Vin de France & Grape Varieties

Les mots du vin
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Wine words

A concise dictionary of wine-related terms for enthusiasts and lovers of all things enological
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
BALANCED :
Said of a wine in which acidity and sugar (tannins for red wines) are present in equal proportions.
BALSAMIC :
A series of tertiary aromas from the perfume industry that include vanilla, incense, sandalwood pine resin, beeswax and camphor. These aromas appear after aging in the anaerobic environment of the bottle.
BAN DES VENDANGES (OFFICIAL HARVEST DATE) :
Official date set by prefectorial decree that authorizes the start of the annual harvest. It is often a time of celebration and festivities.
BAROQUE :
A white grape variety from the Béarn region.
BERRY :
Another term for grape.
BITTERNESS :
Though a normal component of young, highly tannic red wines, (bitterness and astringency reinforce one another), bitterness can also be a defect caused by a bacterial infection during malolactic fermentation.
BLENDING :
Mix of wines from multiple cuves that is created based on the soils, the grape varieties, the age of the grapevines and other factors to obtain a unique wine. Blending (assemblage) is the art of creating a fine wine from different pre-existing batches of wine. The goal is to create a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts. Blending, which occurs before aging, expresses the talent of the winemaker or vintner. It is different than the notion of coupage, also expressed as blending in English, which has more negative connotations.
BLOSSOMED :
Said of a wine that has attained its full bouquet. It is ready to drink, has been aged to perfection and has achieved the perfect balance.
BODY :
Character that combines fullness (robustness and fleshiness) and warmth (alcohol content)
BOUQUET :
Combination of odors that a wine develops after a period of bottle aging, which is also known as its tertiary aroma. There are two different types of bouquets. The oxidized bouquet is sought-after in certain wines that are high in alcohol such as Vins Doux Naturels. The wines are oxidized (by being kept in barrels that are not fully topped off, or other methods) and acquire an amber color as well as oxidized aromas of apple, quince, almonds, nuts and rancio. This is the case for the Vins Doux Naturels of Rivesaltes or Banyuls. The bottle bouquet applies to fine traditional wines that are aged in sealed bottles. During the bottle aging process, the primary and secondary aromas are transformed into the bouquet without the influence of oxygen. The bottle bouquet includes animal (leather, venison and fur), vegetal (underbrush and mushrooms) and other aromas. Highly sensitive to the presence of oxygen, this bouquet can dissipate quickly or change dramatically. For this reason, it is not recommended that older wines be decanted very long before serving them. In addition, once the bottle has been opened, these wines lose their bouquet quickly.
BRETON :
Name given to the Cabernet-Franc grape variety in the Loire Valley.
BRIGHT :
Said of a clear wine that strongly reflects the light. A sign of a high quality wine.
BROKER :
The French term for wine broker, this is the intermediary between the producer-seller and merchant-buyer who must blend or market large volumes of wine, for example for branded wines.
BUBBLED :
Rounded relief on the surface of the leaf blade remiscent of a bubble.
BUDBREAK :
Appearance of buds.
BURNT :
A somewhat ambiguous adjective used for a diverse range of odors from caramel to burned wood.
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