Diabetes Forecast

A Wine Vocabulary List

By Tracey Neithercott ,

Ever listened to winespeak? It's punctuated with talk of tannins, acidity, body, and vintage. Here are some terms that can help you talk like an oenophile when buying wine:

Acidity: A component of grapes that lends a refreshing or crisp quality to the wine.

Aging: Purposefully holding wine in barrels, tanks, or bottles until it's in a most desirable state.

Barrel: A cask, around 50 gallons in size,used to hold wine for fermentation. Barrels can be made of steel or oak.

Body: A term used to describe the feel or weight of a wine in the mouth. Wines can be light-, medium-, or full-bodied. For example, pinot grigio is light-bodied, Riesling is medium-bodied, and oaked chardonnay is full-bodied.

Decanting: The act of pouring wine from the bottle into a carafe or decanter before drinking. Decanting softens a heavy wine by adding oxygen to it.

Fermentation: The process of using yeast to convert grape sugars into alcohol. In short, fermentation turns grape juice into wine.

French oak: The traditional oak barrel that imparts vanilla and butter flavors to the wine. French oak barrels are more expensive than steel and even more expensive than American oak.

Oaky: A term describing the flavor and aroma present in wine aged in oak barrels. Connoisseurs also describe oaky wine as toasty, vanilla, and smoky.

Sommelier: The French term for a wine waiter. Today, sommeliers are trained to oversee a restaurant's wine list and suggest wine and food pairings.

Sulfites: Winemakers may use a small amount of naturally occurring sulfur dioxide to preserve the wine. Sulfites make it possible to age wines for a long period of time. However, some people get headaches when drinking wine made with the compound. Sulfite-free wine solves the problem but results in a shorter shelf life; unopened sulfite-free wine may last only a year and a half at the most.

Tannins: The substances that create a mouth-puckering, drying quality that results from fermenting grape juice with skins, seeds, and pulp.

Vintage: The year in which the grapes were harvested.



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