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22 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Abfüllung (Germany)
Means 'bottled by', and will be followed on the label by information regarding the bottler. Related terms include erzeugerabfüllung and gutsabfüllung.
Acetic acid
This volatile acid is one that contributes to the acidity of a wine. In small amounts it can also 'lift' the palate and accentuate aroma and flavour. In excess it produces a vinegary taste. It may also be the product of bacterial spoilage, which is how wine turns to vinegar if left unprotected from such bacteria.
A wine's acidity should be detectable as a sharpness in the mouth, particularly around the front sides of the tongue. It should be neither too obvious nor absent. It provides a refreshing sensation in white wines, and balance in reds. Its absence makes a wine dull and 'flabby' - a defect in any wine, but a disaster in sweet wines which to me become undrinkable without balancing acidity. Too much acidity can make a wine difficult to drink. There are many acids in a wine, but the principle ones are acetic, malic, tartaric, lactic, citric and carbonic acid.
The taste left on the palate after the wine has been swallowed. The persistence of the aftertaste - the length - may be used as an indicator of the quality of the wine.
There are many different compounds that may be described as 'alcohol'. Here we are referring to ethyl alcohol, the product of alcoholic fermentation of sugar by yeast. It's presence is measured in percent volume (or "proof").
Alcoholic fermentation
The action of yeast upon sugar results in its conversion to ethyl alcohol, with carbon dioxide as a by-product. Fermentation will often start naturally with yeasts on the grapes, but cultured yeasts may be added. The process generates much heat, and temperature control during alcoholic fermentation can have a significant effect on the style of wine produced. The process will cease either when all the sugar has been consumed, or more likely when the increasing alcohol content of the fermenting solution kills the yeast, or when the external temperature drops too low. It may also be arrested by adding sulphur or by fortification with spirit.
See Alsace wine guide.
Amaro (Italy)
Means 'bitter', hence the wine Amarone.
American Viticultural Area (USA)
Abbreviated to AVA, this term describes a geographically defined region for growing grapes.
Amontillado (Spain)
A true Amontillado Sherry is a matured Fino. When the flor dies and sinks to the bottom of the butt the wine loses its protection from oxidation conferred by the coating of yeast, and it begins to deepen and develop a rich, nutty flavour. Cheaper Amontillado is made by fortifying the wine, killing the yeast.
Amtliche Prüfnummer (Germany)
The Amtliche Prüfnummer (or AP number) is a unique code assigned to each individual bottling of quality wine produced by every winemaker in Germany. For more information see my German wine guide.
Anbaugebiet (Germany)
The thirteen German growing regions, namely Mosel-Saar-Ruwer, Rheingau, Rheinhessen, Nahe, Pfalz, Mittelrhein, Ahr, Baden, Franken, Hessische Bergstrasse, Württemberg, Saale-Unstrut and Sachsen.
AP number (Germany)
See Amtliche Prüfnummer.
Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (France)
Often abbreviated to AC or AOC, this is the highest legal classification for French wine, above Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure, Vin de Pays and Vin de Table. In order to qualify for the AC, wines must be produced from grapes grown within a geographically defined area, and conform to regulations concerning grape varieties, yields, alcohol content and so on. Although AC means these features are guaranteed, it is not unfortunately a guarantee of quality.
See South American wine guide.
Aszú (Hungary)
The aszú are the grapes collected in 25kg lots in baskets known as puttonyos in the Tokaj-Hegyalja region of Hungary. The grapes have undergone noble rot and are thus very sweet. Once crushed the pulp is added to a gönc of the normal wine - the more that are added, the sweeter the wine.
Aszú Essencia (Hungary)
This is a rare wine, made only from the free-run juice of the nobly rotten grapes in the puttonyos baskets.
Ausbruch (Austria)
A Prädikat category for sweet wines from Rust in Austria. The grapes have undergone noble rot and have a must weight of more than 27 KMW.
Auslese (Germany, Austria)
A Prädikat category for sweet wines. The Auslese designation is conferred if the must weight, measured prior to the wine being made and bottled, reaches a certain level. The legally required value differs from region to region and also between countries. For example, Mosel Auslese begins at 83 Oechsle whereas Austrian Auslese is over 21 KMW (about 105 Oechsle).
A term used to describe a wine that is unforthcoming - often they are young, tannic wines. They give little pleasure at the time, but it is likely that they will improve with age.
See my Australian wine guide.
Azienda Agricola (Italy)
An estate or farm where wine can be produced.