This organic acid is found in all wines, usually at minimal levels, and can accentuate aromas and flavours. Too much can result in volatile acidity, which gives wines pungent - often unpleasant - aromas and flavours like those found in vinegar.
A wooden barrel, originally used in Bordeaux, France, but now found all over the wine world. It has a capacity of 225 litres of juice. The alcoholic fermentation of red wines often takes place in a barrique, or other-sized oak barrel, and the longer a wine spends in barrique, the more oaky it will taste.
A French term used to describe the stirring of lees material (sediment consisting of yeast cells, grape pulp and pips) during the winemaking process. The process is designed to add body and flavour to a wine.
A scale of measurement used to describe the sugar concentration of a grape or grape juice. It is one of several scales that can be used to work out the potential alcohol levels of a finished wine.
A tasting at which those participating are not aware of the identity of the wines which they are analysing, or, if they are aware of the wines, they do not know the order in which they are being served. Wine show judges use this method to avoid bias or preconceptions tainting their opinions, as do most wine writers. For tips on tasting wine or how to host your own tasting follow these links.
Used to describe how a wine feels in the mouth, its viscosity or depth of flavour. A watery wine might be described as light-bodied while a thicker, creamier, style of wine, say a fortified wine or sweet dessert wine, might be described as heavy-bodied.
The French term given to the various aromas, or scents, that can be found when smelling a wine before drinking. It is usually used to refer to more mature wines that have more complex aromas developed through age but can also refer to the 'flowery' scents in young wines.
Is used to the describe what happens between a cork being removed, or screwcap untwisted, and the wine being served. Allowing a wine to breath may allow unpleasant aromas from older wines to dissipate or allow wines to open up and become more approachable. For more information on serving wines click here