Aging: period of maturation of wine, during which the must rests in vessels made of wood, steel, cement, or in amphoras or in bottles.
Agreeable: wine with residual natural sugars which gives it a pleasant tendency to sweet.
Ballon: A broad glass, ideal for drinking full-bodied red wines.
Blend: indicates the grapes from which a wine is made. If a wine is made from a single type of grape, it is called a “varietal” wine, while a “blended” wine indicates the use of different grape varieties brought together before the fermentation process begins.
Bouquet: the set of olfactory characteristics acquired by wine through the aging process.
Brut: a dry Champagne or bubbly wine.
Bubbly: a wine featuring a high level of effervescence.
Charmat (or Martinotti) Method: a method for producing bubbly wines by means of fermentation in large, watertight vessels at controlled pressures and temperatures over a period of 1 to 6 months. Such wines are ready before the bottling process, and are ready to drink as soon as they are bottled.
Cru: a French term which indicates a precisely delimitated area of wine production, perhaps even a single vineyard, with its own particular prestigious features and characteristics.
Decanter: a glass or crystal vessel used to decant wine, or let it “breathe”.
Demi-sec: a Champagne or bubbly wine that tends toward a sweet flavour.
Fruity: a wine whose smell recalls one or more kind of fruit.
Full-bodied: a wine rich in body, in other words with a rich but balanced alcohol content.
Maderized: a fault found in old wines, which develop a flavour recalling that of Madeira together with a yellow colour (if it was white) or a brown colour (if it was red).
Mix: indicates the mixing of different wines once fermentation has ceased: this can involve both wines made from differing types of grape, and wines made from the same type of grape.
Oak-aged or barrique-aged: wine that has been aged in oak barrels, also called barriques.
Perlage: a line of bubbles that settle on the glass when a bubbly or sparkling wine is poured.
Raisin wine, or Straw wine: generally sweet wines, with a high percentage of alcohol, made with semi-dried grapes, or ‘passito’.
Reserve: high quality wines aged for a longer period than the minimum required by the regulations for the wine in question.
Soft: wine that presents a perfect balance between alcohol, acidity and tannin structure, that is easy on the palate.
Sparkling: a moderately effervescent wine; may also be described as ‘fizzy’.
Still: wine containing no carbon dioxide, and hence no bubbles.
Sulphites: chemical substances that stabilise wines in various ways during the wine-making process. Sulphites are naturally present in all wines, but in most cases they are also added during production.
Superiore: wines produced following the regulations for the wine type and with a higher percentage of alcohol than the minimum required.
Tannins: polyphenolic compounds contained in the skins and seeds of grapes, as well as in the wood of barrels, which lend the wine its red colour and give its flavour an astringent quality (hence called tannic).
Traditional (or Champenoise) Method: this method of producing bubbly wines takes between 6 and 30 months, much longer than the Charmat Method. The wine is fermented in the bottle, by means of the introduction of sugars and selected yeasts.