Learn wine vocabulary thanks to this primer specially designed by the Bordeaux Wine School.
An action which involves leaving the grape must in contact with the solid parts of the grape (skins) to extract the desired components such as tannins, aromas and color.
Describes a wine that during its excessive ageing process it has acquired a madeira-like taste and an amber color. A maderized wine is a wine that has reached the end of its life.
A red variety grown throughout the Bordeaux region. It is sometimes known as Cot, and likes warm terroirs. It produces dark wines. Their main aromas are violet and plum. Their tannin structure is significant.
Malic acid. An acid that is found naturally in many wines, and is transformed into lactic acid during malolactic fermentation.
Naturally present in grape juice, malic acid may cause instability in a wine as a result of bacterial fermentation. Winemakers can bring about a second malolactic fermentation process to transform malic acid into lactic acid, and round out the tannins in the wine. Biological deacidification brings greater suppleness to the wine.
The complete series of procedures starting after malolactic fermentation right up to bottling. In maturing a wine, the idea is to stabilise and clarify it, but also to bring about complex aromas which improve its quality and richness. Maturation in oak barrels is very commonly used in the production of fine Bordeaux wines.
Describes a wine, especially an aged wine, in which the various characters mingle harmoniously together to form an even and balanced wine.
A French term that describes a small bottle of wine containing 5 cl, ideal for an introductory tasting. These wine bottles are usually available in hotels, planes, trains and other boutiques. It is an object for consumption, but can also be highly prized as a collector's item.
A disease caused by a parasite fungus which attacks the green parts of the vine, especially the leaves.
A tasting term to describe a wine that has a family of aromas similar to stone, such as limestone, flint, earth, schist, graphite or sun-warmed pebble aromas. On the palate, this creates a sensation of 'liveliness'. Saline notes are often described as mineral.
Applies to sweet wines which contain less natural residual sugar than sticky wines. This French term can also be used to describe a dry wine whose fat dominates its acidity.
The French term 'muid', which means cask, derives from the Latin word modius, which means main measurement. This old barrel measuring unit varied according to regions, following a decree by Henri IV, who ruled that 1 muid would be equivalent to 200 pints in Saint-Denis or 300 pints in Paris, which is almost 280 liters. Nowadays, the demi-muid used for transporting wines and alcohol is a thick container that holds 500 to 650 liters.
A white Bordeaux grape variety that produces very fragrant wines that recall freshly-squeezed orange juice and musk.
Describes an aroma similar to musk. Can be found in Bordeaux wines made from the Muscadelle grape variety and in the bouquets of ageing red wines.