Wine Classification Glossary

If you want to learn about wine, then you need to become familiar with wine classifications and the terms associated with the wine trade. As you learn more about wine terminology, you may find out that you knew more about wine than you had given yourself credit for and are now better at choosing what varieties to store in a wine bag at home. Understanding the lingo of the wine business can help you to order the wines you want at restaurants, and it can also help you to compare wines while experiencing new flavors. A good wine can enhance a meal or allow you to have an elegant evening out with friends or that special someone. When you know what you are talking about when it comes to wine, it makes enjoying all types of wines much easier.

Acidity: The process of making wine creates a certain acidity level in every type and brand. The key is to find an acidity rating that is low enough to prevent the wine from tasting sour but high enough to prevent the wine from tasting flat.

Aggressive: When the acid level of a wine is too high, it is considered to be aggressive. The determination as to when a wine is aggressive is usually made by the wine-maker.

Angular: When a wine is said to be angular, that means that the flavor is not as robust as that of other wines.

Assemblage: When you are talking to wine experts, you may hear one or two mention the impressive assemblage of a particular wine. An assemblage is a French term used to designate a group of grapes used to make a particular kind of wine.

Balance: In the wine world, balance is achieved when the acidity value and the taste combine to create the ideal wine.

Bereich: A classification given to wines that come from the Bereich region of Germany.

Chardonnay: A chardonnay is a wine made with white grapes, and it is the most popular white wine in the world.

Country Wine: A country wine is considered to be a mid-range-quality wine that is a step above the lowest level, known as a table wine, and just below a quality wine.

Dessert Wine: A dessert wine has a sweet taste to it and is very low in alcohol content.

Dry: A dry wine can be red or white, and it signifies a wine that has been fermented to the point where all of the sugar has been removed.

Entry-Level Wine: Every wine-maker has an entry-level wine that is made to the most basic standards and carries the lowest price tag.

Fine Wine: This term is associated with only the very best wines made in the entire world.

Fortified: When a wine has been fortified, it has had alcohol added to boost the alcohol content. These types of wines are best preserved in a wine bag while being stored in a proper wine cellar.

Green: This is a term used to describe wine made from unripened grapes harvested early.

Hard: Hard wines are highly acidic wines with a very sharp flavor.

Ice Wine: An ice wine is made from a very unique process that utilizes frozen grapes.

Jammy: Wines that are made from grapes that have ripened a little too long are called jammy wines.

Kosher: Wine that has been created with the help of a rabbi from the Jewish faith may be certified as kosher.

Late Harvest: Late-harvest wines are made from grapes that have been harvested very late in the season. The result is usually a very sweet wine.

Masculine: A strong wine with a concentrated flavor is said to be masculine.

Monocepage: A wine made from only one specific type of grape is a monocepage.

Mousseux: This is a classification given to wine from the Mousseux region of France.

New World: Any wine that has been produced outside of the areas of Europe that have been producing wine for centuries is referred to as a New World wine.

Non-Filtre: Wine that has not been filtered before or after being fermented.

Old World: A term applied to wines made in the traditional wine-manufacturing regions of Europe.

Petillant: Any wine that has a slight sparkle to it is referred to as being petillant.

Piquant: A white wine that has a good acid balance and a pleasant aftertaste.

Premier Cru: This is a highly regulated wine classification used to denote wines from the Burgundy and Champagne regions of France.

Quaffing: A classification used to identify a wine that can be drunk every day.

Qualitatswein: This a German term used to identify the higher-quality wines from the more popular growing regions of Germany.

Rich: The French use the classification of “rich” to describe a sweet wine.

Rosso: The Italian term used to designate a red wine.

Rouge: The French term used to designate a red wine.

Sack: Another term used by the British to designate the wine known as sherry.

Sherry: A wine that has been fortified during the fermenting process to produce a unique taste.

Sparkling: Sparkling wines contain an excessive amount of carbon dioxide, which creates bubbles and gives the wine a sparkling look.

Table: In the United States, a table wine is any wine that does not sparkle and contains between seven and 14 percent alcohol by volume. In other countries, a table wine is usually used to classify a medium-grade wine that can be drunk on a daily basis.

Tinto: The Spanish designation for red wine.

Trocken: The German classification for a dry wine.

Uvaggio: This is the Italian term used to classify wines made by several different kinds of grapes.

Varietal: When a wine is made with a single type of grape, it is said to be varietal.

Vermouth: A very aromatic wine that is fermented in wormwood and may have other ingredients, depending on the region where it is made.

Vin De Glace: The French classification for ice wines.

Vivace: The Italian term used to designate sparkling wines.

Webster: This a measurement used to indicate 1.5 liters of wine.

Yeast: A living organism essential to the fermentation process.

Zymology: The study of the process used to ferment wines.