Wines and Spirits Terminology A – C

Abbocato

This Italian term implies that the wine (it often refers especially to the wines of Orvieto) is semi-sweet. The term amabile is also used.

Abocado

Spanish term for a slightly sweet wine.

Aqua vitae

Latin for ‘water of life’, the term was used in medieval and even later times to signify spirits. It is possible that it originated as aqua vine (water of wine) when distillation was still a novelty, or even aqua vite (water of the vine). In some historic writings, aqua vitae may actually mean brandy, the spirit of wine, rather than a spirit such as gin or rum. It is a term not used nowadays except in the words that derive from it, such as aquavit.

Aroma

Some people suppose this to be same as the bouquet but the distinguished writer Alexis Lichine differentiates it by saying it is the impression a young wine makes on the nose. I prefer the definition of my own teacher, the late Allan Sichel: The aroma is roughly speaking the smell of the taste, whilst the bouquet is the impersonal collection of smells given off by the wine, mostly the product of the maturing process and recognised by the nose alone. The one is projection (aroma), the other (bouquet) the very substance itself. A wine can, in my view, be aromatic without having much bouquet, the different smells that make up the aroma can be pronounced, even strident – but they can only indicate what is there, in the wine. Whereas almost any wine has, or should have, an aroma, only the better possess a bouquet.

B.O.B.

The initials stand for ‘Buyer’s own brand’ – the wine or spirit put out by a firm (shipper or merchant) under its own label, instead of bearing that of the establishment supplying it in the country of production. The term is most usually applied to house Champagnes.

B.V.

Short for Beaulieu vineyard in California, U.S. The pronunciation of the first word, even in the American manner (Bowl-you) proved a deterrent to many potential customers, so these days the labels of this fine wine bear the initials B.V.

Baume

(Pronounced ‘Bow-may’) Measurement of sugar in wine: 1° Baume is approximately equal to 0.6oz (18g) of sugar to each 1.76 pt (litre) of wine. A luscious table wine may have 3-5° Baume, a fairly dry wine about 1° Baume. With fortified or certain specially made dessert wines, the degrees Baume may be very much higher, but they are subject tocontrols, so as not to risk distorting the essential character of the wine. This is why the term ‘dry’, whether relating to sherry in the/mo range, or in a flowery-smelling table wine, is both variable and a matter of personal preference. One firm’s ‘dry’ may be somebody else’s ‘medium’.

Beerenauslese

This term is usually only associated with German wines but is sometimes applied to others. It means ‘selected berries’, and implies that the grapes have been picked out individually, not by bunches, for their quality and maturity and that the wine made from them will be full and sweet, but of delicacy and charm – and may be expensive.

Beeswing

Curious form of deposit occasionally found in port. It does look exactly like a section of insect’s wing, but in fact it is the tissues of the grape flesh. Some writers say it can occur in red table wines, but I only know of it in connection with port and am informed that, with the scientific and hygienic methods of winemaking today, it is now very rare.

Bellarmine

Fat-bellied glazed jug, used for serving drinks. Its name derives from that of Cardinal Bellarmine (1542-1621). a famous lover of the good things of life. It appears to have been in use in Britain from about the beginning of the 18th century. It would now be something of a rarity, but the word does occasionally feature in the world of antiques.

Bianco

This Italian word means ‘white’ and is often used to differentiate Italian wines that otherwise have the same name as those that are red or pink. Its most celebrated use, however, must certainly be in connection with vermouth. A vermouth that is bianco is supposed by large numbers of people to be dry – I suppose because of its light colour – but in fact the majority of all biancos of this type are definitely sweet. Of course, each vermouth house makes its own individual style of vermouth and the character of each bianco varies. But the biancos are usually much sweeter than the ordinary dry white type of vermouth.

Bin

Rack, shelf or holder for the storage of bottles on their sides. A ‘bin end’ is an odd lot of wine that may feature on a list as a sale bargain. ‘To bin’ means to store wine in tiers. Nowadays, metal racks make this easy but until recently odd spaces in cellars had to be filled with wines ranged on top of each other, only with the aid of lathes. Binning of this kind requires great skill — for it should be possible to walk on the top of a properly ‘set’ bin, even if this is 4-5 ft (1.2-1.5m) high. Also it should be possible to withdraw a single bottle from far down the tiers without any subsidence. Good binning is a cellar form of architecture.

Blanc fume

The local name used in the upper Loire for the Sauvignon grape that is used for the quality wines. The most famous of these is Pouilly Blanc Fume, but white Sancerre is also made from the Sauvignon.

Blanco

Spanish for ‘white’.

Blend

This word has come to mean something that is condemned as wrong in the minds of those who know little or nothing about wine – because of the occasional ‘exposures’ in the newspapers of wines cut with wines other than those of the name on the label. But, unless a wine is made from one single vinestock, it will be obvious to the sensible that every single wine is a blended wine in one way or another. A wine may be made from a blend of grapes, the different cuvees or vattings may be blended together when a quantity of wine is made on the same property; the wine of one vintage may be blended with that of another to the improvement of both – as occurs with most Champagne and many sparkling wines, also with the good branded wines or vins de marque for everyday drinking; and the wine of several small plots may be blended together to improve the whole, sold under the name of the overall vineyard (see Burgundy). All sherry is a blend, all port except for vintage port, all Madeira except for the very occasional vintage wines. To sneer at a wine as ‘a blended wine’ is to reveal that one knows nothing about the way wine is made.

What, occasionally. people can fairly complain of, is the blending in of wines from regions outside that of the region named on the label. But as this ‘stretching’ enables passable wine to be made in some years or in some vineyards where otherwise this could not happen, and as the public taste can bring pressure on growers as well as shippers to alter the character of their wines, the whole question is complex and debatable. The strict control of what may be stated on the label is. in theory, admirable. But what about the customers who will not pay a fair price for a genuine wine, such as Chablis, or who would not like the real thing at all if they got it? Ideally, nobody should ‘drink the label’ or. equally, the name. But people do and. at least as far as public companies in the wine trade are concerned, they must attempt to make a profit by satisfying public demand. The blending of wine, such as making the cuveein Champagne, is a skilled and delicate business: the blending of Cognac likewise. It is right to speak of the art of the blender and it is paying tribute to him to pay a fair price for wines and spirits and obtain them from a reputable source, whether from a large concern or a small one.

Blind

To ‘taste blind’ is to taste without having any prior knowledge — or possibly only an indication — as to what is being tasted. This means that whatever is in the glass must he appraised without regard to its reputation. price or anything except what the wine (or spirit) can actually ‘say’ to the taster. It is illuminating to do this, because. however much a taster thinks he is uninfluenced by a wine’s label, personal preferences or the sort of prejudices that may have been formed about certain wines, it is impossible to clear one’s mind of all these things. The wine as seen ‘naked’ can be a disappointment or a revelation of delight.

However, there is a tendency, among the enthusiastic, to indulge too much in blind tasting, in my opinion. It can be discouraging if a taster lacks wide experience, so as to have an inkling, for example, as to whether a wine is of an ‘off vintage, or whether an estate may have recently been replanted, or whether the method of vinification may have been radically altered. All these things can affect the verdict of the blind taster, but may be intelligent ‘mistakes’ even if the taster does not divine what the wine is. If you do not know why you have gone wrong, or cannot interpret what the wine has ‘told’ you, it is easy to think that you cannot taste well.

What is of importance is for serious wine-lovers to taste blind wines that they think they can recognise: between brand and brand, detecting vintages, working out specific grapes or classic areas. Indeed, this type of exercise is stimulating when the tasters know what the wines are and taste them first being aware what each one is. Later the bottles are masked and changed in order, so that the second part of the tasting is blind. It can enable people to register certain smells and taste sensations, regardless of anything else. But wines selected for this purpose should be straightforward – it is always possible to catch even the experienced with a wine not quite typical, or some novelty. Or, if you taste only from the list or from the establishment of one single merchant or maker, you may rely too much on his house style, which may not be as typical as you suppose; so other wines, within the same price range, should be put alongside those that the taster supposes he already knows.

It must be emphasized that an ability to taste blind does not constitute an overall great knowledge of an authority in wine – it is a great skill and can be a great pleasure. What is perhaps the most surprising thing about tasting blind, is the revelation that some wine experts are almost lost without knowing what a wine is: whereas beginners, lacking even the words to express their impressions, can be far more interesting and intelligent about expressing what they experience.

Bontemps

The small wooden bowl in which eggwhites were whisked for flning the wines in former times in the La Gironde region. Today it gives its name to the Bordeaux wine order, the Commanderie du Bontemps du Medoc et des Graves, whose officers wear a toque-like hat with a crown of white fabric – to represent the eggwhites.

Boonekamp

A general German name for bitter liqueurs, mostly of a digestive nature. Some are supposed to have aperient qualities as well.

Borgona

Term loosely used in the Iberian Peninsula to indicate a red wine of fairly robust and heavy character. It should not be assumed that there is any other resemblance to Burgundy.

Bouchonni

French for ‘corked’.

Bouquet

For this, I can do no better than quote the late Allan Sichel: ‘The aroma is roughly speaking the smell of the taste, while the bouquet is the impersonal collection of smells given off by the wine, mostly the product of the maturing process and recognised by the nose alone. The one is a projection, the other the very substance itself.

It is, however, a term used rather loosely by many, when what they often mean is just ‘smell’ – not the same thing. After some thought, the taster can work out the exact definition preferred, but in general the word refers to the ‘collection of smells’. These may not always be pleasant, although certainly when the word ‘bouquet’ is used, the implication will be that it is a pleasant one

Bourgeois growth

The classification of the fine wines of Bordeaux is always being discussed, but alterations are often bitterly resented by owners. But many ‘classed growths’ are nowadays often only a very little superior in quality to the finest bourgeois growths, thanks to the care and skill devoted to cultivation and winemaking. There need be nothing to hesitate about in choosing a good bourgeois or, even, an artisan growth. Indeed it can be of the greatest interest to see how bourgeois growths mature, because, as they usually come on a little more rapidly than the classed growths, their performance can indicate what their more expensive neighbours may possibly do later as regards progress. A serious winelover would certainly prefer to drink a good bourgeois, possessing a growing reputation for quality, than a classed growth of an inferior vintage and the quality of which may, through mismanagement, have declined. The growths have been categorised, some being rated as ‘exceptional’, such as Chateau d’Angludet.

Brut

(Pronounced ‘Brute’) This French term is usually associated with Champagne, although it can be applied to any wine when it is wished to indicate that the wine is absolutely dry. with no added sweetening.

Bumper

The dictionary definition of this is ‘a glass filled to the brim’ (which does not imply the drink is a fine wine or the drinker is of any discrimination) or, in consequence, a large helping. The term originates in the 17th century when it was a common custom to drink heavily when the toast or the occasion was important.

Buzz

To ‘buzz the bottle’ is interpreted by many people as meaning ‘to send the bottle round (the table)’. But the expression has quite another meaning – certainly in the U.K. The word was originally spelt ‘buz’ and is quoted in Thomas Love Peacock’s novel, Gryll Grange (1860). A ‘buzz’ occurs when the wine in the decanter is poured into the glass of the drinker before whom it arrives, during its circulation around the table, and the amount remaining in the decanter at that stage empties the decanter completely and exactly fills the glass of the drinker – who will probably have previously guessed that it might do so, and who therefore pours it out to fill his glass to the brim – or even slightly bulging over the brim, without spilling.

Originally, as the late H. Warner Allen states, a wager was involved as to whether the bottle would be ‘buzzed’ or not and the person who judged correctly, picked up the decanter and proved the point, was given a bottle by everyone around the table. Today, in a more moderate fashion, the person who achieves a buzz merely gets a helping of the next bottle, in addition to the buzzed wine in his glass. I am told that the custom still prevails at some colleges, but it is definitely an old-fashioned one. The expression appears to refer mainly to port.

Byrrh

A French aperitif, rather sweetly-bitter, evolved in the Roussillon region of France by a shepherd of the Pyrenees, Simon Violet, in 1866. It is claimed that it was the first aperitif in which quinine was added to the wine. The owners of the firm making Byrrh at Thuir claim that they possess the biggest cask in the world – it is certainly gigantic.

Capataz

Spanish word for ‘cellarman’, who exercises considerable authority in the bodegas.

Chai

The term used in the Bordeaux region for the store place in which wines are kept in cask while at the property where they have been made. The nature of the soil makes it impossible for true cellars to be made belowground in most of the Gironde. The maitre de chai is a very important person, in charge of the wine throughout its life at the estate (his title may be translated as ‘cellarmaster’).

Chaptalisation

The process of adding sugar to the must, so as to assist the fermentation, especially in northern vineyards where there may not be sufficient natural sugar in the grapes to enable an acceptable wine to be made. Chaptalisation is permitted, although strictly controlled, in the making of Burgundy and, in certain circumstances, in making other classic wines.

Claret

The word orginally derived from clairette, signifying a light coloured wine, typical of the reds of Bordeaux, and used to differentiate these from the darker up-country wines often used for blending with them in years when they lacked colour and body. In time the term became used by the English and, subsequently, the British, for all the red wines of Bordeaux; although rather oddly no other country even seems to have made use of the word. In recent times, there was much trouble among the members of the EEC, when it was wished to suppress the use of the word ‘claret’ on wine labels – the British won that battle, because of the precedents established by using that name. However, the U.K. is still the only country where its use is accepted and understood.

Clarete

Term often used in the Iberian Peninsula to signify red wines that are light in style, as compared with the weightier reds or borgonas. It should in no way be associated with claret, which it does not resemble at all.

Classification

This term, used generally in connection with wine, usually means the ranging in five cms (growths) of the wines of the Medoc (and one red Graves) in 1855. The outstanding red wines of the Bordeaux region had, in fact, been ‘classified’ since the early part of the 18th century, but in 1855 the syndicate of Bordeaux brokers carried out the classification of the red wines of the Gironde and of the Sauternes and Barsacs for the Universal Exhibition in Paris. It should be stressed that this arrangement was essentially for the purpose of sorting out the wines according to the price they might be counted on fetching.

The 1855 classification of the Medoc (except for Haut Brion, then classed among the 1st growths, no red wines from any other region were included) still stands; although there is now considerable argument about a reclassification. Some estates have been rearranged, a few have disappeared, properties have changed hands and quality has varied. Mouton-Rothschild, classified as a 2nd growth in 1855, now often fetches a price as high as any of the other lsts and objected strongly to being described as ‘second’, adapting the motto of the

Rohan family as: ‘Premier nepuis, deuxieme ne daigne, Mouton suis’ (First I can’t be, second I won’t be, I’m just Mouton). Due to the assiduous campaigning of its owner. Baron Philippe de Rothschild, it was reclassified as a 1st growth in 1973. But, understandably, other owners whose properties might be classed down on any rearrangement, object violently to any change, and so do those who, often with reason, think they might possibly go up much higher than the suggested alterations indicate – and that their prices imply.

It is probably fair to say that all the classed growths of the Medoc are fine wines, and that the majority of them still set a standard – for quality as well asa for price. But the categorisation into five sections is often misleading today, because some 5ths, 4ths and 3rds often rate higher, as regards quality, than some 2nds. There is even one 1st growth that went through a period during which it did not, in the opinion of many, deserve its high position.

The Sauternes and Barsacs were classified, as has been stated, in 1855. The white wines of Graves were classified in 1959. The red wines of St Emilion were classified in 1955, and the red Graves in 1953. It will be noted that, in the lists of these classified wines, the subdivisions vary slightly. It should also be remembered that it is not obligatory for the property to indicate its classification on its label: for example, Latour does, but Lafite does not. The bourgeois growths of the Medoc were classified in 1932 and 1966. They are not listed here for reasons of space, but the fact of their having been classified may be given on their labels and the complete list is given in Cocks and Feret, Bordeaux etses Vins, or other detailed reference works.

Why anyone bothered to issue this decree and why anybody should attach the slightest importance to it, is something that will doubtless baffle British drinkers, as it does me. The quality of the wines is not affected at all and the discriminating will continue to believe that certain of these fine wines are better than certain others, which of course they are entitled to do; as they are entitled to their personal preferences as to which they like best – not always the same thing. However, I am citing the decree as something that has become law in France, apparently considered of importance by some French people.

Clone

This term, increasingly heard used by those discussing vine varieties, means a specific strain, deriving from one particular vine.

Clos

The word means ‘enclosure’ and is often used to indicate a vineyard surrounded by a wall. Although the prefix is most associated with Burgundy, it may be found in other French wine regions.

Cocktail

The origins of this word are obscure, some people claiming that it is an Indian, Mexican or Aztec word. It seems definitely to have been first used in the U.S., possibly from the very beginning of the 19th century, and implies a mixed drink based on spirit or spirits, including bitters and served in a small glass.

Commune

French for ‘parish’. The word, used in a wine context, implies a parish wine, such as St Emilion or Margaux. which may or may not bear a vintage date. The wine should be typical of the area but, even though it may in fact contain wine from individual properties (which for various reasons may have been declassified), it will be a general representative of its region, no more.

Congenerics

Without describing these in chemical terms, it is roughly true to say that they are the ‘extras’ in spirits, apart from the alcohol – the elements that remain in the distillate that give spirits such as brandy and malt whisky their charm and individuality. They are not relevant to the quality of the spirit, but it is thought by many medical authorities that it is the congenerics that make some spirits more conducive to producing hangovers than others. For example, vodka is low in congenerics, and so is beer, whereas Bourbon, malt whisky, brandy and rum are fairly high. The research is still continuing.

Co-operative

This term is capable of a number of interpretations but. in general, a ‘co-op’ is an association of winegrowers who need one winery to process and. at need, keep and market their wines. Small-scale growers can obviously not install machinery on a large scale, for using only once a year at vintage time. The work of the co-operatives has made it possible for many growers to remain in business and, within certain organisations, to continue making individual wines. Some co-ops are highly reputed: there is. for example, one in south Burgundy where the most respected foreign buyers purchase wines, each one of these individual to the particular vatting. This type of co-op can make a range of different quality wines, as well as handling the grapes for small proprietors who otherwise might not have been able to remain in business. The co-ops also often enjoy the services of famous oeonologists as consultants.

Although sometimes somewhat slighting references may be made, in a region abounding in fine estate wines, to a ‘wine from the co-op’; it is very often the co-op wines whose steady production has enabled peasant growers to remain in business and therefore to attract a market for the comparatively inexpensive wines – which, later, may attract buyers to buy the finer products.

Copita

Literally ‘little mouthful’. The term used for an elongated tulip-shaped glass with a short stem, as used for sherry.

Cosecha

This Spanish word means ‘harvest’ and implies a vintage, which will appear on the label.

Cot

Old-fashioned French name for the Malbec grape variety, a term seldom used nowadays.

Cote

French word for ‘slope’, implying the side of a hill. Wine from a slope is usually better than wine from flat land, and the sites half or two-thirds up the slope are usually superior to those at the top or bottom, because they are both slightly sheltered and better drained.

Country wines

This term has come into use in the U. K. for alcoholic beverages of approximately table wine strength, made from fruits, flowers and vegetables (elderflowers. apples, cherries, parsnips, damsons and so on). They therefore do not conform to the definition of wine. There is an enormous interest in the making of these country wines and large numbers of people produce their own, belong to societies concerned with such drinks and compete in annual fairs and competitions. It is a foolish ntion to suppose that such drinks are, even at their best, ‘better’ than fine wines, but a good country wine can be extremely enjoyable. A knowledge of how wine is made, gained by making such drinks oneself, can enhance the appreciation of wines and spirits enormously.

Courtier

This term is the French word for a broker (in wine).

Cradle

This term, more or less interchangeable with that of ‘wine basket’, refers to the device that holds a bottle of wine in a recumbent position, so that it may be drawn from the wine bin or rack without altering its position from the horizontal to the vertical. The purpose, of course, is to avoid any serious disturbance of such deposit as may be in the bottle, by standing the wine up and then being obliged to serve it without enough time for the deposit to slide from the side of the bottle to the base. If a bottle that has thrown a heavy deposit is drawn from the bin and brought to table in a cradle or basket, then whoever is handling it should draw the cork and pour while the bottle remains horizontal, either into a decanter or, at need, into six or seven glasses. The bottle should be gradually tilted but the wine should never be allowed to slop back and churn up the deposit. This operation should, in a restaurant that cares for the niceties of service, be conducted either on a table placed alongside that of the diners or. if this is awkward, then it can be carried out on a sideboard after the bottle has been presented. What, unfortunately, often happens, however, is that the bottle is pulled out of the bin and held upright while someone rushes it to the dining-room, where it is then fitted into a cradle or basket before being shown to the diner – the deposit being thoroughly shaken up in the meantime!

It is to be utterly regretted that it is the love of chi-chi by the public and ignorance on the part of many restaurateurs that results in bottles in cradles or baskets being put on to otherwise impeccably-set dining-tables. In my opinion, they have no more place there than has the chamber-pot underneath the table. If a cradle or basket has been used for decanting, then the empty bottle. (standing upright on a coaster or mat) plus its cork, is what should go on the table for the interested to examine. If there is no deposit in the wine, why put it in a cradle at all? Yet I have seen bottles of all sorts put in baskets because the public are supposed to like this pointless form of presentation. Apart from anything else, unless the pourer wedges the bottle firmly into the basket or is sure that the cradle will hold it firmly, it is extremely difficult to pour from a cradle or basket except for those with enormous hands and experience in serving wine. The cradle or basket also takes up far more room on any table than an upright bottle.

Cremant

Term used to describe a wine not as fully sparkling as Champagne or one fully mousseux. The pressure inside the bottle is not as great, being about 4 atmospheres, whereas a fully sparkling wine will have 5-5.5 atmospheres. In Alsace, however, the very strictly controlled fully sparkling wines made by the Champagne method are referred to today as ‘cremants’.

Crime

Prefatory term for a wide range of drinks that can be loosely categorised as liqueurs. They have been made for centuries: old recipe books of the American colonies contain a number of instructions for making ‘creams’, including the rather unusual ones with mint, laurel, jasmine, absinthe and roses. (The product of the dairy never seems to have been involved.) The crimes are not necessarily sweet and today’s regulations mean that the word following the term ‘crime’ is that of the main flavouring – such as Creme de genievre, the Dordogne Valley liqueur made from juniper berries.

The words ‘double crime’ have also been assumed by some to imply that the liqueur is doubly sweet or doubly strong alcoholically, but this is not so; in general, the ‘double’ means that the drink contains double quantities of whatever flavours it. However, as the concentration of ingredients will more than double if double quantities are used, sometimes only about half as much again will be used, so as to maintain the balance of the liqueur.

Cru

This French word means ‘growth’: but it is a noun and not the past participle of the verb croitre (to grow), which would be cru. It is usually employed in referring to a vineyard of quality and hence to the wine produced there. Frequently one of the classed growths (cms classes) of Bordeaux are cited in association with this word.

Crush

Noun used in many of the English-speaking New World wine regions to signify the amount of grapes crushed: e.g. The crush last year was less than average.’

Capsule

The cap, often of metal foilorof plastic, which goesover the topof the bottle, protecting the cork and also provides additional sealing if the wine should seep through the cork at all (see weeper). Sometimes, with plastic capsules, there is a perforated strip to tear off when the capsule is to be removed. Otherwise, with the metal type, the correct thing to do is to cut the capsule so that the whole piece covering the top of the bottle may be taken off. It is important to expose the entire lip of the bottle because, if the wine is poured over the capsule or any ragged edges, the metallic contact may affect the taste.

Very skilful people will cut round the top of the capsule so that a small portion remains attached, and then simply bend back the top of this like a lid. Some wine waiters even cut this ‘lid’ so that it makes a loop to hold the cork – a very pretty presentation. As the part of the capsule that covers the upper section of the neck of the bottle can be decorative, especially with some German wines, this enables the ‘dressing’ of the bottle to be largely preserved; but the whole capsule may be removed if there is any doubt as to what to do. Indeed, if the wine is to be decanted, it is probably better to do so, because then its passage right through the neck of the bottle to the lip may be observed.

Carafe

Container for open wine, served at the table. A carafe may, in fact, do double duty as a decanter in the home (the wine cork usually fits into the neck should it be necessary to seal it, or else a wedge of clean tissue may be used). However it may also be a jug. The (U.K.) Weights and Measures Order, 1976, requires all premises selling wine by the carafe to state the amount the carafe contains – 9 fl. oz (25cl), 17.5 fl. oz (50cl), 26 fl. oz (75cl) and 35 fl. oz (1 litre) – and to display a notice about this.
The expression ‘a carafe wine’ is sometimes used to imply something inferior but it should not do so; the carafe wine of a restuarant should be the manager’s standby, and of a quality, however cheap, that encourages the hesitant drinker to take more than a glass at a time. If you are buying a carafe, check the size, as it is difficult to judge by looking. If you plan to use it for bottles of wine, it is annoying to find that it will only take 17.5 fl. oz (50cl).

Carbon dioxide

C02 is produced during the process of fermentation and, in most still wines, it is simply given off into the atmosphere while the must is being worked on by the yeasts. This is why anyone going round a winery is usually warned, if they climb up to look into a fermentation vat, not to breathe in – inhaling carbon dioxide at thisstage can make one ill. But in the makingof sparkling wines, the carbon dioxide that would be given off in the second stage of fermentation, subsequent to the first tumultuous fermentation, is trapped in the wine whether in a sealed vat or in bottle. It therefore remains in the wine as a sparkle – perfectly harmless and a delight to the drinker. Its action accelerates the effect of alcohol on the human system, which is why a convalescent may be given a sparkling wine, to buck up the patient and stimulate appetite; also why a spui kling wine ‘gets the party going’ faster than a still one.

The slight ‘prickle’ or spritzig sometimes noted in a quality wine is usually carbon dioxide. A slight shot of C02 can be helpful in preventing a white wine maderising or losing freshness, but this should not be confused with petillancc. It is fairly common for many dry white wines bottled in hot places to be given a shot of CO2.

13. December 2011 by admin
Categories: Wine Dictionary | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Wines and Spirits Terminology A – C

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