Learn wine vocabulary thanks to this primer specially designed by the Bordeaux Wine School.
Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (in English, Protected Designation of Origin - PDO) A wine from a specific region or place that adheres to strict and verified production conditions and which has obtained official approval after tasting and analysis. AOC certification is a guarantee of typicity and quality for consumers.
An abnormality in a wine which results in alcohol transoforming into acetic acid and ethyl acetate (giving it a vinegary smell).
We describe a faulty wine as having acetic spoilage when it develops vinegary aromas. This issue is becoming rarer, owing to good hygiene and control of bacteria populations during vinification.
Acidity is a requirement for wine, it provides structure and assists with the ageing process. When acidity is unpleasant, it is the result of harvesting before the grapes have reached full ripeness. It creates a biting sensation which is experienced on the taste buds around the sides of the tongue.
This is the taste that lingers after the wine has been absorbed. It can also be referred to as persistence or finish. The after-taste should be balanced, harmonious, and as long-lasting as possible.
Conservation of a wine in bottle. After a period of ageing which may vary depending on the vintage and the style of wine, the wine reaches its best, or its peak. It then has maximum tasting potential.
For young wines and those with hard tannins, airing involves pouring the contents of the bottle into a decanter in order to oxygenate the wine. Airing helps to round out the tannins and make the wine more supple in the mouth.
This is produced by yeasts which transform sugar from grapes into alcohol. 17 g of sugar per liter of must produces around 1 degree of alcohol. (200 g of sugar per liter of grape must is the minimum amount required to obtain a wine at 12° alcohol, as is often the case in Bordeaux). After water, it is the second most plentiful ingredient in wine, and brings a warm character that compensates for the acidic sensation.
When they age for too long or become prematurely oxidised, dry white wines take on a color close to amber, or a faded gold with deep brown glints. For sweet Bordeaux wines, this color is a sign of long bottle ageing and is highly appreciated.
A term to describe a balanced wine which gives the impression of filling the mouth completely with a lingering sensation.
The combination of smells that may be identified by the olfactory sense. Aromas gradually evolve and transform into a more complex bouquet.
Contributed by tannins when they produce a drying effect on the tongue and gums. In fact, tannins stop the lubricating proteins in saliva from carrying out their role. Recent oenological progress in Bordeaux has enabled a significant reduction in the sensation of astringency in young wines. Astringency lessens as the wine ages.