If you're like me, you know that wine is more than just a drink—it's a whole universe of flavors, aromas, and traditions. And let's be honest, sometimes all those fancy-sounding wine terms can make you feel like you're in a foreign country without a map. But fear not! In this post, we're going to take a lighthearted stroll through the A-Z of wine terms, from "ABV" to "Zinfandel", and demystify some of the most common (and not-so-common) wine jargon. So, grab a glass and let's get started!
ABV - Alcohol by volume: Indicates the percentage of alcohol in the wine.
AOC - Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée: A French designation that indicates a wine's geographic origin, as well as specific production and quality standards.
AVA - American Viticultural Area: A designation for a specific wine grape-growing region in the United States.
DOC - Denominazione di Origine Controllata: An Italian designation that indicates a wine's geographic origin and quality.
IGT - Indicazione Geografica Tipica: An Italian designation that indicates the geographic origin of a wine and some specific production standards.
MLF - Malolactic Fermentation: A process that converts sharp-tasting malic acid to softer-tasting lactic acid.
OWC - Original Wooden Case: A case made of wood that a wine was originally shipped in.
PQR - Producer Quality Ratio: A score assigned by wine critics that measures the quality of a wine relative to its price.
Saut - Sauternes: A sweet wine from the Bordeaux region of France.
VDP - Verband Deutscher Prädikats- und Qualitätsweingüter: A German association of top-quality wine producers that adheres to strict production standards.
Tempranillo - Tempranillo is a red grape variety that is widely planted in Spain and is the primary grape used in the production of many Spanish red wines. It is known for its rich flavour profile, which often includes notes of cherry, plum, leather, and tobacco.
Crianza - Crianza is a term used to indicate the ageing process of a wine in Spain. To be labelled as a Crianza, a red wine must be aged for a minimum of two years, with at least six months spent in oak barrels. White and rosé wines also have specific ageing requirements to be labelled as Crianza.
Garnacha - Garnacha, also known as Grenache, is a red grape variety that is widely grown in Spain. It is known for its bold, fruity flavour profile, which often includes notes of raspberry, strawberry, and black pepper. Garnacha is often used as a blending grape in Spanish red wines.
Reserva - Reserva is a term used to indicate a wine's ageing process in Spain. To be labelled as a Reserva, a red wine must be aged for a minimum of three years, with at least one year spent in oak barrels. White and rosé wines also have specific ageing requirements to be labelled as Reserva.
Terroir - Terroir is a French term that refers to the unique combination of soil, climate, topography, and other environmental factors that influence the character and quality of grapes grown in a particular region. In the context of French wines, terroir is considered to be a critical factor in producing wines with distinctive and complex flavours and aromas.
Appellation - Appellation is a French term that refers to a legally defined and protected geographical region that produces wines with a specific set of characteristics. To be labelled with an appellation, a wine must be made from grapes grown within the designated region and must adhere to specific winemaking practices and standards.
Cru - Cru is a French term that refers to a vineyard or wine making area that is recognized for producing high-quality wines. In France, cru is often used to denote a specific vineyard or region, such as the famous Burgundy Grand Crus, which are considered to be some of the finest wines in the world.
Cuvée - Cuvée is a French term that refers to a blend of wines, often used to denote a particular wine produced from a specific blend of grape varieties or vineyards. In Champagne, cuvée is used to refer to the first, highest quality pressing of the grapes, which is used to produce the finest Champagnes.
Super Tuscan - Super Tuscan is a term used to describe red wines from Tuscany that do not adhere to traditional Italian winemaking regulations, typically blending Sangiovese with international grape varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. These wines often command high prices and are highly sought after by wine collectors.
Amarone - Amarone is a type of dry red wine from the Veneto region of Italy that is made from dried grapes. The grapes are left to dry for several months, concentrating their sugars and flavors before being fermented into wine. Amarone wines are known for their full-bodied, complex flavors and aromas.
Chianti - Chianti is a red wine produced in the Chianti region of Tuscany, made primarily from the Sangiovese grape. Chianti is typically characterized by its medium to high acidity, medium body, and flavors of cherry, plum, and spice. In recent years, many Chianti producers have shifted towards producing higher quality, oak-aged Chianti Classico wines, which are considered to be some of the finest wines from the region.
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