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American oak trees that may become wine barrels

These beautiful oak trees may be harvested and transformed into wine barrels, in essence exchanging one artistic form for another.

Acetic acid
Acetic acid is associated with vinegar. Needless to say, an excess of acetic acid ruins the wine. But a tiny bit of this acid can heighten a wine’s bouquet and flavor.

Acidity
The major wine acids include acetic, carbonic, citric, lactic, malic, and tartaric. Excessive acid makes a wine taste sour, while insufficient acid renders a wine weak. Acid is particularly important in white wines providing a backbone, and allowing them to age. Acidic white wines such as Sauvignon Blanc are food friendly. The right amount of acid prevents sweet wines from being cloying.
Acidification
Acidification, sometimes called acidulation, is the addition of acid to the grape must prior to fermentation in the hope of improving the wine. This process is employed in many warm wine regions such as California. While it is often legal, some producers refuse to use it.
Acre
An acre is a measure of land equal to 43,560 square feet. On a more interesting note, on the average an acre produces 5 tons of grapes or a little less than four thousand bottles of wine.
Additives
Additives are substances added to a wine to enhance or preserve it. Among the many additives are acids, bacterial inhibitors, colors, flavors, minerals, vitamins, and yeast.
Aeration
Aeration is the addition of oxygen to wine. This can happen during the winemaking process, when decanting a wine, or by swirling the wine in a glass before tasting it. Aeration softens the tannins and expands the bouquet and flavors.
Aging
Keeping a wine for a period of time in a barrel, and then in a bottle to allow its bouquet and flavors to develop. For each wine there is an optimum aging period, after which it will stabilize and eventually decline. Most wines are not aged.
Alcohol
Ethyl alcohol (or ethanol) formed in wine during fermentation of sugar by yeast. The alcohol level varies from about 8.5% to 15%, with most wines between 11% and 14%.
American oak
American oak is the most widely used wood in the world to manufacture barrels in which wine and other alcoholic beverages are aged. The smaller the barrel, the greater its impact. Barrel aging can make a wine mellower, for example softening its tannins. Excessive oak aging, noted often with Chardonnays, can ruin a wine’s taste. As might be expected, American oak is more powerful and less subtle than French oak.

American Viticultural Area (AVA)
A region for growing wine grapes that is officially designated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) based on geographic, climatic and historical criteria. This designation regulates only the use of place names on wine labels. In contrast France, Germany, and many other countries impose additional restrictions including grape varieties used, yield, and production methods. At present over 140 AVAs are defined. An area that wishes its own designation must convince the BATF that its climate and geographic conditions are significantly different from its neighbors.
Anaerobic
An anaerobic process takes place in the absence of oxygen, for example in a well-sealed bottle.
Appellation
A system originally developed by the Portuguese to regulate the fortified wine port, and now applied by most countries to their wines. Appellations appear on the wine label and offer consumers an indication of the contents.
Aroma
The aroma is the smell of a young wine. Contrast to bouquet.
Aromatized wine
An aromatized wine is flavored by an additive such as orange peel, quinine, spices, or, perish the thought, pine resin.
Aspect
A vineyard’s aspect is its topography, for example, its altitude, slope, and compass direction of its vines.
Assemblage
Assemblage is blending of wines from different grape varieties, vineyards, or vintages.
      
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