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GENERAL WINE TERMS

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Term Definition
Cantina

Italian term for winemaking cellar, winery.

Cantina Sociale

Italian term for co-operative winery.

Caratello

Italian term for small barrel, of about 50 litre capacity, used for ageing Vin Santo.

Carato

Italian term for barrel, barrique.

Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Gas generated during fermentation. Normally most is allowed to escape into the atmosphere. For sparkling wines the CO2 is trapped in the bottle and is responsible for the bubbles. Winemakers often use CO2 to protect juice and wine from oxygen at various stages in the winemaking process.

Carbonic Maceration

Special winemaking process in which whole, uncrushed grapes are placed in a sealed tank. Fermentation takes place within the berries, leading to extraction of fruit and colour but minimal tannin, resulting in a soft, early drinking style. Particularly used in Beaujolais and for many vins nouveaux and vins primeurs.

Cassis

French term for blackcurrant.

Cat Pee

Pungent, even aggressive, aroma found particularly in some Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Cave

French term for cellar, winery.

Cedar, Cedary

Tasting term used to indicate the spicy smell of cedar wood, particularly in Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Cellar

Literally an underground room. Much winemaking was traditionally done underground, though the term cellar is now used to indicate anywhere that grapes are processed and wines stored and aged. Also, a collection of wine, again not necessarily underground.

Cepage

French term grape (vine) variety.

Chai

'overground' cellar, particularly in Bordeaux.

Chambre

French term for room. At room temperature. In fact most red wines benefit from being served slightly cooler (59-63F) than modern, centrally-heated rooms.

Chaptalization

French term for enrichment of grape juice with sugar or concentrated must. It is authorized (within limits) in cooler regions where grapes do not achieve adequate natural ripeness.

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