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50 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Appellation Contrôlée - (Ah-pel-ah-syohN cohn-troh-LAY)
Legally defined wine-growing region under French law.
Auslese - (OWS-lay-zeh)
Designated quality level for German wine made from grape bunches "picked out" (literally) for their sweetness.
Beerenauslese - (BARE-ehn-OWS-lay-zeh)
Quality rating for very sweet German dessert wines, made, literally, from "individual grapes picked out" for their sweetness.
Bereich - (Beh-RYE'KH)
German wine region, a rather broad area usually incorporating a number of neighboring villages and vineyards.
Botrytis - (Boe-TRY-tis)
"Noble rot," a kind of mold that may appear on late-harvested grapes, causing them to shrink and dry so the natural sugars become highly concentrated.
The desirable rot ("Edelfaule" in German) that afflicts grapes -- particularly Riesling -- late in the harvest season, causing the grapes to dry and shrivel, concentrating the sugar in intensely sweet juice that makes memorable dessert wines. Manifests itself in the finished wine as a delicious honey-apricot flavor.
Brut - (Broot)
Very dry (unsweet), in specific reference to Champagne.
Cava - (CAH-bah)
Spanish sparkling wine.
Chateau - (Shot-toe)
Roughly equivalent to "vineyard" or "winery" in French wines.
Classico - (CLAH-see-koe)
Legally delimited central part of an Italian wine region, generally producing wines considered the region's best. See "Chianti."
Clos - (CLOW)
Originally, a walled vineyard. Often used in French wine names, with some California imitators.
Cosecha - (Coh-SAY-cha)
Spanish for "vintage."
Crianza - (Cree-AHN-zah)
Spanish term for "aged in oak."
Cru Classé - (Croo Clah-say)
Literally "classed growth," French legalese for a vineyard historically identified as being of exceptional quality.
Cuvée - (Coo-vay)
Literally "vat," typically means the blend of different grapes that make up a specific wine.
Denominación de Origen - (Day-nom-ee-nah-SYON day Oh-ree-HEN)
"Denomination of origin," the Spanish equivalent of the French "Appellation Controlée," a legally designated description of a wine based on its origin and content.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata - (Day-nom-ee-nah-tzee-OH-nay dee Oh-ree-GEE-nay Con-)
Usually abbreviated DOC, the Italian equivalent of "Appellation Controlée." Certain wines, including Chianti, add "Garantita" (Gah-rahn-TEE-tah) to the phrase as an additional assurance of quality.
Domaine - (Doh-mayn)
"Estate" in French; in Burgundy, a domaine may incorporate numerous separate vineyards.
Edelfäule - (Ay-del-foy-leh)
"Noble rot" in German; see "botrytis."
Einzellage - (EYE'N-tzel-lah-geh)
Single vineyard, in German.
Erzeugerabfüllung - (AIR-tsoy-gur-AHB-few-loong)
"Estate bottled" under German wine law.
Frizzante - (Free-DZAHN-tay)
Slightly sparkling, in Italian wine. Similar to the French "Pétillant."
Grand Cru, Grand Cru Classé - (GrahN Crew Clah-say)
"Great growth" or "great classed growth." In France, legal terms for specific vineyards identified as historically producers of exceptional wine.
Grosslage - (GROSS-lah-geh)
Literally "large vineyard," a German wine-law designation for a group of individual vineyards whose fruit may be assembled into a wine sold under the Grosslage name.
Halbtrocken - (HALP-trock-en)
"Half-dry" in German; wines intentionally made with less than the typical amount of residual sugar. See also "Trocken."
Kabinett - (Kah-bee-NET)
Lightest and least sweet quality level for German wines.
Mise en bouteille - (Meez ahn Boo-tay)
Literally, "put in bottle" in French. "Mise en bouteille au Château" has legal significance, meaning
Nouveau - (Noo-voe)
Literally "new" in French, most often seen in "Nouveau Beaujolais," the first wine of the new Beaujolais vintage, first sold by tradition on the third Thursday of November and best consumed before the end of that year.
Passito - (Pah-SEE-toe)
Italian wine-making process in which harvested grapes are placed in a dry room (traditionally on straw mats) to dry into raisins before being pressed. The procedure concentrates the sugars in the grape juice, and is usually used to make sweet wines, although one of the finest -- Amarone (which see) -- is usually dry.
Pétillant - (Peh-tee-yahN)
Like the Italian "frizzante," slightly sparkling, perhaps sensed merely as a prickling on the tongue without actual bubbles being visible.
Phylloxera - (fil-LOX-er-rah)
Plant louse that can devastate vineyards; virtually wiped out the French wine industry during the 1860s and 1870s (after being accidentally exported on vines from the U.S.), and remains a problem today in Northern California, where many vineyards are now being replanted on louse-resistant roots.
Qualitätswein mit Prädikat - (Kval-ee-TEHTS-vine mit PREH-dee-kaht)
Often abbreviated "QmP" for obvious reasons, this is the highest quality rating for German wines.
Reserva - (Ray-zair-vah)
Spanish legal term for wines aged before sale; for reds, at least three years, including at least one year in wooden barrels. The Italian "Riserva" is similar, but note that the English "Reserve" has no legal significance and may mean anything the winery (or its advertising agency) wishes.
Ripasso - (Ree-PAH-soe)
Unusual wine-making practice of Valpolicella, in which wine made during the recent vintage is reserved, then placed atop the pressed grapeskins and lees in the vats just used for Amarone and allowed to ferment further in contact with those skins, thus acquiring additional body, extract and flavor.
Riserva - (Ree-SEHR-vah)
Under Italian wine law, a wine aged for a designated period before bottling; regulations vary from one region to another in terms of the exact period and whether wood aging is required, but are always specific. (See also "Reserva," above.)
Sommelier - (Soh-mell-yay)
The wine waiter in a restaurant.
Spumante - (Spoo-MAHN-tay)
Literally "foaming," Italian for sparkling wine, usually seen in combination with its source, as in "Asti Spumante."
Spätlese - (SHPAYT-lay-zuh)
Literally "late-picked," the ripeness level of German QmP wines between Kabinett and Auslese (which see).
Terroir - (Tehr-wahr)
Literally "soil" in French, a term widely used by wine hobbyists (sometimes as gout de terroir) in reference to the flavors and aromas that soil and geography impart to a wine.
Tinto - (TEEN-toe)
Spanish term for red wine.
Trocken - (TROCK-en)
German for "dry." Usually seen on the label of modern efforts to produce traditional German quality wines in a new style without residual sugar, more closely approximating the French and Italian style of dry table wines. In my opinion, few have been particularly successful. See also "Halbtrocken," above.
Trockenbeerenauslese - (TROCK-en-BEHR-en-OWS-lay-zeh)
Tongue-twisting name for the sweetest and most expensive quality level of German wine, literally "dried individual grapes picked out," hand-selected and botrytis-affected.
Ullage - (Ull-idge)
The air space in the neck of an unopened bottle of wine. This air bubble will be entirely within the neck of a normal bottle, but older bottles that have lost some of their contents may be described as having a "mid-shoulder fill" or even "low shoulder fill"
Varietal - (Vah-RYE-uh-tal)
Wine named for the specific grape from which it is made, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir or Chardonnay.
Vendange - (VawN-dawN)
French for "vintage." (Vendange Tardive ["Tahr-Deev"] is "late harvest" or "delayed harvest".)
Vendimia - (Vehn-DEE-mee-ah)
Spanish for "vintage."
Vin de Pays - (VaN deh Pie-ee)
Literally, "wine of the country," a category of French wines considered lower in status than Appellation Controllée, but because it's considered less "desirable," may offer particularly good value if well-chosen.
Vintage - (VIN-tij)
For wines so designated, the year in which the grapes were grown.
Vitis Vinifera - (Vee-tis Vi-NIFF-eh-ra)
Grape species including virtually all of the most desirable wine grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, etc.
Wein - (Vine)
German for "wine."