Primer R

Learn wine vocabulary thanks to this primer specially designed by the Bordeaux Wine School.



The action of transferring a wine from a barrel to another barrel to separate the lees and encourage clarification through settling. During racking, the sulphur content is monitored and corrected to avoid the risk of bacterial contamination. Racking provides a controlled amount of oxygen and produces wines with greater aromatic complexity.


Describes a distinctive and original wine.


Drying grapes naturally in the air to produce sugar concentration inside the berries. Produces wines that are less syrupy than when noble rot is used.


Used to describe a very astringent wine. It's tannin structure is pronounced or rustic. On the astringency scale, rasping is stronger than unripe and weaker than inky.


The changes in a wine stored in bottle with no air contact. It helps to produce subtle and sought-after aromatic components such as truffle in fine Bordeaux wines. When an old bottle is opened, fusty aromas may be expressed, but these can be eliminated by decanting the wine for a short time.


Describes a slightly, but not unpleasantly acidic wine that creates a sensation of mouthwatering freshness prized for its thirst-quenching aspect.


Describes a wine with a pronounced color that is generous and powerful while remaining balanced.


The surface area of wine in contact with air inside a glass. The color of a wine is its general apperance, while the rim shows its reflections. During a tasting, the glass is tilted to enlarge the rim in comparison to the core, and the wine's color palette can be seen in natural light on a white background. The thicker the wine, the more acidic the wine, and the more its brightness is revealed, its ability to reflect the light.


Ripeness determines when the grower decides to harvest the crop. At that point, the ripening process has finished.


A vegetative period for the vine, during which the sugar content inside the grape berries increases, and it gains other quality components that help reduce its acidity. This period occurs right before the harvest. The University of Bordeaux is renowned for research into the ripening process, especially in terms of tannins, in order to prevent the production of excessively harsh or tannic wines during difficult vintages.

Roasted (aromas)

Describes the smell of overripe wines made from grapes affected by noble rot. Expresses the aromas of oven-roast fruit, citrus peel, dried fruit or toasted bread.


A vine plant selected to support the scion


Describes a wine whose suppleness, smoothness and body create a pleasantly round sensation on the palate.


A bright red color typical of a young wine. It is also the classic color for Bordeaux Clairets

Running off

A process that involves separating the young wine from the solid particles that remain when fermentation has finished (skins, pips). Solid particles are then pressed separately and produce a more tannic wine, some or all of which may be blended with the wine that has already been run off (Synonym