wine with an elegant perlage, it is characterized by a smaller amount of carbon dioxide in solution, thus it will feel more plushy and creamy, less sparkling.
Creamy: thick and greasy wine to the touch, it is also used referring to its aromatic density; it is a consistency related virtue.
Cru: designated place for grape production (vineyard).
Crystalline: wine that is so clean that it's bright to the sight, and to nose and palate it is impeccably perfumed. Term that is used to describe tremendously integer wines.
Cutting: acute, angular, piercing smell or taste; it is related to excessively acidic wines, or to those whose volatile acidity is significantly high.
Cuvee: mix of different wines or grapevines resulting in a unique melange, it is synonym for blend.
Dairy: cheese recalling smell or flavour; not very qualifying, it is often found in wines that had to manage some problems during their malolactic fermentation, or in those wines that received some treatment with milk-derived protein compounds.
Dèbourbage: clarifying process for the must.
Decantation: wine’s clarification that is obtained through the settlement and separation of its sediments; it can be natural (settling) or enologically provoked.
Decrepit: wine that is irreversibly damaged by its excessive ageing or over-abundant oxidation; it is a wine lacking fragrance, no more representative of its original taste and aroma; it is a synonym for gone, it refers to wines that lack residual potential longevity.
Dirty: unclean wine, thus a wine that is not integer due to the presence of aromas and flavours that are not fruit-related for they originates from an improper vinification; synonym for imprecise and perturbed.
Disgorgement: in champenois sparkling wines, it is a technique consisting in separating residuals (lees and dead yeast cells) left by wine’s second fermentation in bottle ("dégorgement" in French).
Disk (vinous): round surface of a wine seen from the top of the glass.
Disk edge: round edge of a wine’s surface that touches the walls of the glass; synonym for rim.
Drawing off: enological practice whose purpose is to concentrate red wine’s must; it consist in draining some of the liquid juice from the must-wine mix, reducing the total amount of juice in contact with skins.
Dry: hard smelling or tasting wine, it is harsh and bitterish, with almost no softness or, which is the same, more acidic than soft; it relates to excessively acidic wines. Major flaw. No wine word produced in history more damages than this term. A dry wine has indeed an unpleasant sour-bitter taste and it not able to produce any pleasure. It is thus determinant to spread the concept that every wine must reveal a fine portion of sweetness in order to recall the essential mellowness of its ripe fruit.
Earthiness: tactile sensation of fibrousness, it is traceable in highly tannic wines whose tact is thick and heavy.
Easy-drinkable: proper of those wines that offer a natural, pleasant and moved drinkability.
Edible: analogic term that is used for those wines whose extractive richness is incredibly high, those whose internal touch is very thick, meaty, somehow solid; it is synonym for chewy.
Entry: opening smell or taste.
Ethereal: richly alcoholic but poorly extractive, light, feminine wine; synonym for airy.
Expressive volume: intensity of a wine’s sensed perfumes and taste (it is high in highly extractive and alcoholic wines, while low in the weak ones).
Extract: wine’s total dry extract, it is also named body, it is the sum of all wine’s compounds excluded water, alcohol and volatile substances; it is obtained through the evaporation of all volatile components, it is therefore measured by a wine’ fixed residue in grams per litre (g/lt). Extract essentially is the chemico-physical agent of any wine’s consistency.
Extractive: it describes a wine that is extracts, thus a thick and consistent wine.
Faded: wine whose taste or perfume lacks cleanliness, thus whose capability to recall its compounding grape is inaccurate and whose sensorial edges are not clearly defines. It is a flaw.
Feminine: delicate, light, clean, ethereal wine; to the sight, a feminine wine tends to be transparent, it is mildly perfumed, its structure is not massive, tact is thin, texture isn’t thick.
Fermentation (alcoholic f.): process consisting in grape’s sugars turning into carbon dioxide and ethyl alcohol, thanks to the activity of the yeasts.
Fibre: wine’s intimate consistency, in other words wine’s ability to recall its pulpous fruit, grape, through its extractive richness; synonym for connective tissue and texture, fibre determines a wine’s internal touch.
Filtration: clarifying process based on filters (mainly made in cardboard).
Fine: organoleptic adjective for wines that have neither un-integer nor un-polished hints (no perceivable defects)
Finish: ensemble of after-palate persisting sensations.
Flabby: so it is that wine whose organoleptic profile present weak characters, unbalanced for a lack of acidity; synonym for weak and settled.
Floral: clean nose, it tends to be smooth but not too concentrated: not tight enough to give fruit.
Freshness: newness, absolute gustatory and aromatic fragrance; counted among wine’s virtues, it is inversely proportional to its oxidation: the fresher a wine is, the more brightly it comes to our senses, the longer it is able to age.
Fruit: keystone of both wine’s quality and wine-tasting’s terminology. Each and every wine shall offer fruit, thus it shall recall grape’s gustatory and olfactory pleasantness, as pulpous and juicy as it was while alive. With no fruit reaching our nose first, then our palate, there will be no pleasantness in wine. Keep it clear in mind, pure and simple as this concept is: no fruit, no good wine. It is fundamental to verify for such fruit’s presence in a certain wine: it is an investigation simple (fruit’s presence = pleasantness) and complex at once (fruit’s presence = wine’s prowess, measured through the three basic organoleptic parameters: consistency, balance and integrity = lack of flaws or technical-analytical defects).
Fruit-wine: neologism indicating wines whose analytical quality is superior, wines that are utterly pleasant. Fruit-wines emblematically represent juicy, ripe and spotless grape, therefore they are universally pleasant. Practically such wine is ideal, didactic and propaedeutic, those who don’t drink as those who say they are not able to, they should taste it: all will enjoy its juicy, smooth and intact fruit-driven pleasantness. As naturally has always been for grape.
Fruitiness: quality and pleasantness, it is determined by, and it coincides with, the lump sum of gustatory and aromatic fruit-driven consistency, balance and integrity.
Fruity: technically and analytically highly qualitative wine, it owes such quality to the universal pleasantness of its compounding fruit (grape), whose taste it is able to recall; it means the same as pleasant and qualitative.
Glossy: wine whose gustatory perception is caressingly balanced; external touch generates a pleasant sensation of smoothness given by wine’s heavy load of glycerine.
Glycerinous: aroma or taste that recall emollient substances, it is offered by highly alcoholic wines, rich in glycerine, those that usually are made of overripe or sun-dried grapes; talking about a wine’s external touch, it highlights its smoothness.
Gone: wine whose organoleptic profile is irreversibly damaged either by too much ageing or by a sudden and premature oxidation; it means the same as decrepit.
Grape mix: blended grapes of diversified varieties that together compound a certain wine.
Grapey: smell or taste proper of a wine capable to offer its compounding grape’s intact and uncontaminated fruitiness, as mature and pulpous as it was while living; enhancing virtue and organoleptic character that every wine should present; synonym for fruity, more specifically referred to wine’s exact compounding fruit.
Greasiness: sensation given by superior olfactory and/or gustatory richness and smoothness, it characterizes wines that are very consistent and ripe; it is an enhancing feature.
Green: herbaceous smell or taste, unripe and vegetal sensation; it is a major flaw.
Hard: so it is that wine whose given olfactory and gustatory sensations are too sour or bitter, recalling unripe fruit; it is a major flaw in balance, meaning the same as tart, dry and raw.
Harmonious: wine presenting all the fundamental gustative impulses (acidity and smoothness in white wines; acidity, smoothness and tannins for the reds), all of them mutually, perfectly balanced. Nose and palate are compact but rich of facets, each of them singularly perceivable. It is another word for balanced and poised.
Heavy: wine that is superiorly consistent, bodied and structured; it is heavy that wine whose nose is richly perfumed and whose tact is viscous.
Herbaceous: grass recalling aroma or taste. Synonym for vegetal, it is a major defect affecting balance.
Hint: olfactory and/or gustatory stimulus that allows recognition and affects enjoyment and satisfaction.
Hot: rustic, sulphurous tasting and smelling wine (it recalls sulphur, eggs, cheese). Defective, dirty, sharp and bitterish hints seriously deteriorate the fruit’s fragrance and smoothness overwhelming it.
Immature: unripe, green, bitter smell or taste; it refers to wines whose acidity is overwhelming, thus it is a major fault in balance.
Imprecise: unclean wine, thus a wine that is not integer for the presence of aromas and flavours that are not fruit-related for they originates from an improper vinification; it is synonymous with dirty and perturbed
Inner-mouth: tasting’s phase of swallowing, it is when a wine passes through on the palate.
INTEGRITY: a wine is integer when its perfumes and its taste are clean and pure, in other words it is not oxidized and there are no defects. Compounding berries are recalled with no deflections or interferences (thus no improper, un-grapey vices) and resulting wines are not jaded by orangish, sweetish and/or rancid hints of oxide. Together with consistency and integrity it constitutes one of the three fundamental organoleptic parameters. Those whose intensity determines any wine’s quality, pleasantness and fruitiness.
Intensity: expressive energy carried out by a wine; an intense wine is able to powerfully express its vigorous perfumes and its taste; intensity is a variable organoleptic feature, directly proportioned to wine’s alcoholic level and its consistency.
Lactic acid: wine’s acid that originates form malolactic fermentation.
Lactosity: neologism describing two different organoleptic features: 1) positive acceptation: tactile sensation of creaminess offered by well-balanced and consistent wines; 2) negative acceptation: milky, slightly sour taste that is usually traceable in red wines gone through a defective malolactic fermentation.
Leathery: neologism indicating the bitter, dark smell or taste that recalls leather; it is offered by too heavily tannic wines, therefore wines whose perfume and/or taste are bitter.
Lees: oozy, diversely rough, fermentation residuals (dead yeast); after its contact with lees, a wine looses integrity (aromatic cleanliness) and balance (gustative bitterness prevails).
Lemony: neologism; it describes wines whose taste or smell is unripe, tart and metallic; it relates to overwhelming acidity. Major fault in balance.
Liquorishous: neologism; liquorish-like aroma or flavour, it may be found in over-acidic and over-tannic red wines; it is basically the analogic recall for a compound of tannins on a zesty sour base.
Long: wine whose after-taste sensations are persistent and protracted after swallowing.
Maceration: contact of wine's must with grape’s solid parts (skins), during red vinification.
Maderized: sweetish aroma or taste, more or less rancid, that recalls Madera; such a feature may be found in old wines, wines that are lacking integrity and bearing oxidation, thus wines whose gustative and aromatic profile are relentlessly degrading.
Malic: grape originating acid whose sensorial output is a fragrant reinforcement for wine’s fruitiness; if it is excessive, it can generate bitter and unripe flavours.
Malolactic: secondary fermentation in which malic acid is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid; it is a process able to modulate wine’s acidity.
Masculine: strong and powerful wine, it is richly alcoholic and tannic, its taste tends to bitterness; wine’s virility is assertively coloured, showing itself in a lack of transparency.
Massive: superiorly consistent wine, which is perceived as rich, structured, very highly extractive.
Mature: wine whose acidity is neither too high nor too low; such term can be addressed to a certain smooth and full smell, or taste, which is at the same time sweet and fragrant; it is an enhancing virtue.
Meaty: rich wine, whose connective tissue (see) is so thick that it may be felt as eatable solidity; a meaty wine is a wine with high consistency, great structure and internal texture (see), dense and fibrous; whereas such a characteristic does not come with bitterness, it is an enhancing virtue and it is to be found in remarkable red wines.
Mellowness: recurring feature of balanced and soft wines, those wines that express smoothness to the touch and hints of sweetness to nose and palate; it is an enhancing virtue.
Mercaptan (smell of): disgusting organic sulphurous smell (given by yeast autolysis); Mercaptan causes a major olfactory disturbance for its consequential highly sulphurous aromas.
Meringued: neologism indicating a specific meringue-like smell or taste that can damage wine’s integrity; it is usually carried out by wines whose fermentation has been somehow defective.
Mighty: highly alcoholic wine, its aroma and taste both are pronounced, tact is warm.
Milky: term that has two acceptation: 1) referring to tact, it is positive: dense and thick wine, viscous to the touch and softly balanced to the palate; 2) referring to taste, it is negative: wine that lacks fragrance and presents milk-recalling hints, more or less acidic and rancid, surely not fresh.
Mineral: smell or taste that analogically recalls petrol, iron, gasoline; such sensation recurs in white wines whose acidity is very high and whose integrity is spoiled (particularly traceable in Riesling wines); it comes to wine from the convergence of lemony and over-charred, sulphurous hints; it is a major flaw affecting integrity.
Mouth: set of gustative sensations presented by any tasted wine, synonym for palate.
Mouth-filling: richly extractive, soft wine, capable of generating a wide palatal volume thanks to its consistency and viscosity.
Mute: wine lacking expressivity, neutral to nose and palate, poorly intense; a mute wine is an inconsistent wine.
Neutral: wine whose organoleptic features are not very emphasized, perfumes and tastes result dilute and poorly intense; it is a flaw that originates in wine’s lack of consistency.
Newness: wine’s total lack of oxidation flaws. Together with cleanliness it determines wine’s integrity (see).
Noble rot: see Botrytis.
Nose: sum of all olfactory sensations given by wine.
Oenology: discipline and technique related to wine’s production.
Oidium: powdery mildew, vine’s disease provoked by a small fungus, it implicates the desiccation of the berries.
Old-sensation: evolved, oxidized hint that could overwhelm a wine’s tonic and purple fruit, resulting in raisiny and orangish sensorial features (they typify extensively oak-aged wines).
Old-style: wine whose gustatory and aromatic nuances recall caramelized and sun-dried fruit.
Olfaction: it defines repeated, extended inhalations meant to identify a wine’s olfactory profile.
Organoleptic: it depicts wine related qualities and features the can be perceived and investigated by our sensory organs during tasting, for example, organoleptic features are: colours, smell, taste; synonym for sensorial.
Over-oaked: wine that features overwhelming olfactory and gustative recall to oak
Over-ripe: it refers to wines that lack acidity, settled wines, weak ones; such flaw is irreversible.
Over-spiced: wine presenting a smell or taste that excessively recall oak-derived spices (ex: saffron, vanilla, cinnamon, cedar etc.).
Over-tannic: wine whose taste or smell is too bitter because of an overwhelming presence of tannins; it generates analogies with leather, liquorish, china and rhubarb.
Over-toasted: wine presenting excessively smokey flavours or aromas, as consequences of sulphurous or oak derived sensorial compounds (ex. coffee, charred wood).
Oxidation: gradual degenerative process that naturally affects taste and aromas of any wine’s compounding substances: at first, it emphasises sweetness, in a later stage it succumb to rancid-driven sensations, then, eventually, it result in maderized features (Madera-like aromas and flavours). Oxidized wines taste biscuit, almond-edged, maderized; such taste is old and unbalanced due to felt bitterness, rancid and decrepit substances. It is a major flaw if it affects wines when they are on sale; such defect substantially penalizes two among the three basic organoleptic characters: integrity and balance.
Palate: set of gustative sensations presented by any tasted wine, synonym for mouth.
Peely: neologism; bitter smell or taste that recalls the salinity typically found in grape’s skin (which is rich in tannic compounds); a peely wine is an over-tannic wine, thus too bitter; such a flaw affects mostly red wine’s gustative balance.
Perfume: qualifying synonym for smell.
Perlage: small carbon dioxide beads that characterize sparkling wines.
Persistency: remaining palatal sensations, after wine’s swallowing.
Perturbed: unclean wine, thus a wine that is not integer for the presence of aromas and flavours that are not fruit-related for they originates from an improper vinification; it is synonymous with imprecise and dirty.
PH: number that indicates either sensorial or real acidity for a certain titration acidity. It is balance’s chemico-pysical compounding agent: water’s neutral pH is 7. Wine’s high pH (3,6-3,9) indicates a mild acidity, thus a fine gustatory balance, low pH (2,9-3,3) values indicate the opposite.
Phase: during any tasting it is that certain stage in which wine is examined using a certain sensory organ. Tasting substantially is composed of three phases: sight, smell, taste. A phase is the analysis of how a certain wine results to eyes, nose and mouth.
Phyloxera: vine pest that, nourishing on its roots, kills the plant; it forces vine-growers to use rootstocks (see)
Pièce: 228 lt oak barrel, traditionally used in Burgundy
PLEASANTNESS: wine’s quality.
Plunging: oenological process consisting in pushing down the cap of fruit debris that forms in the must during fermentation; while wine ferments and maturates such debris foster the extractive substance transfer from skins; plunging is potentially positive, but if excessive it might result in deterioration of wine’s balance due too an excess of transferred tannic substances.
Polymerization: chemical process by which several molecules of tannin link together and end up precipitating due to their molecular weight growth; it is typical of ageing in red wines, for they progressively disrobe from their tannic compounds; from the gustatory perspective, such process involves taste’s caramelization.
Polyphenols: wine’s tannic substances; the total amount of polyphenols (expressed as g/l) represents the sum of tannins and anthocyanin.
Potential longevity: wine’s capability to age; it is a qualifying character that depends on wine’s consistency and oxidative integrity.
Power: energy, incisiveness that wine gets from its richness in alcohol.
Press (juice of): vinous juice resulting from pressing grapes through pneumatic, hydraulic or mechanical press;
Pressed: juice that comes from the pressing of grape marc; it is very rich in tannins and it is often added to lightly coloured and bodied red wines in order to reinforce their tint and structure.
Prime (fruit): uncontaminated fruit, fruit whose gustatory and aromatic load is pure and intact.
Profile: twin-fold notion: 1) whole sum of given sensations, general feature, sensorial (olfactory and gustative) scene that typifies a wine with those essential features that describe its global organoleptic implant. 2) Profile is also what acidity depicts: nerve, divide, prominence and shape given by acidity to wine’s sweet and smooth extractive fruit mass.
(to) Project: to predict, verb that is usually used to indicate any olfactory or gustative expectation arisen by a wine’s aspect.
Propellant: such it is alcohol, transmitting and supporting wine’s tastes and aromas.
Pseudo-calorific: heating sensation that is generated when a highly alcoholic wine touches our taste buds; such a thermic perception directly reflects how heavy is a wine’s alcoholic load.
Pulposity: olfactory and/ or tactile sensation given by wine’s meaty consistence; it relates to soft, rich in extractive substances wines; it is an enhancing virtue.
Pulpous: it describes thick and dense perfumes or tastes, such feature reverberates wine’s dense and mellow consistency; it is an enhancing virtue.
Raisiny: sun-dried smell or taste, it is warm and glycerinous, it may lack fragrance; generally offered by wines obtained from over-ripe berries.
Rancid: smell or taste with a bitter-acidic tendency, it recalls toasted almonds, amaretto, slightly rancid butter; such organoleptic character typifies partially oxidized, aging wines, hence wines that lack integrity, suffering oxidation, thus having their gustatory and olfactory profile irreversibly damaged; this sensorial defect’s seriousness is proportionally related to its intensity.
Rancid milk: smell or taste that recalls spoiled milk, yogurt; it is usually related to some vinification defect.
Raw: aggressive smell or taste, cold and metallic sensation; it describes wines with excessive acidity; it is a major fault in balance.
Recall: clear analogy with fruits, flowers or other substances, coming from a wine’s perfumes,
Receptor: sensory organ provided with function and ability to receive; taste buds, for example are our gustative receptors, they register, touched by wine, stimulations that they will send to our brain, by whom they will be perceived as indices for wine’s consistency, extractive viscosity.
Red berry: analogy recalling red soft fruit like raspberry, strawberry, black cherry, etc.; it is proper of those red wines whose tannins are not too concentrate, whose colour is ruby red, bright and clear.
Reduced extract: all extractive compounds a part from acids, mainly sweet tasting substances (glycerine, pectic, gummy and mucilaginous substances, etc.; the most valuable extract: grape’s residual pulp.
Reducing sugar: sweet not-fermentable substances that are traceable (0/2 grams per litre) in balanced wines (red and white ones).
Reduction: wine’s phisico-chemical state during its production process; it refers to wine’s permanence in an anaerobic environment
Redundancy: excess of a certain substance.
Redundant: overloaded smell or taste, hence cloying; it undermines wine’s balance and aromatic complexity; it generally recalls overripe or slightly oxidized fruit’s sweetness; it represents a defect.
Remontage: it consists in renewing, pumping it over, the liquid that touches must’s solid parts; it is an oenological process that generates a better substance transfer from skins; excessively practiced, remontage may give wine an unbalanced taste, caused by overloading tannins.
Residual oxidative integrity: what remains of a wine’s freshness, or, from the opposite perspective, its oxidation level at the time of investigative tasting. Practically, it is a certain wine’s ability to age; substantially, it is that wine’s potential longevity.
Residual sugar: sweet substances, their presence is very significant in sweet wines, lighter in those that are balanced.
Residual sweetness: sweet substances that are heavily present in sweet wines, on a smaller scale in balanced dry wines; synonym for residual sugars.
Resinous: resin-like smell or taste, it recurs in highly tart wines, those whose volatile acidity is significant, those that maturate in new oak; it is a flaw.
Rim: it refers to the edge of a wine’s surface that touches the glass; synonym for disc edge.
Rootstock: because of phyloxera’s destructive effects in the 19th century, given the vulnerability of European roots, our vines are now not directly planted in the ground. Vines are implanted over American vine-roots that proved to be able to resist to phyloxera pest.
Round: balanced, soft, ripe wine that always offers harmonically complex sensations.
Rubbery: rubber’s softness recalling smell or taste; it is an effect of wine’s extractive richness. It is an enhancing value proper of very consistent wines; it can increase pleasantness as long as it does not overwhelm a wine’s basic fruitiness.
Rustic: rough smell or taste usually presented by sulphurous wines; it is a defect.
Sample: wine under investigation, synonym for tester.
Scene: it usually refers to the ensemble of perceived olfactory sensations, extensively and figuratively used it also applies to wine’s whole organoleptic profile; synonym for phase and profile.
Sensorial: it depicts wine-related qualities or features that our sensory organs can perceive and evaluate while tasting; for example colour, smell and taste of our sample; synonym for organoleptic.
Settled: referred to wines that lack acidity, overripe and weak wines. It is a serious, irreversible fault.
Sharp: wine’s extremely clear and neat way to recall fruit to nose and palate. Synonym for clean, but even more qualifying in this meaning; it is a term used to depict highly integer wines.
Sharpness: neatness and cleanliness presented by those wines whose gustatory and aromatic edges have no shades, no fading; it is an enhancing virtue with the same meaning as neatness and integrity.
Short: scarcely lingering wine, inconsistent; synonym for transient, it is a very serious flaw.
Synthetic: unnatural, desiccant smell or taste, it recalls varnishes and solvents, it is usually either related to a high content of volatile acidity, or offered by significantly tart wines that matured in new oak.
Smokey: spicy aroma and taste, dark, tending to bitterness, it is smokey that wine whose fruit is covered by sulphurous.
Smooth: so it is that wine whose fruitiness is well ripe, it is a wine tending to sweetness but simultaneously well fragrant (finely acidic); enhancing virtue proper of balanced wines; a greasy wine will always also be smooth, not always although a smooth wine will be greasy.
Soapy: wine that is starting to oxidize, scarcely provided with acidity, fruitiness presents chemical, sweetish shades as typical of soap or cosmetics.
Sooty: smokey smell or taste generated by sulphurous contamination or over-charred oak; it brings bitterness to the palate, which implicates the reduction of wine’s gustatory balance.
Souplesse: smoothness; mellow and plush as balanced wines are because of their grape’s full ripeness; it is a qualifying virtue.
Sour: wine that gives excessively acidic sensations to nose and palate, recalling unripe fruit; it is a major flaw, synonymous of harsh, raw, dry and green; sour wines lack balance, thus they have no complexity and bitterness dominates.
Spiced: smell or taste that recalls spices and comes to wine from its ageing in a certain kind of oak (cinnamon, vanilla, the, saffron, etc.)
Stabilization: any oenological procedure aimed to eliminate from wine before bottling all those microorganisms that could trigger a new and undesired fermentation or precipitation; there are three kind of stabilization: tartaric, proteic or microbiological.
Stacked: wine whose oak-derived aromas and tastes are excessive and overwhelming.
Stern: wine whose olfactory and gustative perception is stiff, unbalanced, neither wide nor sweet, tending to bitter because of its overwhelming tannins; synonym for austere.
Structure: compound of wine’s constitutive elements.
Structured: sturdy wine, rich in alcohol and extract, given its premium consistency, it results well concentrated to nose and palate.
Sulphur dioxide (So2): chemical used in winemaking, when excessively present it generates hot and burning sensations to the nose.
Sulphurous: spicy and/or slightly bitter taste or aroma, it is rough and rustic, sulphur-like; it generates from an improper vinification (its causes mainly are defective fermentations and inefficient or tardive racking); it is a very serious and irreversible fault, whose intensity can grow after bottling, it gravely affects cleanliness, thus integrity and unfortunately It is pretty common in wines.
Swallowing: wine’s passage through the throat; if some acetous vibration is sensed during swallowing, or if some rustic taste comes, it means that a wine’s integrity is damaged by acetous or sulphurous vices.
Sweet: smooth and mature wine, referred to both reds and whites; talking about sweet wines it is means sugary.
Sweetness: it does not merely refers to the sugary sensation, such term’s significance is fundamental as used to express smoothness, ripeness, not excessive bitterness and acidity; it is an absolute virtue since wines shall never be dry and tart, since no wine can express pleasantness without some gustative sweetness, which typifies any ripe fruit on its plant.
System: set of organoleptic sensations that a wine proposes. Synonymous with configuration
Talcous: neologism; generally sweet smell, rarely taste, that recalls talcum; it is presented
Tannic: bitter and peely smell or taste, it is generated by wine’s polyphenols; where overabundant, tannin is able to create an embittering effect over any perfume or taste; because of its gustative unpleasantness, it is a major flaw, restraining significantly people’s appreciation of wine’s qualities.
Tartaric acid: grape’s compound, whom we owe a tart, hard sensation; if it is overabundant, it can provoke a burning, aggressive taste.
Tasting: technical and methodological investigation whose purpose is to determine a wine’s quality, pleasantness and fruitiness; attentive perception of nature and intensity of each sensation that is generated by any wine’s compounds; synonym for gustation.
Taut: uptight smell or taste owed to an excess of acidity or alcohol in wine.
Tautening: neologism used to indicate the tightening effect on wine’s perfumes and flavours produced by overabundant alcohol, or acidity, or carbon dioxide.
Tester: wine under investigation, synonym for sample.
Texture: connective tissue, wine’s fibre, very significant in red wines; it relates to wine’s internal touch and its extract; synonymous for fibre.
Thick: wine whose tact is dense and greasy; wine’s fine virtue
Tight: excessively tart wine, raw tasting and aggressive, nearly lacking sweetness, hence sharp and never wide; major fault in balance.
Thin: it is thin that wine whose alcoholic and extractive load is weak, it is a watery and loose wine, its structure is slender, its finish is short.
Toasted: smokey smell or taste derived from sulphurous or excessively burnt oak (it recalls, among others, cocoa, coffee, burnt plastic, etc.).
Touch: either dense or flowing sensation generated by our taste buds contact with wine; viscosity in a wine’s touch enhances its consistency.
External touch: tactile sensation that only implies the quality of a certain wine’s contact with our taste buds; it relates to extractive richness, particularly to glycerine; wines with a good external touch will feel plushy, smooth, viscous; a bad external touch indeed will result watery and flowing.
Internal touch: tactile sensation given by wine’s fibre, connective tissue; related to wine’s non-reducing extract and tannins; good internal touch gives pulpous, chewy palatal sensations, while a bad internal touch is what typifies evanescent wines, those whose mouth-volume is barely moderate.
Touch: referred to that flowing or watery wine’s way to show its consistency; synonym for tact.
Traction: specific effect generated by carbon dioxide and alcohol, consisting in pulling and dragging wine’s aromas toward the sensory receptors.
Transient: inconsistent, weak wine whose finish is scarcely persistent. It is a major flaw, synonym for short.
Truncated: wine whose finish is very sudden, such wine has no persistency; it is a major flaw recurring in wines with a lacking consistency.
Unripe: harsh, dry and raw wine; it is a major flaw in gustative balance due to the vinification of sourly unripe berries; not even a long bottle ageing has any attenuating capability for unripe wines.
Vanishing: term that has two meanings: I) redundant, sweetish smell of oxidized alcohol; II) wine whose organoleptic characteristics degraded because of excessive maturity or forthcoming oxidation.
Varietal: smell or taste that typifies its constituent grape’s variety.
Variety: a specific kind of grapevine.
Varnish: unnatural, drying smell or taste that recalls chemical substances such as enamel and solvents; it is usually related to high tenor of volatile acidity or highly tart wines matured in new oak.
Varnished: varnish-like or smell or taste, it recurs in tart wines that have gone through new oak maturation and/or wines with high volatile acidity.
Vector: it refers to any organoleptic parameters that cooperate for wine’s gustatory and aromatic energy; the basic vectors are alcohol and carbon dioxide (where existing).
Vegetal: plant recalling smell or taste; it is traceable in wines that lack some maturity. Synonym for herbaceous; it is a major flaw due to the serious effect on balance given by exceeding acidity.
Verve: tart crispiness.
Vibrant: high pitched organoleptic hint whose matrix is bitter, it can vibrate wine’s perceived perfume and swallowed taste; it is a defect in smoothness and fragrance whose output is to assimilate wine’s taste to spirits (grappa, cognac, whisky, etc.); it is usually presented by aged wines, and/or improperly vinified and oak matured ones.
Vinegar taint: smell or taste that recalls vinegar, it is mainly traceable in wines that are highly loaded of volatile acidity or ethyl acetate; synonym for acetous; it is among wine’s most serious defects.
Vinous: inelegant smell or taste, it is presented by scarcely integer and lightly alcoholic wines; it is a flaw.
Vintage: a certain wine’s year of production.
Virile: powerful and structured wine, it is masculine, rich in alcohol and tannins, slightly unbalanced to the palate for exceeding bitterness.
Viscosity: thick and dense tactile sensation, not watery, it is offered by significantly consistent wines.
Volatile acidity: wine’s chemical compound measured by its acetic acid. When exceeding it produces an unnatural smell of polish, a vibrant vinegarish taste, pricked, bitter and burning; when it is featured with a concentration not high enough to be the cause of such defective impressions, it can cause wine’s dryness and a prickly sensation that will both reduce its smoothness and aromatic fragrance.
Warm: adjective for a wine whose rich alcohol content is able to generate olfactory or gustatory heath.
Wavy: proper of a well-balanced taste, varied among acid and soft in white wines, also counting tannins in red wines. A wavy tasting wine is a wide, balance and complex wine. It is a pleasant wine.
Waxen: wax recalling smell or taste, it is offered by highly alcoholic and glycerinous wines, usually made with over-ripe or dried grapes; a waxen wine is warm, smooth but not greasy to the touch: it presents a fine external touch, but the internal one is not as good (see).
Wide: wine whose aromas and gustative hints are well balanced between sweetness, acidity and bitterness; it presents smooth, loose flavours, therefore commonly fruit-driven; it is an enhancing virtue because a wine is wide when its balance is at its best.
Wine-blend: mix of different wines.
Worn: evolved wine, it is mildly oxidized and because of its ageing its colour is turning to orange and its taste to waxy, fruitiness is mild and its potential longevity is limited.
Yeast: monocellular microorganisms responsible for triggering grape’s alcoholic fermentation.