Wines and Spirits Dictionary: Letter D

D.C. I.

These initials stand for the Distillers’ Company Limited, which should in no way be confused with The Worshipful Company of Distillers. The D.C.L. Was registered in 1877, when six lowland Scottish grain distillers merged, being joined by three others over subsequent years. The prime purpose of the original merger was so that the malt distillers, who were making gin spirit, could deliver this to the rectifiers who made the finished product. The concerns were thus able to supply first London and, subsequently, many other markets with their products, not limiting themselves to grain whisky or gin.

Each firm within the D.C.L. Sells its brands in competition with the others, acting quite independently and maintaining individual house styles. They do not own shops and, within the U.K., sell mostly to wholesalers. 4N export markets, they are of enormous importance, generally selling to specific distributors appointed for particular territories. They are one of the largest commercial concerns in the U.K., wielding great power. Their headquarters in London is in a very fine 18th century mansion in St James’s Square.


Stands for Denominazione di Origine Controllata, a law established in Italy in 1963 affecting Italian-bottled wines only. It determines the area within which certain wines may be produced, the soil and arrangements of the vineyards, the grapes and blends of grapes, method of cultivation, yield of the vineyard and method of vinification, and such details as length of maturation and whether wines of different vintages can be blended. Bottles and labels similarly come under control, as well as the names of both wines and firms. Penalties for infringement can be the closing of an offending establishment for a year and a heavy fine on each-gallon (4-5 litres) of wine to which a false description was applied.

Although the D.O.C. Is often likened to the French Appellation d’Origine Controlie, it does not really work in the same way. The administration is centralised, and does not depend, as does the A.O.C., largely on the local syndicates. The local consonii have been responsible for much of the pioneer work that has resulted in the D.O.C., but it comes under the Ministry of Agriculture in Rome. Some famous wines have not as yet been awarded the D.O.C., although more are receiving it.

A superior classification, that of Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Guarantita (D.O.C.G.), is intended for the finest wines, sold in specific bottles, with a government warranty. Possession of the D.O.C. – indicated by the label bearing its name – ensures the pedigree of the wine, where it comes from, how it is made, and how it should be labelled and presented. But although it would be unlikely that a wine possessing the D .O.C. Would be bad, the quality of a wine still remains the responsibility of the producer alone. In conversation, D.O.C. Wines are often referred to as ‘Dock’ wines – the abbreviation sounds a little odd to anyone not expecting this form of it.


Drink evolved by the servant of the manager at the Daiquiri tin mine in Cuba, in the 1890s. It is a mixture of white rum and lime juice, and was liked by the late President Kennedy.

Dallas Dhu (Pronounced ‘Dul-les Doo’, stressing ‘Doo’) Whisky distillery in Forres, Morayshire.


Australian winery, established in 1831 (by convict labour) in the Hunter River Valley. In 1908 it was bought by Penfolds and today specialises in quality table wines.

Danzig Goldwasser

The firm of Der Lachs first made this liqueur in 1598. Their name means ‘salmon’; this symbol was originally moulded on the bottle. Since very early times the tonic and revivifying properties of gold dust in drink have been widely credited, but the original Goldwasser was simply pure white, flavoured with aniseed and caraway. Danzig Silverwasser is a similar drink. Both are now made in West Berlin.


(Pronounced ‘Daowng’ – through the nose) One of the best-known Portuguese wine regions, in the middle of the country, around the River Mondego. Red and white wines are made, the larger firms having made an enormous impression on export, as well as local, markets by the improvement in quality effected by their use of modern equipment and technology. Red Dao is an assertive, gutsy wine, often capable of great improvement in bottle and therefore usually benefitting by some aeration before drinking. The white wines are full, slightly aromatic and fat; good partners to robust fish dishes and rather oily recipes.


Classed 5th growth of Labarde-Margaux, which therefore (because this parish has no A.O.C.) bears the A.O.C. Haut-Medoc. It belongs to Alain Miailhe, owner of Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande.


World-famous department of oenology at the University of California.

Dealul Mare

Romanian wine region north of Bucharest.


This French word has come into wine talk in recent times because, especially for the dry whites of Bordeaux, the process of debourbage (meaning ‘cleansing’) is often involved. The fresh must goes into a tank – usually stainless steel – together with sulphur dioxide, and stays there for 24 hours. The solid matter in the liquid is thereby removed and the wine is protected from too much exposure to the air and consequent darkening of colour.


Port firm, founded in 1868, with members of the family still active in it. It is also influential in the production of good quality Portuguese table wines, which are put out under the label of the firm directly responsible. The ports have very fine construction and are markedly aristocratic.


Winery near Stellenbosch, South Africa, now making a name for its table wines. The estate was originally known as Driesprong.


The term literally means ‘half dry’ but, as applied to most wines and certainly to Champagne, it will mean that the dosage has been sufficient to make the wine definitely sweet to most tastes.


This word derives from the French term Dame Jeanne, a large glass container, usually protected by exterior wickerwork. This is used for small quantities of fine wines and for spirits. There is no official size, although it usually is a gallon (4-5 litres) or more.


Many wines, both white and red, which are capable of a fairly long period of maturation in bottle, tend to throw a deposit in certain years. Vintage port, which throws a crust, is the supreme example of this. The wine will live on this deposit and its presence can be a great asset, as an indication both of quality and potential long life. The absence of sufficient skilled wine waiters. Whose art in decanting will secure a star-bright wine poured off its deposit, and the belief by the ignorant that ‘bits’ in wine are bad, has led to many wines being rebottled off their deposit before they are sold to certain markets more concerned with what they suppose to be ‘hygiene’ rather than appreciation of wine. If any wine has thrown a deposit and if. Once the wine (white or red) has been carefully poured off this (so that the deposit does not get into the wine in decanter or glass), the wine itself both smells and tastes good, there is nothing to worry about in the presence of a deposit – rather the contrary. The wine lives on its deposit and the presence of this is usually indicative of a quality product.

The type of deposit varies considerably, from the hard crust of a well-kept vintage port, to a very fine dust-like deposit (difficult to remove except by the aid of filter paper or a very fine-meshed decanting funnel). There can also be a sludge-like greasy deposit that fortunately clings to the punt by means of its own stickiness. No study of deposits appears to have been made, but different wines do throw different types of deposit. Red Burgundys’, for example, is finer and more dust-like than most of the clarets. This circumstance may also have influenced local practices as to whether or not to decant.

Before you start decanting, carefully examine the bottle with a strong light behind it, so as to try and see the type of deposit inside. If, when you draw the bottle from the bin. You examine it before you stand it upright, the deposit may begin to move and indicate something about its consistency.


Classed 3rd growth site ofMargaux which had the right to use it. It now belongs to Andre Lurton.

Dessert wine

As The Oxford Dictionary definition of ‘dessert’ is the fruit or sweetmeats served after the meal, the term ‘dessert wine’ means a wine that can accompany the last food on the table – not, as is often supposed, the wine to partner the sweet course. The term ‘dessert’ is used loosely these days and in the U.S.. it signifies puddings, pastries, ice-cream, sweet souffles and sorbets. None of these are ‘dessert’ in the English sense of the term. The fortified wines, such as port, dessert sherry, dessert Madeira are the most famous dessert wines, but the great Sauternes and some other sweet table wines are equally suitable for serving with dessert – though fine fruit plus nuts, rather than sweetmeats, are the ideal choice. Old claret can also be served. A dessert wine need not necessarily be very sweet but, coming after other wines, it should have more ‘weight’ and importance than those that precede it. There is every argument for the revival of dessert wines at more everyday meals than formal dinners; especially as a pudding or sweet is often refused by many people, who prefer cheese and then fruit.


Estate near Stellenbosch, South Africa, owned by Bertrams, producing fine table wines.


Famous Swiss vineyard in the Lavaux region, producing a fairly deep gold white wine, highly esteemed.


The best-known name of three Cote de Beaune villages (the other villages are Cheilly and Sampigny), making both red and white wines.


(Pronounced ‘Drohn) Mosel vineyard making fine wines, the Dhronhofberger being the best-known site. These wines are assertive, though elegant, with great distinction.

Diamond Creek

Vineyard on the side of Diamond Mountain in the Napa Valley. California.


(Pronounced ‘Deen-hime’) Wine parish in the Rheinhessen (see Rhine) region of Germany. Goldberg. Krotenbrunnen and Kandelweg are possibly the best-known sites.


Drinks taken to promote the digesting of food, therefore usually but not invariably, served at the end of a meal. Bitters and certain dry or very herby aperitifs taken before food could also be considered as aids to digestion; a liqueur that might be supposed to round off a good meal could, in general, also be referred to as a digestive. Obvious digestives are Kummel, Izarra, La Vieille Cure, Galliano. The aniseed-flavoured liqueurs, such as anis, could also easily be served as a preface to a meal.


Bulgarian white grape, grown for wine and the table.


Yugoslav white wine, made from grapes that are late picked and then dried in the sun before being pressed, thereby imparting some sweetness.


The process whereby most spirits are made. In very general lay terms, it takes place when a liquid is vaporised, so that the vapours given off are caught and condensed, to make another liquid. When, in the first instance, an alcoholic beverage is distilled, the alcohol in it will vaporise at a lower temperature. The vapours given off can be kept and used to make a liquid with a stronger alcoholic content, because the water will not be given off so soon. This is done either in a pot still, or a continuous, patent or Coffey still. The spirits made in pot stills (such as Cognac and malt whisky) tend to be more individual – which does not necessarily mean either better or inferior – than those made in a patent still. Distilling is a strictly controlled process in most countries and also a source of considerable revenue due to Customs & Excise duties levied on spirits.

Distillers, The Worshipful Company of

Not to be confused in any way with The Distillers Company Limited (D.C.L.). It received its charter in 1638, being founded by two eminent physicians, one of whom was the well-known Sir Theodore de Mayerne, who attended King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria. They attempted to control the quality of ‘Artificial and Strong Waters’ and, at the outset, were primarily concerned with seeing that vinegar, beer and ale were wholesomely made and ensuring that those who were distilling for medical or cosmetic purposes did not pervert their craft. The Distillers still restrict membership of their company to those .who are in some way definitely connected with the craft of distilling. They are unusual as a City company in that they do not and never have possessed a hall of their own. They originally shared the premises of The Cooks’ Company: nowadays they often hold their ceremonies at Vintners’ Hall.


Parish near Ay in Champagne.

Dock glass

A glass shaped like an elongated tulip, or a largish sherry copita, used for sampling or critically tasting wines.


Red wine from the Ligurian region of Italy, full in character and reputedly once liked by Napoleon I.


Piedmont red wine, made from the Nebbiolo grape in Italy.


Not to be confused with the town in France, this is possibly the best-known Swiss red wine. From the Valais region, it is made from the Gamay grape. There is also another red wine made from the Pinot Noir, called Petite Dole.

Domaine de Chevalier

Property in the parish of Leognan in the Graves, south of Bordeaux, slightly unusual in this area for being a domaine instead of a chateau. It makes both red and white wines but only about one-third of the production is white. Both red and white, however, are usually very fine, sensitive, delicate but fruity wines, much appreciated by those experienced in claret.


Roman Emperor ( A.D. 81-96) who issued a decree prohibiting the extension of Italian vineyards and requiring vineyards in the provinces of the Roman Empire to be uprooted so that only half their area was still cultivated. He is supposed to have done this to encourage the cultivation of grain, more important for the preservation of civic satisfaction than wine, but it may be doubted as to whether the wily peasants of the time complied wholeheartedly with this decree. It was rescinded by the Emperor Probus two centuries later.


Red Italian wine from the Aosta Valley in Piedmont. It is mainly made from the Nebbiolo grape and Philip Dallas says that, in the French-speaking part of the region, it is known as the Picoutener. The wine seems capable of attaining quality and is apparently supposed to have aphrodisiac properties.


The sweetening (usually cane sugar dissolved in wine) which is given to a sparkling wine before the second cork is inserted. This makes the wine reach a degree of slight to definite sweetness, according to the type of wine it is “wished to make. Known as liqueur d’expedition in France.


French word meaning ‘sweet’, which usually implies that the wine is very sweet.


Port firm, making very well-constructed wines, with what I usually note as a markedly aromatic bouquet.

Drambuie A whisky-based liqueur (which can be drunk at any time), with a romantic history. Prince Charles Edward Stuart, ‘Bonnie Prince Charlie’, flying for his life after the defeat at Culloden in 1745, was befriended by Mackinnon of Strathaird, to whom he gave the recipe for his personal drink. The Mackinnon family, although now marketing the liqueur, still keep the formula a secret. The late Mrs Gina Mackinnon, head of the clan, mixed the base herself before sending it to the production plant. The word means ‘the drink that satisfies’ in Gaelic: an dram buidheach.


Australian wine dynasty, established in the Hunter Valley, New South Wales. The founder of the firm was born in England in 1820, setting up in the Pokolbin region in 1850. The family name is the only one of those shown on the map of the original land grants of the area, that is still in business on the spot.

Drumborg Winery in the Great Western region of Australia, currently being developed b y Seppelts.

Dry Creek California winery.


Classed 2nd growth of St Julien, adjoining Beychevelle, whose wines it can slightly resemble.

Duhart-Milon (Pronounced ‘Doo-ah Mee-on’) Classed 4th growth of Pauillac, which was recently acquired by Lafite, who have planted the vineyard in the same proportions of grape varieties as that of Lafite.


Region to the south-east of Bordeaux, in which both red and white wines are made. Some of them, especially the whites, are of pleasant character.


Classed 2nd growth of Margaux, which now belongs to the proprietor of Brane-Cantenac.


This black grape may be the California Petite Sirah. It gets its name because it was propagated by a Dr Durif around 1880. It appears to make wines of only ordinary quality.


Austrian village in the Wachau region, making good wines.

13. December 2011 by admin
Categories: Uncategorized, Wine Dictionary | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wines and Spirits Dictionary: Letter D


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