One of the larger German wine regions. It is bordered by France on the West, and and Switzerland in the South. The grapes tend to be planted along the foothills of the Black Forest. This is where you can find most of the German plantings of the red wine grape Pinot Noir which is known locally as Spatburgunder. Muller-Thurgau and Rulander (Pinot Gris) are the main white wine grapes.
A much used, but rarely defined term in wine tasting. A wine is said to be balanced when no single component is overwhelming the wine, and the overall impression is pleasing.
One of the top Italian wines. Made from the Nebbiolo grapes in the Piedmont. It is often long lived and heavy when young.
A wine producing district just south of Burgundy, France. The red wines from the region are made from Gamay, and are typically light and fruity. Beaujolais Nouveau (noo-vo) is an early released style of this wine, that is sold with more fan fair and hoopla than the wine deserves, it is released the third Thursday of November.
The quaint little walled city is the unofficial capital of the Burgundy wine trade. The surrounding wine area, in fact the entire southern Burgundy, is referred to as the Cote de Beaune.
Literally "Select Berry Picking" in German. The English term is "Individual Berry Select". Tiny scissors are used to cut just the most perfectly ripe berries (grapes) from the cluster. The grapes must have no less than 125 degrees Oeschsle (about 30% ) sugar. The resulting wine usually is somewhat sweet (average of about 6% residual sugar) with great flavors and amazing complexity. This is one of the world's finest styles of wine. It is a great match for spicy foods of all sort.
The German term for a wine producing subregion as defined by the 1971 German wine laws. A bereich contains many villages and vineyards in its scope.
Another of the world's greatest "cute little wine towns." This one is situated on the Mosel River in Germany. The most famous wines of Germany, Bernkastler Doctor, are grown on the steep hillsides overlooking the river. The Doctor vineyard has a perfect southern exposure important in these chilly northern vineyards.
Beychevelle, Ch. (bay'sh-vel)
A Fourth Growth Bordeaux, France wine from the commune of Saint-Julien. The exceptional quality of this producer has propelled its fame beyond its rank. Alas, the price is as high as its reputation.
Wine tasting term for the sensation in the finish of a wine. This is different than astringency (q.v.) which is a dry feeling in the mouth. Bitterness is very hard to spot, and it is rare, and undesireable in wine. As well, the taster gets used to the bitterness quickly, so the taste goes away after a few sips.
Blanc de Blanc (blahn duh blahn)
"White from white" in French. The term is applied to white wines made from white grapes. Mainly used in Champagne to denote wines made entirely from Chardonnay.
Blanc de Noirs (blahn duh n'wahr)
"White from black" in French. The term is applied to white wines made from red (black) grapes. Mainly used in Champagne to denote wines made entirely from Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier.
Blending is perhaps the most important tool of the wine maker. While chemistry and science often have a hand in the final blend of a wine, more often than not it is a tasting that determines the final ratios. Like a chef seasoning a sauce, the winemaker adds a little of this, and a little of that, until the wine resembles that winemaker's idea of perfection.
There are several types of blending:
• Some wines, like Chateauneuf de Pape, Cote Rotie, Chianti, and Champagne, can be made from a blend of red and white grapes. Similarly Rose Champagne is often given that nice pink color, with the addittion of red wine (Pinot Noir). [Note: Rose, or "Blush" wines are made pink by pressing red grapes very carefully and ending up with a pink wine.]
• Other wines, like Bordeaux are blends of the same color. In the case of Bordeaux, the grape variety Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot (primarily) are blended, in order to add the character of each grape to the final wine.
• Even wines of a single variety are (or should be) blended. In this last case, wines that have been vinified seperately (refered to as 'lots') are blended together. This blending may come from the simple necessisty of having more grapes to vinify than can fit into a single tank or barrel, or the blending may be carried out in order to create a specific style of wine. At the highest quality level, individual vineyards are vinified seperately, each adding their own character to the final blend, with the remaining wine declassified and sold as a lesser wine.
A term that is sometimes used to indicate a wine made in a white wine style from red wine grapes. "Blush" is actually a registered trademark. These light pink wines are also called "Rosé" or in some cases "White (Name of red wine grape here)".
The Spanish term for a winery or above the ground wine storage .
The overall mouth feel or weight of a wine. Some tasters incorrectly attribute it to glycerin or glycol in wine (there is not enough in wine to make wine thick). The term may be related to the amount of dry extract in a wine (what is left when you remove the water).
Bonnes Mares (bone mar)
A Grand Cru red wine vineyard in the Cote d'Or in Burgundy, France. Located in the commune of Chambolle-Musigny.
One of the largest cities in France, and a generic term for the sea of wine that is made around the region. This is the home of the Haut-Medoc and such famous wineries as Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, Ch. Haut-Brion and Ch. Petrus. Sub regions include the Medoc, Sauternes (the great dessert wine of France), St. Emilion and Pomerol. With over 215,000 acres planted to vineyards, and an average 35 million cases produced annually, Bordeaux is one of the leading wine regions in the world in quality and quantity. The Principal grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlo for reds and Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for whites.
A fungicide made from copper sulfate and slaked lime. Used widely in Europe to prevent mildew. It is recognizable by its distinctive blue-green color.
Botrytis Cinera (bo-trie'-tiss sin-eh-ray'-ah)
The special mold that is responsible for many of the world's greatest dessert wines. It creates micro lesions in the skin of the grape, and then removes the water from the inside the grape. The result is fruit with a much higher ratio of sugar, suitable for creating sweet wines. The mold can also be harmful when it attacks dry wine vineyards (it is usually called Gray Rot when it is a pest). The French call Botrytis "Pourriture Noble" - the noble rot.
Used generically to indicate how a wine smells, or more specifically to indicate aromas associated with bottle aging. A more technical term for this later definition is "tertiary aromas."
The French word for Burgundy. Used on a label to indicate that the origin of the grapes can be from anywhere in Burgundy. If red, the grape is Pinot Noir, if white, Chardonnay.
Bourgogne Passe-tout-grains (boor-gon'-yah pahss too gran)
A blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir (at least 33%) from southern Burgundy. Not often seen, but worth trying.
A town and wine from the Loire region of France. Light and easy to enjoy, it is made from the Cabernet Franc grape.
A slightly sweet and fizzy red wine from Italy. This is my vote for the best pizza wine.
Allowing the wine to come in contact with air, either forcibly or by resting. Since most of the practices surrounding wine are one way or another designed to keep air from wine, breathing is a questionable practice. My own blind tastings have not shown a correlation between a recently opened bottle, and one that has been allowed to remain open (or decanted) for an hour. The phenomena of wine improving after time may be more accurately attributed to changes in your mouth and "getting used to" the taste of tannins and acids.
The a scale used to measure the ripeness of a grape. The predicted alcohol level of the wine can be expressed as brix x .55 = alc%. A grape picked at 22 brix will yield a wine with approximately 12% alcohol and no residual sugar. A dessert wine grape may be picked at 30 degrees brix and the resulting wine would have about 12% alcohol and 8% residual sugar.
Bual [or Boal] (boh-ahl)
A grape variety used in Madeira. Increasingly it is used to indicate a medium sweet style of Madeira.
One of the most important wine regions in France. The red grape is Pinot Noir and the white grape is chiefly Chardonnay.
A light, simple, Italian red wine (the name means "spatters like fire"). You will probably never see this, but at least now you know it is a wine.