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The set of accessories that “dress” the bottle, such as the front label, the rear label, the neck seal, the foil. etc.
To bring a wine to room temperature so that it is ready to be served and to express all of its aromas. Acclimatization is particularly important for red wines.
A slightly acidic wine.
A wine characterized by excessive acidity due to unfinished aging or to incomplete malolactic fermentation.
Caused by the natural acids contained in the wine, acidity confers longevity and freshness. If excessive, the wine is acerbic; if lacking, it is flat.
An immature wine, in which the sensation of acidity predominates.
A wine with excessive acidity or tannicity, which attacks the taste buds.
The cycle of development of the wine, from youth to maturity, which consists of the development of the organoleptic characteristics due to phenomena of physical, chemical and biological origin (such as slow oxidation, for certain wines, or reduction for others).
The period of maturation of the wine.
A bottle typically used in the Alba area for the local wines (Barbera, Barolo, Barbaresco, etc.). Similar to a Burgundy bottle.
A protein used for the adhesion of wines.
An organic compound of wine produced by the fermentation of sugars. The overall alcohol content of a wine is the total amount of acquired alcohol (as indicated on the label and expressed in % volume; e.g. 12.5%) and of potential alcohol – i.e. the alcohol that would be obtained if the residual sugars were also allowed to ferment. The acidic volume of a wine is determined by the percentage of sugars x 0.6 (1g of sugar produces 0.6ml of alcohol).
- Alcohol content
The percentage of alcohol contained in a wine with respect to its volume.
- Alcohol meter
A device that measures the level of alcohol in alcoholic drinks.
The percentage of ethyl alcohol in the bloodstream following the consumption of an alcoholic drink.
A full-bodied, vigorous wine with a high level of alcohol, which is perceived as warm on the palate, or a wine that is unbalanced due to excessive alcohol content.
The modification of certain properties of the wine caused by diseases or defects that result in the deterioration of the organoleptic qualities.
A white wine whose colors or undertones recall amber. It can be an indication of the maturity or tipicity of the wine (i.e. produced with extra-mature grapes) or may indicate that the wine has been subject to alteration.
The science that describes and classifies the varieties (grape types and clones) and behavior of vines.
The science of the cultivation of vines.
A terracotta container with two handles used by the ancients to store wine.
The array of aromatic undertones emitted by animals: amber, roast, damp, fowl, musk, fur, hair, salmi, game, sweat, etc.
A pigment of phenolic origin, contained in vegetables and particularly in black grapes. Its colorant power diminishes over time.
The final phase in the lifecycle of a vine.
The color of a wine, the intensity and clearness of a particular color.
The olfactory sensation produced by wines. The set of elementary scents, which derive from numerous components: acids, alcohol, aldehydes, ketones, esters, etc.
A typical scent of certain grape types, which are referred to as ‘aromatic’ wines: Gewurztraminer, Brachetto, Moscato and Malvasia
A new fermentation of the wine or malolactic fermentation in the Spring.
A full-bodied wine that is, however, lacking in velvety smoothness.
A synonym of ‘forthright’, this is a wine whose varietal characteristics – and particularly its belonging to a specific terroir – can be fully identified.
Micro-organisms of various species, some of which can develop in wine (e.g. acetic acid bacteria, lactic acid bacteria, etc.).
The family of aromas perceptible in great wines, recalling resin, pine, incense and juniper, amongst others.
A bottle used normally for spumante and Champagne, with a capacity equivalent to 16 x 0.75-liter bottles (12 liters in total).
A cask with a capacity of 200-300 liters (218-228 in Burgundy). In Champagne, barrels contain 205 liters.
An oak or chestnut cask used for the storage of wine (normally with a capacity of 25 to 50 liters).
The stirring of the lees back up into the wine (typical of the white wines of Burgundy)
An odor recalling that of methane, which is found in certain wines that have been aged for too long.
A taste resembling benzene, recalling solvent or paint.
A fleshy fruit. On the vine, berries are referred to as grapes.
A wicker tub with wooden, plastic or metal staves, which is attached to the shoulders with straps and used to transport grapes during the harvest. The tub generally has a capacity of 50 liters; the Hungarian puttonyos has a capacity of 25kg.
Potassium bitartrate: an acidic salt contained in grapes and in wine, it is a constituent of tartrate, which leaves a crystalline sediment on the sides of vats, barrels and bottles.
An astringent wine.. Astringent A wine that dehydrates the palate through its tannins. These tend to be young wines that are not yet very tannic.
- Blanc Blanc de blancs
a white produced exclusively through the fermentation of white-skinned grapes.
- Blanc de noirs
a white wine produced through the fermentation of red-skinned grapes vinified without the skins.
A mix obtained with grapes, wines and/or musts of the same vintage or previous harvests in order to maintain constant quality and taste over time.
The operation whereby the alcohol content of the must is increased (via chaptalization, the addition of concentrated grape must, the concentration of musts or of table wine through refrigerated concentration).
The structure of a robust wine that is rich in dry extract and alcohol – vinous, complete and dense.
To have body: to possess smoothness, consistency and all the elements required for the general equilibrium of the wine itself.
a bottle with a narrow neck and a capacity of 0.75 liters.
Bordeaux blend, a mix produced with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.
A harvest or grapes affected by noble rot / gray mold.
A distillate rich in volatile impurities.
A bottle with sloping shoulders and a capacity of 0.75 liters.
A foamy mass constituted by residual solids (lumps, peptic substancess, mucilaginous substances, stalks, etc.) that the boiling of the must of red grapes causes to rise to the surface of the vat during fermentation.
A cap-shaped device made of metal or plastic used to close the bottle or to cover the neck of the bottle after corking.
A rounded glass container. Carafe wine: wine dispensed from a bottle but served in a carafe – a presentation suitable for a relatively young wine that is fresh, light, fruity and easy-drinking.
- Carbon dioxide
CO2, an acidic oxide and the gas produced during the fermentation of alcohol (which makes the wine sparkling, once certain thresholds are reached). Enhances the freshness of the wine, boosting its aroma.
A wine that is red, almost violet, in color.
A drink from the south of France that is produced by adding grape spirit to non-fermented must.
A container made using oak staves, used for the storage and transportation of wines.
A system of sensory measurement that corresponds to one second and defines the aromatic persistence of a wine after swallowing (e.g. 5 or 6 caudalies for nouveau wines, 14-18 for great vintages, 18 for a high-quality red or white, 20 or 22 for fortified wines).
A woody aroma given off by certain wines, with a balsamic undertone.
The separation, by centrifugal force, of the solid elements suspended in musts and wines.
A sparkling wine produced in the Champagne region in accordance with a specific vinification process, referred to as the ‘traditional (classic) method’ or the ‘methode champenoise’.
The Champenoise method of sparkling wine production (cf. the traditional or classic method).
The characteristics of a type of wine.
Organoleptic characteristics: the qualities of a wine in relation to its original and non-original components, which are perceptible during tasting and provide stimulation at the sensory level (appearance, fragrance, taste) with reference to the representative (objective/representative) or affective functions.
A light, almost rosé colored wine.
A process of forced sedimentation that facilitates the elimination of any residual solid substances.
An operation geared towards the elimination of the solid residues suspended in the must or in a cloudy wine through spontaneous clarification or the use of various procedures such as centrifugation and filtration
Soil constituted in the main by clay.
Individual varietals or rootstocks that are homogenous and are obtained by vegetative multiplication (graft or vineyard frame) starting from a single individual selected for its properties in terms of health, organoleptics and agronomics.
A wine that does not release its aromas or tastes fully.
An association of winegrowers who work together to produce wine and to whom the profits are distributed equitably.
An association of estate-owning winemakers who work together to create a winemaking system that they could not create on their own.
stabilization The practice of cooling during vinification, used to stabilize the must in chemical/physical terms.
An operation that involves eliminating a part of the water contained in the must to increase its sugar concentration – i.e. its level of potential alcohol (an operation that is mostly prohibited). It can be carried out warm (must) or cold (freezing of must or table wines).
A well-balanced, firm, dense, well-orchestrated wine.
A wine with acidic, tannic touches but without hardness – a full-bodied, well-balanced wine with bite and backbone.
- Controlled Denomination of Origin
(Denominazione di Origine Controllata – DOC) A wine produced in a delineated area using techniques prescribed by law, in accordance with the regulations concerning the grape types to be used, the production volumes per hectare, the pruning operations, the alcohol content, the vinification procedures and the organoleptic qualities.
- Cotto wine
A highly concentrated wine produced through the partial evaporation of the heated must.
An effervescent wine/spumante, with a light, silky mousse due to the reduced presence of CO2.
A spumante produced using the Champenois method outside the Champagne region (e.g.: Alsace).
- Crème de tête
A white liqueur wine made exclusively from mature, large, healthy, sugar-rich, highly concentrated grapes of the highest quality.
A cultivar very often of high quality (due to the nature of the environment in which it is cultivated).
The product deriving from that cultivar.
A grape type obtained through selection and maintained in cultivation.
A wine that offers up little during tasting, with a finish that is not persistent.
The content of a vat, a barrel or a cask that is representative of a vineyard, a varietal, a plot or a typical factor. In Champagne, a cuvée is a wine chosen for blending. Tête di cuvée: the first cuvée, the best, obtained by the vinification of selected rare and excellent grapes from a specific vineyard.
The vegetative cycle of the vine encompasses three periods: the winter period (quiescence, when the plant comes slowly to life, and has not yet developed any foliage); the period of growth (spring, with the budbreak, the development of vine stock, flowering); the period of maturation (summer, with the growth of the grapes until they are harvested).
The opening of the first bottle of the new vintage. This generally refers to the first tasting of vin nouveau, which takes place on November 6 each year.
The separation of the lees of the solid sediment deposited in the wine container from the liquid part. The racking of a wine from the bottle to the carafe by the sommelier, to oxygenate it and deposit the lees.
A wine that has completed the evolutionary cycle and, as such, has nothing left to say.
A Champagne or spumante with an alcohol content of between 33 and 50 g/l.
Sediment suspended in the must.
The warehouse in which the packaged wines are stored before being distributed for sale.
A dessert wine: a sweet or semi-dry wine, served at the end of the meal.
To separate the grapes from the stalks.
A tool for destemming grapes.
A spicy aroma that recalls aniseed or fennel.
A wine with low levels of concentration and intensity.
An operation carried out using the pot still, which involves transforming – through a process of vaporization and condensation – wine or pomace into grape spirit (grappa, liqueur, etc.). Double or Charentaise distillation can be carried out as an alternative to continuous or Armagnac distillation.
A draught mixture added to spumante, produced using the traditional method, after dégorgement, which determines the type (brut, sec, demi-sec…).
Emanating the aroma of dried flowers.
A wine described as “easy-drinking” is one that is ready to be consumed immediately, without having to wait for it to age to any great extent.
Vino di goccia: the liquid obtained through soft pressing or crushing, prior to mashing.
mat A wicker or woven mat on which the grapes sit in order to dry out or to become over-ripe.
(“Vino di ghiaccio” in tedesco). Vino ottenuto da uve gelate, raccolte durante i primi freddi.
An unctuous, soft, fleshy wine, rich in glycerine and alcohol.
A wine affected by graisse.
An elegant, refined, smooth and gracious wine that caresses the palate and is not weighed down by too much body.
An operation that involves fermenting the grapes in vats for a period that varies depending on the type of product to be produced and the quality of the grapes, during which time alcoholic fermentation occurs along with the extraction of the colorant substances.
The set of chemical processes geared towards eliminating the sugars through the action of the enzymes contained in the fermenting agents.
Alcoholic fermentation: the process of transforming the sugars contained in the grape juice into ethyl alcohol, carbon dioxide and other elements.
Malolactic fermentation: the process whereby bacteria transform malic acid into lactic acid and carbon dioxide.
Second fermentation: 1. Restarting of the fermentation of a wine with small residual sugars. 2. Bottle fermentation.
agent A micro-organism with the capacity to trigger fermentation. Taste of ferment or of secondary aromas: the taste of a young, just-fermented wine.
An operation intended to clarify the wine, which involves filtering it in order to separate it from the suspension of solid substances.
- Fixed acidity
The total quantity of fixed acids in the wine.
A blown-glass bottle with an elongated neck and a curved base, wrapped in straw. Flasks were widely used in the past.
A well-structured, full-bodied wine that leaves behind a sensation of density and sweetness, just like when you bite into a fruit.
A stem glass, tall and slender, used for spumante and Champagne since it encourages the formation of bubbles.
The opening up of the buds and their development into leaves on the vine, which occurs in spring.
A wine made stronger by the addition of alcohol.
A strong odor redolent of fox fur; often an indication of quality, it can be unpleasant if overbearing.
A delicate wine if subject to alteration through exposure to air or transit.
A technique intended to boost the concentration of must or wine by freezing in order to increase the alcohol content (authorized for table wines only).
A well-balanced, slighly alcoholic and acidulous wine.
The condition of a wine at a temperature of between 10 and 13°C.
The condition of a well-balanced wine.
The set of aromas of a wine that recall those of the grape and of ripe fruit.
A vegetable scent, with different undertones – yeast in vin nouveau, wild mushrooms in aged wines, and truffle in certain very high-quality reds.
An animal odor typically found in red wine at various stages of maturity, which recalls the effluvium of game meat.
The color of a dark-red wine.
A wine that contains excessive amounts of carbon dioxide.
A generic appellation: the basic controlled denomination – i.e. the regional DOC.
A dense, full-bodied wine that warms the stomach while letting the spirit roam free.
A wine with a complex aromatic dimension.
An operation that involves inserting into a plant (the ‘rootstock’) the gemmiferous part of another plant (the ‘scion’) of a different species or variety, with a view to producing a new individual that is more resistant to phylloxera.
A disease that results in the microbial alteration of wines (especially whites), which take on an oily, viscous appearance.
- Grape spirit
A drink made from the alcoholic fermentation of vegetable juices, followed by distillation.
- The solid residue of the grape, composed of stalks and pips.
- A grape spirit with a high alcohol content, produced through the distillation of the pomace.
- Draught grappa: residues of the draught process.
A vegetable scent, recalling that of fresh grass. Symptomatic of the poor quality of the wine, this odor betrays the fact that the wine has been produced using insufficiently ripe grapes.
Soil composed of small morainic pebbles, sand and clay.
The presentation packaging of the wine.
Young wines lacking in smoothness, roundness and polish, which are unpleasant to drink due to the presence of tannic substances.
A characteristic of a coarse, bitter, astringent wine.
A unit of measurement for agricultural land, equating to a surface area of 10,000 m2.
- Highly colored varietal
black grapes with colored pulp, which produce a red wine rich in color (cultivated to endow blended wines with a strong color).
A nauseating odor that recalls decomposing vegetation and indicates that the wine has been altered.
A varietal deriving from the crossing of vines of two different species. Hybridization is usually used for rootstocks.
A wine that is still too young to have its organoleptic properties accurately evaluated.
Foreign bodies in the wine or grape spirit. In grape spirit only, ‘impurities’ can also denote the non-alcoholic components, such as volatile acids, aldehydes, esters, etc.
A lively, suitably acidic wine with considerable bite.
The insemination of a must or a wine with a culture based on fermenting agents.
- Intrinsic tasting
the organoleptic analysis of a wine on the basis of specific criteria – denomination, type, vintage. It is the opposite of comparative tasting.
A brilliant, shining wine, full of luminous reflections.
A wine produced in accordance with Jewish laws, under the constant supervision of a rabbi
A charred odor that is characteristic of certain mature or old wines.
Sedimented solids at the bottom of the bottle.
Taste of lees: the flavor of a wine that has remained for too long in contact with its own lees, making it sour, earthy and yeasty.
Bottled on the lees: an unfiltered wine, in contact with its lees.
A wine lacking in consistency, feeble, insufficiently acidic and containing an excess of sugars.
Solid suspensions in the must.
A wine that during aging has undergone changes, for better or worse, developing new aromas and fragrances.
The unpleasant odor produced by a vintage or barrel that has decayed (defect).
A wire hood attached to the neck of spumante and Champagne bottles in order to stop the cork from being pushed out by the carbon dioxide.
An oleaginous wine, compromised by the presence of bacteria.
The orange reflection of certain red wines, an indicator of maturity.
- Phylloxera vastatrix
An aphid (member of the aphididae family) that feeds on vines, destroying the root. By extension, this term is also used to indicate the disease caused by this insect.
The practice of covering glass bottles with a mesh of nylon, metal wire or organic materials in order to protect them from shocks or fraudulent uncorking.
- Pot still
The copper part of the still with a bulge similar to that of a pumpkin, into which are channeled the liquids to be distilled (pomace or wine).
An authorized chemical substance that causes no harm to humans and serves to inhibit fermentation. Carbon dioxide and nitrogen are preservatives.
- Rear Label
The small label stuck to the back of the bottle.
Refilling of the vats.
An elegant, delicate, highly aromatic wine.
- Rinse with wine
To rinse a glass with a small quantity of wine or grape spirit and prepare it for tasting.
A young vine with roots.
A hard, heavy, tannic, unrefined wine.
A wine that has a slight sweetness on the palate due to its natural sugar residue.
- Set one’s teeth on edge
This phrase is used to describe the astringent sensation caused by a wine that is excessively acidic or tannic (to provoke astringency).
A pungent sensation on the nose or palate.
- Side shoot
A vine shoot that sprouts from a bud formed during the year on a normal shoot.
- Slightly sweet
(amabile) A wine with an evident – but not overbearing – sweetness.
An aroma found in certain wines (mostly whites) recalling that of smoked foodstuffs.
To fill a barrel or vat with water in order to make it impermeable thanks to the swelling of the wooden staves.
To lose hardness through evolution and aging. Over time, the tannic and acidic substances are smoothed off.
A wine that smells of vinegar.
Alteration of the wine due to bacteria, marked by a brown or opaque coloring, an acetate aroma and the loss of tartaric acid.
The development of the shoots of the vine, which occurs in spring.
A curved plank of wood used to make barrels.
A device used in the distillation process, which can be continuous or discontinuous.
- Sugar cane
A plant used for chaptalization as well as in mixtures of liqueur expédition.
- Sulfur dioxide
SO2, an acidic oxide and the gas produced by the combustion of sulfur in the atmosphere. It has antioxidant and antiseptic properties and is used as part of the cellar operations.
The surface of the wine in the glass, which is analyzed to glean information on the color, brilliance, etc. of the wine.
A wine is described, by law, as ‘sweet’ if it contains more than 50g of reducing sugars (glucose and fructose) per liter (e.g. naturally sweet wine, liqueur wine, spumante, etc.). A wine with a sweet taste that is balanced with the other components on the palate.
In certain highly tannic red wines, a tangy palate can be indicative of quality, but if very pronounced it can be a defect.
A cylindrical mug with a handle, with a capacity of between 50 cl and 1 liter.
- Tears of wine
More or less regular curvatures due to the presence (to a greater or lesser extent) of alcoholic components. Since ethyl alcohol is a volatile component, it tends to evaporate, increasing the density of the liquid that slides back to the bottom. If there is more ethanol than glycerol, the tears are close together, whereas if there is more glycerol than ethanol, the tears are wider.
A fresh, delicate, honest wine, without any great depth or density.
- Total acidity
The total of the fixed acidity and volatile acidity contained in the wine.
The start of the period in which the grapes start to take on color – translucent for white grapes, violet-red for red grapes.
The year in which the grapes used to make the wine were harvested.
- Volatile acidity
The total quantity of volatile acids in the wine. Italian law prescribes precise limits on the quantity of these acids that a given wine may contain.
The alteration of the flavor of a wine caused by the presence of acetic acid in quantities of more than 1g/liter.
A wine that is strongly alcoholic on the palate, which once swallowed produces a sensation of heat and fullness in the stomach.
A wine lacking in body or backbone, which seems to have been diluted with water.
A wine to which water has been added (a practice prohibited by Italian law).
A very light, colorless wine with low levels of alcohol and dry extract.
A wine with the perfect combination of the components responsible for its organoleptic characteristics.