Sheldon Cooper’s guide to becoming a Wine Geek with these 39 very common Wine terms, jargon and lingos

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Armed with the following (non-flavor and non-descriptive) vocabulary, you are ready to conquer any wine conversations whether it is at a wine bar, winery or cocktail party.  

  1. Appellation -designated viticulture area. –more info
  2. AVA -short for American Viticulture Appellation, designated grape growing and wine making region in the United States.
  3. AOCAppellation d’Origine Contrôlée, similar to AVA but for France.
  4. Aged -or also known as matured, which refers to wines that have been sitting in cellar for sometime, usually 4-5 years or more.
  5. Body & Structure -refers to the texture or mouthfeel when tasting wine. more info
  6. Blind Tasting -when wines being tasted without disclosing their origin and grape varietals. –more info
  7. Bouquet -describes the overall complexity in wine (not its fruity characters) but instead the flavors of aged and developed wine, usually from more matured wines. more info
  8. Blend vs Single Varietal -Wine can be made from 1 kind of grape (single varietal) or it could be a blend -which is made with at least 2 kinds of grape or more.
  9. Bordeaux Blend -A blend between 2-5 varietals grown in Bordeaux France, they are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdo, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. more info
  10. Breathe (air) -letting wine sit after opening to enhance its flavors and complexity. more info
  11. Burgundy -not the color, but a very famous wine region in France, known for its wine made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. more info
  12. Cava -literally meaning Cave in Spanish,it refers to sparkling wines made from Penedes, Catalunya, Spain. more info
  13. Claret -a British term equivalent to Bordeaux-blend.
  14. Classified Growth -refers to the top 61 wine estates in Bordeaux France, there are 5 levels of classified growths. more info
  15. Chablis -Most northern wine region of Burgundy, known its crisp and vibrant white wine made from Chardonnay grape. more info
  16. Corked -wine flawed (or spoiled) as result from defective cork.
  17. Decant -wine poured into a vessel, usually made out of glass, to get it breathe better and/or to separate any unwanted sediments.
  18. Dry -refers to wine that is not at all sweet.
  19. Finish -the after taste or the ending taste of wine.
  1. Late Harvest -refers to postponed harvest of grapes to allow more concentration of sugar and flavors, often used to make richer and fruit-driven red wine or dessert white wine.
  2. Lees -refers to sediments, mainly of dead yeasts, existing in wine during production or aging.
  3. Legs & Tears -refers to stands of wine droplets adhering to the glass after swirling.
  4. French and American Oak -Oak used for barrels where wine will age, most popular kinds are made from American and French Oak –more info
  5. Grand Cru -refers to higher quality wines from Bordeaux or Burgundy, France –more info
  6. GSM -a blend of 3 grapes made popular in the Rhone Valley, France; they are: Garnache, Syrah and Mourvedre
  7. Meritage -a registered trademark of a California wine designation of quality of Bordeaux blend wines.
  8. ML fermentation -short for Malolactic fermentation, which takes place during barrel aging, it helps turn mactic acid into lactic acid.
  9. New World vs Old World -refers to wine producing countries in the world.  New World consists of any country from Europe, New World covers any country outside of it.
  10. Nose -refers to aromas and bouquet detected when smelling (or nosing) a wine. –more info
  11. Oaky -refers to wine with intense wood flavor as result of over-aging in Oak barrel.
  12. Oxidized -refers to flat-tasting wine that has been exposed to air for too long.
  13. Rhone Blend -blends that consist of 3 major grapes: Syrah, Granache and Mourvedre
  14. Racking -refers to a process of transferring wine from one barrel to another to separate and discard unwanted sediments.
  15. Sparkling wine VS Champagne -sparkling wines made outside the town of Champagne can only be referred to as sparkling wine; sparkling wines made in Champagne, France can be referred to both sparkling wines or Champagne.
  16. Tannin -the dry, gritty and sandpaper-like effect when tasting wine.
  17. Terroir -a French term referring to the combination of factors surrounding the exact location where grapes are being grown: climate, soil, water, wind, temperature, etc. –more info
  18. Varietal – kind of grape
  19. Vertical Tasting -a tasting of multiple wines of the same winery and same label but in different vintages.
  20. Vintage -a particular year in which the grapes were grown and harvested.

Opus One winery tasting

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