Wine, like many interests and businesses, has a language of its own. The following glossary explains terms in common usage that you might encounter at tastings and winery visits.
If you have any requests for explanations to be added to the glossary, please ask.
Lees: The debris of dead yeast cells and grape skin particles that fall to the bottom of a tank or barrel during fermentation. Some wine is aged on their Lees to gain added complexity. If left in the finished wine it would be cloudy so first the wine is carefully pumped off leaving most lees behind. Any remaining lees are removed before bottling by either pumping the wine through a filter or by 'fining' which is a process where a substance is placed in the barrel which attracts lees to stick to it so they may be easily removed.
Killer Yeast: A commercial yeast that will overpower unwanted natural yeasts that would otherwise ferment the wine and possibley introduce off-tastes.
Malo: see Malolactic Fermentation.
Malolactic Fermentation: Not a real fermentation but a later bacterial action that can happen naturally or be induced which converts sharp malic acids in the new wine to softer lactic acids.
Meritage: A copyrighted name chosen from 6,000 entries in a competition to find a name to use instead of ‘Bordeaux’ to describe wines blended from the same grape varieties as used in Bordeaux, France. The name combines the words ‘merit’ and ‘heritage’ and is pronounced to rhyme with heritage. The Meritage Alliance was founded in California in 1988 and licenses the use of the name. See www.meritagealliance.com
Micro-oxygenation: A recent (1990s) winemaking technique where very small amounts of oxygen is bubbled through fermenting wine and in wine in tanks. A thin pipe with tiny holes is placed in at the bottom of tanks and oxygen forced through it. In fermenting wine Micro-oxygenation can aid yeast production and in wine in inert tanks it mimics the aging effects of oxygen ingress in wooden barrels.
MLF: see Malolactic Fermentation.
Natural Wine: A term newly fashionable in the 21st century for a wine claimed to be made with minimum intervention in the winery. There is no legal definition of what it means and different winemakers have different ideas. Such wines are said to be more flavoursome and healthy, but others say that they taste faulty, are cloudy and quickly go bad. Because Natural Wine means whatever the users wants it to mean it is usually best to taste before buying.
What Would Jesus Drink?
Joel McDurmon takes to task those who interpret the bible as forbidding alcohol. Using bible references he demolishes the arguments of the prohibitionists and shows God wants man to enjoy wine, beer and strong spirits in moderation. This is the hardback version.
What Would Jesus Drink?
Joel McDurmon takes to task those who interpret the bible as forbidding alcohol. Using bible references he demolishes the arguments of the prohibitionists and shows God wants man to enjoy wine, beer and strong spirits in moderation. This is the Kindle version.