Spanish term used to describe a wine which cannot quite be classified as Sweet but which has certain sweetish flavour. Also Embocado



Wine that is sharp and acidic. Very harsh on the palate.


Substance produced from the oxidation of ethyl alcohol that gives wine a very unpleasant smell.

Acidity :

Combination of the different organic acids that exist in must or wine. It may be fixed or volatile. Fixed acidity refers to the combination of natural acids found in grapes (tartaric, malic and citric) or formed during malolactic fermentation (lactic). Volatile acidity refers to the combination of volatile acids created during fermentation alterations. Its strength is an indication of the degeneration of the wine. The most important volatile acid is acetic acid, the existence of which indicates the transformation of wine into vinegar. Total acidity is the combination of all the acids contained in a wine or must. This concept is usually measured in grams of tartaric acid per liter of liquid.


Aerated :


Aromatic characteristics of a wine, which have degenerated and diminished due to its exposure to air without the liquid actually becoming denaturalised.




Aftertaste :

The impression left by a wine in the mouth and in the nose after it is swallowed. Synonym: retrogusto

Ageing :


Spanish word describing the controlled process of ageing and maturing a wine during which it develops special characteristics. The term is used generically to describe any wine that has been aged. Vino de crianza is the term for a quality wine that has been aged in wood and bottle for a least two years.


Aggressive :


Wine with an unpleasant, sharp aroma and taste which assaults the taste buds. Highly acidic wine.


Alcohol :


Generic chemical substance. Properly, ethyl alcohol or ethanol. After water, it is the most abundant substance in wine and the one that strength sizes it. It is produced through the transformation of the sugars found in the must during fermentation (alcoholic fermentation). The alcoholic content of wine is measured in percentage of alcohol by volume or degrees, and is indicated on the label by a figure for the alcohol strength of the wine followed by the symbol % vol


Aldehydes :


A class of organic chemical substances produced by the oxidation of alcohols, which plays a part in the creation of the aroma of wines aged through the oxidation ageing method. See acetaldehyde.

Alkaline :


Wine with low acidity and consequently not very lively in appearance. Bland.


Almondy :


Aromas and flavours reminiscent of bitter almonds. A characteristic of some fortified generoso wines in table wines, it could indicate poor production or inadequate handling


Amber :

The colour of some white wines caused by the oxidation of polyphenols.


Amontillado :


Fortified wine with an alcohol strength of between 16º and 22º. Golden or amber in colour with a pungent aroma, and a smooth nutty taste. It is dry and not very acidic. Amontillados are produced in jerez, Montilla-Moriles and Condado de Huelva.


Amoscatelado :

Wine with the aroma of Moscatel.


Andana :

Spanish word meaning a group of wine casks stacked on top of each other, usually to a maximum height of five tiers.


Animal :

A frequent smell in old red wines. A generic term describing the smell of animal meat or skins.


Anthocyans :


Pigmentation substances that are found in the skins of black grapes, responsible for the colour of red wines.


Aperitivo :


Spanish term used for an appetizer or aperitif wine. Wine to which aroma has been added with plant extracts or through maceration of herbs and spices. It is bitter tasting and used to stimulate the appetite. For example, vermouth.


Aroma :


Combination of positive natural sensations produced by a wine. They may come from the grapes themselves (primary aromas), be produced during fermentation (secondary aromas), or develop during the ageing of a wine (tertiary aromas).


Aromatised :

Wine prepared with the addition of aromatic essences.


Assault :

Initial sensations perceived in the mouth when tasting a wine.


Astringency :


When drinking certain wines, mouth puckering sensation produced in the mouth by the presence of tannins in the wine.


Backbone :


Underlying structure or combination of components that from the basis of a wine.


Baking :

Heating process in which classic Madeira wines are kept at a constant temperature of 45-50 C inside wineries for a period of 90 days.

Balsamic :


Sensation that forms part of the bouquet of fine, aged wines. A penetrating aroma suggesting freshness and menthol nuances.

Banana :

Secondary aroma of many recent, young wines.

Big :

A full-bodied, powerful wine with complex nuances and well-defined components.


Bite :

Used to define a sharp wine that is also lively and astringent.

Bitter :


One of the four flavours. It is detected by the back of the tongue and is reminiscent of quinine sulphate, not to be confused with tannic or metallic tastes.


Bitterish :


Slightly bitter but pleasant taste. Bitter is a descriptive term implying a defect but the term in some cases may be positive.


Black Pepper :

Aroma that appears in some aged wines

Bland :

Wine lacking in freshness due to lack of acidity. Synonym: plano.

Body :


Feeling of consistency of the wine in the mouth. Dry extract of wine. It is a quality that is highly rated in fine wines.


Botrytis :

A microscopic fungus (its full scientific name is botrytis cinerea), responsible for the grey mould affecting grapes, whose action is very complex and damaging in the majority of cases in which it occurs. In certain Central European varieties it causes the noble rot that leads to highly valued special wines. It produces a very vigorous oxidising agent enzyme called laccase.


Bouquet :


The combination of primary aromas discemed during tasting, pertaining to an aged wine in ideal conditions.


Brut :


Natural sparkling wine containing less than 15 grams of sugar per liter. When the sugar content does not exceed 6 grams per liter, the term extra brut may appear on the label. Brut natural or brut nature sparkling wines are wines sold without the addition of shipping wine.


Capsule :


The classic covering -also known as crown cap or crown seal-for the stopper on wine bottles. In quality wines, the capsule used is usually made of pure tin. Also common are capsules made from tin and lead (although these are tending to disappear) or aluminium foil plastic retractable capsules, and others known as complex capsules which are made up of layers of aluminium foil or tin and plastic.


Caramelised :


Aromas and flavours usually associated with sugars that have been altered through being subjected to heat. It is a common characteristic of wines that have had to withstand high temperatures during any of the earlier production phases. This incorrectly applied thermal procedures (thermo-vinification, pasteurization).



Carbonated :

Wine with high levels of carbon dioxide that has not been produced naturally during fermentation, but has been added artificially.

Carbonic Maceration :

A technique used for producing red wines, in which the whole grape undergoes enzymatic fermentation inside the cells. It is used to obtain young, soft, aromatic wines. It is the classic formula used in the production of the typical Rioja Alavesa consechero (young vintage) wines.

Cask :


Oak barrel used to age wine. The adjective casky refers to a specific smell passed on to the wine from the wooden container in which it has been aged.


Caustic :

Intense, volatile aroma typical of wines aged with flor, Synonym: con punta. The absence of this sensation is a major defect.

Cava :


Natural sparkling wine produced in Spain through a second fermentation that takes place in the bottle. It is made in the specific regions of Catalonia, Aragon, Navarre, La Rioja, Alava and Valencia.



The addition of sugar to the must in order to enrich it. This practice was developed by the Frenchman Chaptal, and is banned in Spain.


Character :


A wine personality or uniqueness. A wine is said to have character when it makes a favourable, lively impression on the taster. Can also be interpreted as the style or characteristic defining a wine or group of wines.


Chateau :


French word used to refer to a winery in which the vineyards and the processing and ageing facilities are all on the same estate.


Chato :


A small, rather odd-shaped glass used for wine in Spain, which is disproportionately wider than it is tall, and which has a limited volume.


Clean :

Wine that is transparent in appearance has no solid matter in suspension and is well presented. When applied to aroma and taste, it defines a wine with clear, positive sensations and without defects, although it is often used to describe wines without unidentifiable odours.

Clearing :


Elimination by decanting of sediments present in the suspension of the must.

Climate :


The combination of meteorological phenomena characterizing the average state of the atmosphere in a given point on earth over along period of time. The climate conditions in more limited areas are known as a microclimate referring to the lower atmospheric layers practically at plant height.


Clos :


French word that refers to a wine-producing estate enclosed by a wall. Usually of monastic origin.


Closed :


Used to refer to a wine undergoing a long ageing process that is going through a stage in which it is slightly aromatic.


Cloudy :

Wine which is not transparent as result of colloidal matter in suspension.

Cloying :

Wine with a slightly sugary taste. The term is applied to wines in which the sugar content is not very high but stands out unpleasantly.

Coarse :

Refers to the texture- generally with too much tannin or oak. Sparkling wines with too much bubble are also considered coarse.Decanting Process of separating wine sediment before pouring to drink. Keeping the bottle vertically for a day or so and then slowly and continuously pouring out wine from the bottle held horizontally into a decanter till sediments appear at the bottom does it.


Cold Maceration :

Technique used to enrich white wines with primary aromas. It consists of maintaining the must in contact with the grape skins and avoiding the start of fermentation by applying low temperatures.

Colour :


Visual attribute of a wine corresponding to that of its radiated light reflected in the spectrum.


Colouring Matter:




Natural organic substances which occur in the skin of grapes and which give colour to wine.


Complex :


Wine which offers a variety of sensations in its taste and bouquet as well as retro nasally.


Corrupt :


Wine with a nauseating odour, which as been contaminated by having been placed in poorly washed containers.




Wine sometimes develops a musty and moldy newspaper flavour due to the chemical composition of some corks which become tainted with no explicable reasons. 3-8 % of bottles are usually 'corked'.


Cru :


French term that defines superior quality wines made from the grapes of specific vineyards. Known in Spanish as Pago.


Crude :

Ordinary wine without any attributes and with defects.

Dairy :

Tertiary aromas found in aged, quality wines reminiscent of the delicate aromas of dairy products.

Decomposed :

Poorly preserved wine. Cloudy with loss of colouring matter and bad taste. Degraded.

Degraded :

Wine that is totally unbalanced due to excess age.

Delicate :


A term describing a wine whose aromas and flavours are of high quality but not very intense.

Delicate :

n wine tasting, describes wine that is soft, delicate and tasty to the palate.

Density :


Physical magnitude which relates the mass of a body to the volume it occupies.

Destemming :


Elimination of the grape stalks or stems before crushing the grapes. This process is essential to obtain quality red wine.

Dirty :

Wine with aromas that are alien to those of the grape, fermentation or ageing.

Disgorging :

Process applied to natural sparkling wines created using the traditional system or champagne method (second fermentation in the bottle), whereby the less produced by the second fermentation, which accumulate near the cork, are eliminated.

Disk :

Name given to the surface of the wine in the wineglass.

Doble Pasta :


Technical term used in Spanish for wine made with twice as many black grape skins as must. Wine made in this way is characteristically full of colour and body.

Dry Extract :


Combination of wine's non-volatile substances. In wine-tasting evaluation it is synonymous with body.


Wine with only a smell proportion of sugars (less than 5 grams per litre).

Earthy :

Reminiscent of earth. It is due to the use of lime carbonate or the use of unpurified filtering material. A high sulphur content may also produce this earthy sensation, as can as the addition of gypsum or plaster to some wines.

Edge :


Unharmonious aroma or taste which is of low intensity but sufficient to disturb the balance of a wine.


Elegant :


Well-balanced wine leaving light, subtle sensations in the bouquet and on the palate.

Empty :

Wine that does not produce any sensations. Poor in body aroma and flavours. The term applies to all these characteristics but also to any one of its phases individually (empty) in bouquet, empty in the mouth.


Also spelled as oenology it is the science and study of wine making. Estate-bottled: When the winery makes wine from its own grapes or has taken the vineyard on a long-term lease.

End :

After-taste of wine left in the throat after swallowing it or spitting out for tasting. Better wines have a longer End going beyond a minute at times.

Esencial Oils:


Oils found in the pips of grapes, if they are transferred into the wine, usually as a result of excessive pressing of the grapes, they tend to make it smell and taste stale or rancid.


Ethyl Acetate:

Ester of acetic acid and ethyl alcohol, which is a natural component of aged wines. It is responsible for the characteristic smell of wines with high levels of volatile acidity. See ester.


Evolved :

Wine that has undergone positive or negative changes over time.


Wine starts fading when it starts losing its colour, fruit and aroma due to aging. Most ordinary and young wines start to fade soon if not drunk soon.

Fdruity :

Delicate wine whose aroma is reminiscent of plants or of the variety of grape from which it was made. Wine with predominant primary aromas.


Biological process whereby a substance is transformed into one or more other different substances as a consequence of the activity of certain microorganisms.

Fiery :


Wine which produces a pseudo thermal sensation in the mouth caused by the dehydrating effect of its excessive alcohol content.


Fine Wine :

Wine produced from quality grape varieties and aged with great care. Quality wine aged for at least two years.

Fining :


Wine-making practice designed to eliminate certain solid substances found actually dissolved in the wine or, more frequently, in colloidal suspension. These substances affect, or can affect, the clarity and transparency of a wine.


Finish :

The final flavours perceived just before the aftertaste when tasting a wine.

Fino :


A type of aged, fortified wine produced through biological ageing in the Denominations of Origin of Jerez, Montilla-Moriles and Condado de Huelva. (FINE). In wine-tasting, this term is usually applied to well-made wines with aromatic qualities although they may not have great intensity.

Flat :

Wine which, due to its lack of acidity appears unbalanced and without contrast on the palate.

Flavour :

Each one of the four sensations identified by the sense of taste. Sweet: identifiable on the tip of the tongue. Sour: identifiable on either side of the tongue. Salty: identifiable on the front part of the tongue. Bitter: identifiable at the very back of the tongue.

Flavoursome :

Wine with a wide variety of taste sensations.

Floral :


Term used to describe the primary aromas of some wines, which are reminiscent of floral perfume (rose, violet, etc.).



Wines whose alcohol level has been increased by adding brandy or neutral alcohol.

Fragrance :

Very intense and persistent aroma

Frasca :

Typical glass bottle used to serve small glasses (chatos) of wine in taverns in Spain.

Fresh :

Wine with the appropriate acidity for its type, which produces a sensation of freshness in the mouth. Characteristic of young, fine quality wines.

Full :

Wine with plenty of flavour and adequate body. Wine which satisfies the palate.

Gold :

Yellow hue of some white wines.

Gran Reserva :

Expression used for Spanish wines that defines certain minimum periods of wine ageing. In order to be classified as a grand Reserva, a red wine must be aged for at least 24 months in oak casks, and for at least another 36 months in bottle. For white and rose wines, the minimum period is 48 months in wooden casks and bottles, at least 6 of which must take place in casks made of oak.



Wines with simple aromas and flavour linked with table grapes.


Grape Syrup :


Product obtained by the partial dehydration of the must through the application of direct heat.


Grassy :

Unpleasant aroma or taste reminiscent of the green parts of the vine (stalk, leaves). It may be due to the lack of ripeness of the original grapes or to their being subject to overly vigorous processes during production, facilitating the extraction of desirable portions of the bunch of grapes. The terms also have a positive meaning in wine-tasting when it is applied to the primary nature of some young wines, reminiscent of hay or aromatic plants.

Greasy :


Synonym for the stringy or ropey nature of wine, a malady that is detected when the wine falls into the glass as if it were a string of oil.

Green :

Wine in which the taste of acid stands out too much.

Gutsy :

Well-constituted, but full-bodied.

Hard :

Wine with marked acidity and astringency.

Harmonious :


A wine in which the balance of components and characteristics is just right. It is the maximum expression of quality in a wine.




Wines which are high in alcohol or tannins.


Heavy :

Wine which does not have any significant defects but which is not pleasant to drink.

Hollow :

In wine-tasting this term is applied to wines which are disappointing in the mouth throughout (assault, middle and finish) because they are lacking in expression, volume, and flavour.

Hot :


Wine that produces a light, pseudothermal sensation in the mouth due to the dehydrating action of its alcohol content. Synonym: calido.


Hybrid :

Varieties of direct wine-producing wines banned in Spain. Unpleasant taste of wines made with directly producing varieties.

Hydrogen Sulphide :

Chemical with a very disagreeable odour, reminiscent of rotten eggs, caused by changes in the sulphur dioxide in the wine.

Inky :

Refers to the colour. Wine in which purple and bright violet hues predominate.



Week in any property.

Jug Wine:

Term used for cheap wines made in jug like serving containers, especially in California in the 60s. Made from a blending of various grapes. One can drink from the container directly.


Late Harvest:

Wine made from grapes picked later in the harvest season thus increasing the sugar content. Normally used for sweet wines.


Layer :

Intensity of wine's colour.


Legs :

Wine drops that stick to the side of the glass after swirling. Indicate viscosity and the alcohol content of the wine.

Leafy :

Unpleasant smell and taste reminiscent of the herbaceous parts of the vine (leaf, stalk, green stock etc.) characteristic of wines made from unripe grapes.

Lees :

Solid sediment (especially remains of yeast) that accumulates at the bottom of the tanks after fermentation of the wine. Ageing on lees is a special system in which the wine evolves in conjunction with its lees, giving it some peculiar characteristics. This is the normal ageing system for certain still wines. Smelling of less: The term is used to describe a wine that smells of less, i.e. the yeasty smells and tastes taken on by the wine as result of being in contact for a long time with its decanted sediments. If these sediments decompose in anaerobiosis, the wine can reach the most disagreeable level of smelling of less, and begin to stink.

Licor De Expedicion :

Wine added to sparkling wine just before it is put on sale. One of its purposes is to adjust the degree of sweetness of the drink.

Licoroso :

Spanish wine, usually sweet, produced from the appropriate grape varieties with the addition of alcohol. The only one authorised to have an alcohol content greater than 15% vol.

Light :

Weak wine which can be pleasant but which is low on alcohol and extract.

Limp :

Wine with serve re imbalances.

Limpid :

Superlative of clean, transparent.

Liquorice :

Spicy aroma which is usually associated with some aged red wines that tend to be complex.

Lively :

Wine which is brilliant in appearance, seemingly producing its own light Well-built wine with a youthful touch to the taste, even through it may be an aged wine likely to evolve well in the bottle.

Maceration :

Contact of the must or wine with its grape skins in order to extract colouring and components of the extract and aromas. It is generally used in the production of red wines.

Maderized :

Applies to wines that taste too strongly of oak. The term is derived from the typical aromas of wines from Madeira, which have a high degree of oxidation. Except in the case of some special wines, it is a serious defect. The term is also applied to highly oxidised wines, which smell of wood although they have never been in contact with it.

Magnum :

A wine bottle with a capacity of one and a half liters. It is more appropriate for lengthy wine preservation than the normal 3/4 litre bottle.

Malic Acid :

An organic acid with a harsh taste found in the must and sometimes in wine too, particularly it is made from unique grapes. The presence of malic acid is detected by a peculiar smell in the wine, which is reminiscent of the smell of green apples.

Malolactic Fermentation :


Transformation of malic acid into lactic acid through the action of certain bacteria. It is a practically indispensable process in quality red wines, since this is how they become smooth.

Mature :

Wine, which has reached its age where all its elements have peaked and is ready to drink. After maturing the wine will not get any better but may deteriorate in drinking quality.

Maturation :

When used to describe a wine, it defines an intermediate process between elaboration and ageing, although at times it is confused with the latter.

Meaty :




A full-bodied wine that is chewy on the palate.


Metallic :

In wine-tasting, used to define an unpleasant tactile sensation in the passage of some wines through the mouth.

Mistela :

A type of wine from a blend of grape must with wine alcohol. Some are considered to be liquor wines.

Mouldy :

Taste or aroma of wine arising from the use of mouldy bunches of grapes during production, or because it has been in dirty containers contaminated with mould. Sometimes, a cork that is in poor condition or is of poor quality causes the defect.

Must :

Grape juice, skins and seed mixture after pressing or crushing but before fermentation.

Narrow :

Opposite of amplio. Linear wine, without many sensations.

Neutral :

Wine with scarce acidity.

New :

Young wine less than one year old.

Nose :

Combination of a wine's olfactory qualities.


A blend of wines made in different years to produce a consistent quality. Used a lot in making champagnes.

Oaky :

Flavour imparted to the wine due to contact with oak when stored in an oak barrel.

Odd :

Negative characteristic of a wine that is difficult to identify.

Oily :

Wine with an oily (greasy) appearance due to a malady or because it contains essential oils resulting from the crushing of the grape pips during extraction of the must.


Oily :

Wine with viscous appearance similar to the texture of oil.

Opalescent :

Slightly cloudy wine.

Opaque :

Wine whose intense colour or cloudiness does not allow light to pass through it.



Term used to describe a wine lack of colour and also a wine that does not taste.


Ordinary :

A very average wine without any attributes. Coarse.

Organoleptic Analysis:


Wine –tasting. Analysis involving the senses.

Out Of Condition :

Wine which during its storage or ageing period has surpassed its ideal degree of preservation, and has now entered a phase in which it begins to lose its attributes and will end in a state of decrepitude.

Oxidation :

Chemical reaction between different components of a wine and oxygen in the air. Under controlled conditions, oxidation is an irreplaceable process in the ageing of wines, but when it occurs involuntarily it can seriously alter wines.

Oxidised :

Wine that has been seriously and irreversibly damaged by the action of oxygen. Such damage affects a wine's colour, aroma and behavior when tasted.

Pale :

English term used to describe the shade of Jerez wines. Pale dry is like a fino, and pale cream is sweet wine with the same colour as fino.

Perfume :

Combination of the aromas in a wine that are revealed during tasting.

Perfumed :

Wine with intense aromas.

Persistence :

Duration and quality of the sensations which linger on after the wine has been swallowed.


Combination of the distinct qualities of a wine.

Petillant :

Slightly effervescent wine in which a slight tingling is noted as a result of the presence of carbonated bubbles

Ph :

Measure of the acid strength of a wine. This value is extremely important in the fermentation, storage and final character of a wine. Wines usually have a pH of between 2.9 and 4.


Disease of grapevines where tiny lice attack and destroy the roots. Created havoc in the late 19th century in Europe and California when it practically destroyed all the grape crops. This disease also devastated India and most of the crops were destroyed.

Plain :

Wine with very little alcohol and body. Very thin wine

Plastering :


Ancient custom commonly used in southern wines, involving the addition of gypsum or plaster to the must.

Polyphenols :

Natural organic chemical substances which are very important in wine, since the colour, smoothness and other aspects of wines depend on them.

Press :

Place where the grapes are crushed and pressed.

Pricked :

Wine with evident signs of turning sour or vinegary in taste.

Primeur :

French term applied to the type of bottling and marketing process for young wine, often just two months after the grape harvest.

Profile :

Combination of elements arranged in layers (horizons), which make up the soil vertically.


Dry wines which are highly tannic in content compared to the fruit.

Racking :

Operation whereby the wine is separated from the solid matter which has settled at the bottom of the containers, both during fermentation and during the different phases of ageing.

Raisiny :

Aromas which are reminiscent of raisins and which develop in wines made with overly ripe grapes.

Range :

Combination of hues or degrees of a specific character of the wine. It can be applied to both colours and aromas.

Raw :

Young unfinished wine. Synonym : tierno.


Red Pepper :

Primary aromatic component of certain varieties of grape such as the red Cabernet Sauvignon.

Reduced :

Descriptive term which is applied to the aromas of a wine or to the wine itself which has spent along time isolated from contact with the air. Sometimes excessive reduction leads to unpleasant smells, which may or may not be eliminated by airing the wine.

Reduction :

Chemical reaction opposite to oxidation.

Refresh :

To blend some young wine with another, older wine.

Reserva :

Wine subject to a specific ageing period in wood or in bottle. In order to be classified as a reserva, a red wine must spend at least 36 months in wooden cask or bottle, of which at least 12 months should be in oak casks. For whites and roses, the ageing period is 24 months minimum, with at least 6 of them spent in oak casks.

Resin :

Negative taste or smell found in aged wines duet to the use of new or inadequate woods. Also used for wine produced in containers made of pinewood. These are typical in Greece, and there are examples in Spain, specifically in the northern part of the island of La Palma (Canary Isles)

Ripeness :

Optimum moment for the grape harvest. A distinction must be made between industrial ripeness or maturity, which is when the amount of sugar per unit of surface area is at its maximum, and aromatic ripeness, which refers to the greatest concentration of primary aromas, in the grape and occurs 5 to 7 days before industrial ripeness.

Rose :

Type of wine made from red grapes or a mixture of red and white, where fermentation takes place in the absence of the grape skins, allowing the wines to achieve only a certain degree of colouring.

Roses :

The smell of roses or rose petals is a primary aroma of some white or rose wines. The smell of withered roses is another aroma present in certain wines.

Rounded :

Wine whose components are in harmony and no specific element stands out. Synonyms: equilibrado, sin aristas.


Describes a texture that is smooth as compared to coarse.

Ruby :

Shade of red similar to the precious stone and characteristic of aged red wines.

Sangria :

Refreshing drink made with red wine, water, sugar and lemon. If white wine is used it is called zurracapote or zurra.

Satiny :


Wine with a smooth taste and texture owing to its adequate glycerine content.

Sediment :


Solid particles deposited on the bottom of the receptacle containing wine due to decantation or once fermentation is completed in wine tasting, advanced organic material that gives off very disagreeable, putrid odours.

Sec :


French word for dry wine.


German word for Sparkling wine.

Semi Sweet :

Wine with a residual sugar content of between 30 and 50 grams per litre.

Semidry :

Wine with a residual sugar content of between 15 and 30 grams per litre.

Short :


Wine with aromas or flavours that are fleeting or of low intensity.


Sharp :


When the wine exceeds in acidity but is still drinkable.


Silky :

Wine that is very smooth in its passage through the mouth.

Slight :

Term that refers to a wine that does not have any defects or serious imbalances but is not at all powerful as regards aromas and taste sensations.

Smooth :

Wine that is pleasant to drink because it does not taste aggressive in the mouth. Smoothness is related to the correct proportion of polyphenols, glycerine content, acidity and residual sugars.

Solera :


When ageing generoso wines, the last phase in the system or scale from which the wine is extracted for its sale. The name solera is derived from the fact that traditionally the casks used in this phase are those closest to the floor (suelo in Spainish).



French word for wine waiter or steward.

Solids :

Substances contained in suspension in must or wine.

Sound :

Wine that is not spoiled or defective in any way and does not have any inadequate smells or tastes. The term is usually applied to the olfactory phase.

Soundness :

State of a sound, honest wine.

Spicy :

Term used to describe the aroma of a wine (direct or retronasally) generally aged for a long period in wood and bottle-in which hints of spices (cloves, pepper, nutmeg, etc.) can be identified.

Spirit :


Wine with high alcohol content. Liqueur. The term is applied more to distilled priducts than to wines. Derived from distillation itself, in which the essence (spirit) of the distilled product is sought.

Spirited :

Term used to describe a wine that is rich in acidic components, mineral matter and tannins. Wine with character.

Spoiled :


Wine displaying an anomalous transformation, which has lost its original qualities.


Stainless Steel:

A Very sturdy material, highly resistant to the effects of must or wine. Commonly used nowadays as the construction material for tanks or vats in which to make or store quality wines.


Stalk :

The wood-like structure to which the bunch of grapes is attached.

Steely :


A tone in the colouring of young, pale white wines reminiscent of the lustre of steel.


Still :

Wine without apparent traces of carbonation content.

Strawberry :

Hue of some rose wines. Also refers to the aromas found in some very young wines.

Straw-Coloured :

Yellow tone of young white wines, less intense than straw.

Stripped :


Wine clarified naturally by the settling of any solid particles contained in suspension as sediment. In wine tasting it is sometimes used as a synonym of fatigado.

Strong :

Wine with marked characteristics of body and alcohol.

Structure :


The backbone of a wine. A well-structured wine is a wine with body, good acid content and full of flavour, as well as being powerful and balanced. Good flavour structure means that the flavours are at the same time powerful and balanced.

Subtle :

Provides a delicate sensation and one of quality, but not very pronounced.

Sugar :


Any natural substance characterised by its sweet taste. A basic component of must or grape juice. The most abundant sugars found in grapes are glucose and laevulose or fructose. During fermentation they are transformed through the action of yeasts into ethyl alcohol, carbon dioxide and many other substances characteristic of wines. When this transformation is almost complete, the wine is known as dry, but normally in all wines a small amount of unfermented sugars remain, which are called reducing sugars. In young wines, there is a relation between the presence of residual sugars and their aromatic intensity.


Sulphur :


A chemical element with vigorous fungicidal (fungus-destroying) action. Its combustion produces sulphur dioxide (SO2), which is very important in enology. See sulfuroso. Sharp, unpleasant smell which appears in wines with excessd sulphur dioxide content, or those to which sulphur dioxide has been recently added.


Sulphur Dioxide :


Chemical compound, a combination of sulphur and oxygen, which is extremely important in enology due to its complex and protective action: antiseptic disinfectant, antioxidant, polisher, and colour extractor. In wine its use it authorised in very small proportions (200 mg/litre in dry white wines, 160 mg/litre in dry rd wines, etc.). Sulphur is found in wine in two forms: inactive combined sulphur and free sulphur. The latter is the one that exerts the positive actions listed above. In wine-tasting it is the defect in aroma and taste which is hot and aggressive, sulphur-like found in a wine as a consequence of incorrect or too recent application of this substance.

Sweet :


Wine with a sugar content greater than 50 grams per liter. A basic taste which is detected on the front portion of the tongue.

Sweet :

English word used to define a type of sweet oloroso.

Syrupy :

Viscous wine which looks like syrup.

Table wine:

Wine containing a minimum of 7 -8.5% of alcohol. The minimum varies from country to country. Also tafelwein, Vin de table and vino da tavola.

Tannic :

Astringent wine due to excess tannins.

Tannin :

Natural chemical substance in wine with an astringent, sharp action that comes from the solid parts of the grape bunch. Its presence is common (even desirable) in red wine.

Tart :







Wine with substantial astringency caused by excess tannins or herbaceous components from the grape stalks, pips or grape skins.


Tasting :


The evaluation of wine technically, analytically and objectively using one's senses. It should not be confused with simple sampling of a wine (degustacion, in Spanish) which is much more subjective and does not involve a systematic analysis of each one of the wine's sensations.


Tears :

Drops that fall slowly down a glass that has been filled with wines rich in alcohol and glycerine, and then emptied.

Tender :

Wine that is not ready. In some Andalusian wine-making areas, the term is applied to wine obtained from extremely sweet musts which only undergo limited fermentation and which are then enriched with authorised wine alcohol.

Terpenic :

Used to describe certain dense, deep aromas derived from essential oils present in some types of wine.

Thick :

Robust wine, with a lot of body and density.

Thin :


Wine lacking in body poorly structured, it passes through the mouth offering scant stimulation the taste buds.

Tingle :

Sensation produced by the sparkle in a wine.

Tinto :


Spanish term for a basic type of wine derived from red or black grapes (sometimes mixed with white grapes) and fermented in the presence of the grape skins. The colour can range from cherry red to bluish-black.

Tired :

Used to describe a wine that has not had time to recover from the production process filtering racking etc.

Toasted :

Typical wine from some areas of Galicia, very sweet and soft, currently vanished. Defect in the aroma or taste that is reminiscent of burnt sugars (see caramelizado). This defect may also appear as a result of oxidation.

Tobacco :

Notable aroma identifiable in some quality aged wines.

Translucent :


Wine which, when held up to the light, is completely clear and transparent.


Truffle :

Typical aroma in the ageing of red wines, particularly in Bordeaux wines.

Typical :


Wine displaying the representative characteristics of its area of origin.

Unbalanced :


Wine whose components are out of harmony owing to an excess or lack of one of them.

Unctuous :

A type of wine which leaves a film on the wineglass and which is smooth on the palate. (CREAMY). The term is applied to wines which are both full and smooth.

Unpleasant :

Describes the taste and smell of defective wines.

Unripe :

Term used for un harvested grapes or second-flowering grapes that, due to the period in which they grow and develop, do not have sufficient time to ripen. They are sour tasting and by logical extension the same term can be used to refer to wines that taste or smell sour like unripe grapes.


Vailed :

Wine slightly altered in its purity.

Vanilla :

Aroma of some aged wines that are reminiscent of this spice.

Varieatal :

Wine produced from a single variety of grape. Aromatic character of a wine in which the aroma of a certain grape variety predominates.

Velvety :

Term used to describe a wine that is refined, smooth and delicate at the same time.


Veraison :

French term used for the time of year when the grapes take on their colour.

Vigorous :

Wine with powerful sensations in the mouth, full of flavour and with body, acidity tannins and alcohol, notable and well combined.

Vine Stock :

Base of the vine. Also, type of fermenting yeast.


Vinification :

Wine-making, all the operations aimed at obtaining wine from grape must.

Vinous :

Wine with a high alcohol content, with a heavy bouquet and dense on the palate. Olfactory characteristic of a wine in which coarse and vulgar secondary aromas predominate as result of poorly controlled fermentation.

Vintage :


Year in which the grape harvest took place from which a particular wine was produced.


Vintage :


Used to describe a wine of high quality made from the harvest of a single identified district in a good year. Vintage port refers to one of the most original wines from Oporto, which undergoes lengthy ageing in the bottle.

Viscous :

Wine with poor fluidity, generally due to its high sugar content, although it may also be the consequence of a bacterial malady.

Vivacious :

Wine with just the right level of acidity, which is cheerful in its passage through the mouth.

Volume :

Sensation felt in the mouth from flavoursome wines with body. A wine with volume is the opposite of a lightweight wine.

Vulgar :

Wine which displays minor defects not important enough to be rejected but enough to make it rather unattractive.

Warm :

Used to describe wines that is served at temperatures higher than appropriate (with a warm feeling) and also those containing outstanding alcohol, i.e., alcohol not entirely integrated in the flavours.


Washed-Out :


Wine that has been exposed to too much air and has lost its strength. This applies to the colour, the aroma and the flavour.

Weeping :

Fluid that has "wept" from the cuts made during pruning at the end of the winter season, before the new buds emerge.

Well-Balanced :

Wine with well combined and defect-free tastes and smells. It expresses a wine's quality.

Wine :

Alcoholic liquid produced by the fermentation of the juice of the fruit of the vitis vinifera, i.e. the grapes, freshly picked or slightly ripened in the sun, with an acquired natural alcohol content of not less than 9% vol.

Woody :

Alcoholic liquid produced by the fermentation of the juice of the fruit of the vitis vinifera, i.e. the grapes, freshly picked or slightly ripened in the sun, with an acquired natural alcohol content of not less than 9% vol.

Yeast :

Microscopic fungi responsible for alcoholic fermentation. Ferment.

Young :

New wine of the current year, which has not been aged.

Youthfulness :

Characteristics of a wine, which indicate its lack of age.

Zingy :


Light fresh, lively and drinkable wine with unmingled aromas.





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