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Term Definition

Italian term for wine farm, wine estate (especially in Tuscany).


Complex process in which sugars, naturally present in grape juice, are transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide by the action of yeasts. Heat is the other main by-product.


Italian term for wicker-covered bottle, once very popular for Chianti but now considered poor taste by sophisticated wine lovers.


Winemaking procedure in which a product is added to wine in order to remove unwanted material. Typical fining agents include bentonite clay (to remove proteins) and egg white (to remove bitter tannins). Ox blood was once commonly used as a fining agent but is now generally forbidden.


Tasting term used to indicate the final sensation left in the mouth once a wine is swallowed. A long, persistent finish is considered a sign of a fine wine.


Style of Sherry, pale, dry and pungent, produced by ageing the wine under a layer of yeast cells called flor.


Tasting term used to indicate a wine with positive, assertive attributes, such as fruit, tannin and acidity.

First Growth

English translation of the French premier cru, indicating a wine at the top of some official quality classification.


Tasting term used to indicate a wine lacking in structure, often marked by low acidity.


Tasting term used to indicate the aroma (and sometimes taste) of fresh, pungent whites, particular from the Sauvignon Blanc variety.


Layer of yeast cells allowed to grow on fino Sherry during its ageing process, and which contributes to its typical aroma.

Fortified Wine

Usually sweet wine, in which the alcoholic fermentation is stopped before all the sugar has been consumed, by the addition of brandy. The alcohol kills the yeast, leaving a sweet wine with high alcohol. Examples include Port and Vin Doux Naturel. Sherry, by contrast, is fortified after fermentation, and so it is naturally dry.


French term for a barrel, usually larger than a barrique.


French term for crushing (of grapes). The machine used to achieve this is called a fouloir.


French term for crusher. One of the first steps in grape processing and often associated with a destemmer (grappoir).

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