Learn wine vocabulary thanks to this primer specially designed by the Bordeaux Wine School.
This category of wines Sans Indication Géographique (SIG) has been known as Vins de France since 1 August 2009. These wines may be blended from different grape varieties, regions and vintages, and sold under a brand name. A sub-section of the Vin de France with grape variety and vintage specification was invented to add value to these everyday drinking wines.
Substances found inside grapes that give the wine its structure, ageing potential and gustatory properties (astringency). They combine with color pigments in red wines (anthocyanins). These molecules are also antioxidants, which explains their role in preventing certain cardiovascular diseases with moderate consumption ('French paradox').
Tartaric salt crystals that are sometimes found in bottles. They do not affect the wine in any way. This precipitation is brought about by thermal shock. Prior treatment for the wines using cold temperatures prevents this precipitation inside the bottle. It is carried out by the oenologist.
An acid which is specific to vines and is created inside young leaves and green berries. During the harvest, its content is between 5 to 7 g/l. Its name derives from the tartar deposit which forms inside containers such as tanks or barrels However when it is well-managed during vinification, it gives character to the wine while preventing the risk of deposit inside the bottle.
The combination of gustatory and aromatic sensations. Flavors are the tactile and physical sensations that occur in the mouth. Aromas are only the olfactory sensations perceived either by the nose (olfaction) or by the mouth (retro-olfaction).
A technique that allows the winemaker to control and manage the temperature of the tanks during fermentation. This technique revolutionised vinification when the impact of temperature on yeast metabolism was understood. Ideal temperatures for alcoholic fermentation
Terroir (taste of)
This is an aromatic expression associated with the components in the soil. It gives the wine its own specific characteristics, typical of the terroir where the grapes were grown. For example, Pomerol's violet aroma.
They describe the bouquet, the fragrant complex that a wine develops during its bottle ageing process in an oxygen-free environment. The best known tertiary aromas are truffle, leather, mocha, coconut, pastry aromas (cake, honey, marzipan), and above all animal notes (fur, leather, musk).
Describes a wine with a pronounced color that gives a sensation of heaviness and thickness on the palate.
Describes a wine whose robe is no longer crimson, ruby or garnet. The orangey tile-red glints are produced when the wine has aged significantly. A wine at its peak usually has some tile-red glints.
Tirage des bois (removing the wood)
A manual viticulture procedure that involves removing the shoots that have been cut off the vine stock during the pruning season. These shoots are piled up between the rows before being ground up and often scattered in the vineyards to provide natural organic fertiliser. They may be bound together in bundles to be used as fire wood.
Describes a wine that has undergone a treatment that has destabilised it, for example immediately after racking (change of oak barrel), after filtering or transportation. It is therefore more difficult to taste.
In Bordeaux, this is a barrel that can contain 900 liters, and is the equivalent of four 225 liter barriques. It is the unit of volume for bulk wine transactions, especially when merchants purchase wine from producers through brokers.