Learn wine vocabulary thanks to this primer specially designed by the Bordeaux Wine School.
An approval process for a wine which, following a series of analyses and professional tastings, succeeds in achieving Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) status. The wine can then be sold under this Appellation.
An enzyme secreted by Botrytis cinerea which causes grey rot or noble rot to appear on the grape. It oxygenates the polyphenols which brings about a change of color in the must during crushing and pressing, which causes quality problems.
An acid obtained during malolactic fermentation. This fermentation produces secondary aromas in the dairy family (butter, crème fraîche, fresh yoghurt). Lactic acid increases a wine's chemical stability and improves its suppleness.
A technique that involves reproducing the vine by planting a branch that is still attached to the parent plant and exposing the tip of the branch. Once it has grown roots, the new plant has the same characteristics as the rootstock to which it was attached (layering is a type of plant propagation).
Deposit formed by the sediment of dead yeasts when they have finished playing their role in the fermentation process. Some wines are aged on lees to enrich their aromas. Lees can also stabilize wines, which explains why maturation on lees is becoming more and more popular in Bordeaux.
A wine with legs or tears leaves tear-shaped traces down the sides of the glass, which express its glycerol content. This unctuosity is an indicator of grape ripeness, smoothness or fat, and consequently a high alcohol content.
Describes a wine with little color and little body but one that is balanced and pleasant. Generally, a wine that should be enjoyed in its youth. For example, a Bordeaux Clairet.
Describes a fresh, pleasant and light wine that has a slight, but not excessive, acidic flavor. Less acidic than 'nervy' and more than 'refreshing'.