The front and sides of your tongue perceive acidity. There are many naturally occurring acids in wine, principally tartaric, malic and lactic. Insufficient acid in a finished wine makes the wine lack character.
BOTRYTIS aka “NOBLE ROT”
A mould that is responsible for the great French Sauternes. This type of mould sits on grapes, removing water from the grape thus concentrating flavors, and sugars. Sauternes are often as sweet as late harvest and ice wines, with flavor concentrations to match. It also improves the flavors and character of rieslings, and other aromatic grape varieties, especially when it finds a home on grapes destined for ice wines.
A measure of the sugar concentration in grape juice, with 1 Brix representing 10 grams of sugar per 1000 grams of grape juice. An indicator of ripeness of the grapes, and potential alcohol in the finished wine.
Grape skins and other solids that rise to the top of fermenting containers of red wine. The cap needs to be punched down 4-5 times per day to extract phenolic compounds from the skins.
A process, generally using a cold environment to precipitate out potsssium bitartarate wine crystals (wine diamonds).
Compounds produced by alcohol and organic acids, providing flavor and aromas to wines.
The addition of products to wine to help remove tiny solid particles or to strip undesirable flavors from a wine. Natural finings include bentonite, gelatin and egg white, which is particularly good in removing harsh tannins from red wines.
The process of extracting colour and flavour from grape skins prior to the onset of fermentation.
A natural process that transforms malic acid into lactic acid, thus softening up a more acidic wine. Often used in Chardonnay, it is responsible for the desirable “buttery” taste.
Literally, a lover of wines.
A red grape variety developed by crossbreeding Pinot Noir, the classic grape of Burgundy, with Cinsault, commonly grown in the Rhone region of France and other dry-climate locales. Grows exceptionally well in South Africa.
Compounds in wine responsible for colour, dryness, odours and flavours. Though they make up less than .5% of red wine, and less than .1% in white wines, they are amongst the most important constituents of the taste and flavour of wine.
The process of slowly moving the yeast used in the second fermentation of champagne into the neck of the bottle. Bottles are placed neck down on spiral racks and slightly moved each day until they are nearly vertical, but upside down.
The species of grape vine that produces the finest grapes for winemaking. There are about 40 original vines, with another 2,000 that are the result of crossbreeding vinifera grapes.