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Wine Glossary D-L

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Decant   
To transfer wine from one container to another, either to aerate the wine or to remove red wine from its sediment deposit.

Degorgement
   
The French term for "disgorging," the removal of yeast sediment from bottles in method Champenoise.

Demi-sec   
Sparkling wines that are moderately sweet to medium sweet.

Depth
   
The characteristic of fine wines that gives the impression of having layers of taste, rather than being one-dimensional.

Dessert wine   
A sweet wine that usually accompanies dessert, such as fortified or late harvest wines.

Deuxieme
   
A term of method Champenoise referring to the second batch, or "cut," of press juices collected after the free-run juice.

Diacetyl
   
A chemical byproduct of malolactic fermentation that gives a buttery odor to the wine, enhancing complexity.

Dilute   
A term given to wines whose aromas and flavors are thin, as opposed to concentrated.

Disgorging   
Using the pressure of gas in the wine to remove the collected sediment from bottle-fermented sparkling wine.

District   
A geographic area more specific than a region.

DO   
In Spain, the abbreviation of Denominacion de Origin (place name), the official category for wines whose defining factors are regulated by law.

DOC   
In Portugal, the abbreviation for Denominacao de Origen Controlada, the official category for the country's highest wine category, whose defining factors are regulated by law.

Dosage
   
In the making of Champagne and other sparkling wines, the wine and sugar mixture that is added to adjust the final sweetness of the wine.

Doux   
The sweetest category of sparkling wines.

Dry   
A wine that is not sweet because all perceptible sugar was consumed during the fermentation process.

Dull   
A wine whose appearance, aromas and flavors, and/or general style are hazy and unclear.

Earthy   
An odor or flavor suggestive of earth or soil, usually undesirable.

Elegance   
A term applied to wines that express themselves in a refined or delicate manner, as opposed to intense.

Enology 
 
The science of wines and winemaking.

Epernay   
A principal city in France's Champagne district where the facilities for blending, aging and bottling of many Champagne producers are located.

Estate
   
Vineyards owned by or under the direct control of the winery. On a label, it means the grapes are sourced from vineyards owned by or under the direct control of the winery that made the wine.

Ethyl Acetate   
A chemical responsible for vinegary odors in wine.

Ethyl Alcohol, Ethanol   
Alcohol in wine that is the product of the conversion of sugar by yeast enzymes during fermentation.

Extended maceration
   
A winemaking process for red wines where the juice is left in contact with the skin cap for an extended amount of time after fermentation is complete.

Extra dry    
A Champagne or sparkling wine that is sweet, containing 1.5 to 2.5% sugar.

Fat   
A term implying full bodied, juicy, rich. The opposite of lean.

Fermentation   
In wine, the process by which sugar in grape juice is transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide, and the juice to wine, through the action of yeast organisms. Also refers to any conversion of organic compounds that is catalyzed by microorganisms.

Fining   
Clarifying wine by mixing in agents such as gelatin or egg whites to remove specific components and suspended matter.

Finish   
The final impression a wine leaves after you have swallowed or spit it out.

Firm
   
A term for wines that are not soft, but are not harsh or tough, generally referring to the tannic content of red wines or acidity of white wines.

Flabby   
A term describing wines that are too soft.

Flat   
A term for wine lacking a refreshing, tart or sour taste, or sparkling wines that have lost their bubbles.

Flavor compounds
   
Organic substances in the grapes that are responsible for many characteristic flavors and aromas of a varietal wine.

Flavor intensity   
The degree to which a wine's flavors are pronounced and clearly observable.

Flavors   
Aromatic compounds of a wine perceived by the mouth.

Fleshy
   
The term used to describe a rich textural impression of a wine.

Flor   
Yeast that forms after fermentation, producing a film on the wine's surface and imparting a distinctive flavor if left in contact with the wine. Fino sherries are produced by aging under flor, which protects the wine from oxygen and destroys the bacteria that turns wine into vinegar, mycoderma aceti.

Fortified wine   
A wine in which the alcoholic content has been boosted by the addition of grape spirit or brandy.

Free-run   
Grape juice that runs freely from the crusher and press before force is used.

French oak barrels   
Barrels made from oak wood from French forests. French barrels impart more subtle wood flavors to wine than do American oak barrels.

Fruit character
   
Characteristics of a wine that are derived from the grape, such as aroma, flavor, tannin, acidity and extract.

Fruity
   
Displaying aromas and flavors suggestive of fruit. It can apply to aromas or flavors suggestive of fresh fruit, dried fruit or cooked fruit.

Full, full-bodied   
The term for wines that give the impression of being large in the mouth, usually derived from high alcohol content.

Generous   
The term for wines whose characteristics are expressive and easy to perceive.

Gewurztraminer
   
Distinctively flavored pink grapes used for fine white wines.

Gran Reserva   
A Spanish red table wine that has been aged at least 2 years in oak and an additional 3 years in bottle before release.

Grape tannin
   
Tannins in a red wine attributable to the grapes from which the wine was made.

Grape variety   
A particular type of grape, also called a "varietal.".

Green 
 
The high acid taste of wines made from unripe grapes.

Harmonious   
A term for wines that are well balanced and express themselves gracefully.

Headspace
   
The air space in the bottle between the wine and the closure, or in a tank between the wine and the lid.

Herbaceous, herbal
   
Pleasant odors reminiscent of herbs, such as fresh herbs, dried herbs or specific herbs.

Hogsheads   
Another term for 60-gallon oak barrels.

Hot   
High in alcohol, producing a slightly burning sensation on the palate. Generally undesirable except in fortified wines.

Hydrogen sulfide
   
Chemical responsible for the "off" odor of rotten eggs in wine.

Hydrometer   
An instrument used to measure the degrees Brix of grape juice during ripening, harvest or fermentation.

Intense   
A term that describes wines that express themselves strongly, either aromas and flavors, or of the wine's overall impression.

Jug Wine   
Term used primarily in California to describe the most basic sort of generic table wine, an American counterpart to vin ordinaire in Europe.

Kerosene   
Butter-like odor in wine created by malolactic fermentation caused by the presence of diacetyl.

Lean   
A term implying a thin, light-bodied, watery wine.

Lactic Acid
   
An organic acid produced in wine during malolactic fermentation, where strong malic acid is converted to softer lactic acid. Lactic acid is also found in milk.

Late-Harvest    
Grapes picked at high sugar levels. Or grapes whose sugar level at the time of harvest is due to Botrytis cinerea.

Lees   
Any residue that settles out of wine after fermentation, made of grape solids or dead yeast cells.

Legs   
Drops that inch up the inside surface of a glass above the wine and slowly run back down.

Length   
A term describing the sustained sensory impression across the tongue of fine wines.

Luscious   
Soft, sweet, fat, fruity, and ripe. All these qualities in balance.

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