Wine Glossary Terms: A
- The crisp or tart taste typically in white wines. This comes from the natural acids in wine: tartaric, malic and citric acid. Wines are described as being high or low in acidity.
- Wine can age in bottles, barrels, vats, or stainless steel tanks. Many wines improve during the aging process, which can take anywhere from five months to five years before the wine is ready to be sold to the public. The best conditions for aging wines are a dark room with high humidity and a stable, cool temperature.
- The part of wine that makes us loopy! Most wines range from 7 percent to 14 percent alcohol by volume. Alcohol is produced naturally by yeast during the fermentation process. The active yeast converts the natural sugars in the grape juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide, which is released from the fermenting tank by means of a trap.
- The French term, Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, (AOC), refers to a set of comprehensive regulations that specify the precise geographic area in which a given French wine can be made. AOC regulations also stipulate the types of grapes that can be used, the manner in which the vines must be grown and how the wine can be made. The Italian equivalents of France's AOC laws are known as DOC, Denominazione di Origine Controllata, and a slightly more strict set of regulations known as DOCG, Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita. In the U.S., the regulations governing AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) are far less strict than French or Italian appellation laws. AVAs are designated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. There are now more than 130 areas that have been designated as AVAs including such well known AVAs as the Napa Valley, Stags Leap District, Russian River Valley, Anderson Valley and so on.
- The smells from the wine that deal more with what you taste. The human nose can detect over 2,000 odors whereas your tongue can detect only fours main groups: sweet, salty, bitter and sour. Common descriptors include: "fruity" "floral" and "earthy"
- This is that mouth-drying effect when you drink red wines. Your mouth puckers and your tongue suddenly feels like velvet. This comes from young or very strong tannins. An astringent wine may be young and in need of aging. It may also simply need to breathe.
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