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Wine Books by
Stephen Reiss
 
Wine Glossary
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Acidity

The tart taste in wines. When there is too much acidity the wine can taste sour.


Aftertaste

The taste that stays in your mouth after swallowing the wine. It should be pleasant and in fine wines it should last a long time after the wine is gone.


Ahr (ahr)

A tiny wine region in Germany. Unusually for Germany, most of the wine made is red. The main grape is Pinot Noir which is known locally as Spatburgunder.


Aloxe-Corton (ah-loks cor-tawn)

A wine producing village in Burgundy, France that is famous for both great reds and whites. The Grand Cru reds are Corton (with or without additional names, e.g. Le Clos du Roi or Les Renardes) and the famous white wine is Corton-Charlemagne.


Alsace (al-zass)

A French province that makes some of the finest dry white wines in the world, many from grapes that in other parts of the world would be used to make sweet wines, such as Riesling and Gewurztraminer.


American Viticultural Area

Often abbreviated AVA. This is the set of US laws which regulate the use of place names on wine labels. Unlike similar laws in Europe, there are no restrictions on grape variety, yield or wine making practices. AVAs seem to be created more as a response to politics, then as a form of consumer protection. There are over 140 AVAs at this time.


Appellation d'Origine Controlee (ah-pel-ah-s'yawn daw-ree-jeen cawn-trohl-lay)

Often abbreviated AOC. The designation for wines of better quality from France. It is a set of laws which help the consumer to determine the origin and quality of a wine. These laws dictate the grape variety, the minimum alcohol and other quality factors, for any given wine from a specific region. Higher quality wines may come from a place as specific as a single vineyard, while other wines of the region may use a more generic place name. The rules for wines from a single vineyard tend to be more stringent than those for a general area.


Aroma

The smell of a young wine. Different from bouquet, in that Aroma is the smell that comes from the grapes, and bouquet, which takes time to develop, is the smell that comes from the finished wine.

Technically there are 3 forms of aroma. Primary, which originates in the grape itself. Secondary aroma, those which are aerobic (happens in air) and are due to the wine making process (this includes barrel aging). Finally, tertiary aromas are those which develop in a reductive environment (without air) in the sealed bottle, over time, these are what is usually called "bouquet".


Astringent

That mouth puckering feeling that some wines give you. Related to, and usually caused by tannins. The sensation is accentuated by the acid in wine.


Auslese (ouse'-lay-zuh)

A German term for "Select Harvest". Wines with this designation are slightly sweet and lucious. Don't be afraid of these wines, they are often great with food, and rarely expensive.


Ausone, Chateau (oh-zon)

One of the greatest French wines, it is made in the village of St.-Emilion in the region of Bordeaux. This wine is too often overlooked by some consumers for its better known peers from the Haut-Medoc, such as Latour, Margaux and the other First Growths. As with most wines of St.-Emilion, Ch. Ausone is made from Merlot and Cabernet Franc, and the resulting wine is more elegant than the Cabernet Sauvignon based wines from the Haut-Medoc, across the river.


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