grapes
grapes

Wisdom and Wine

Fine wines from France
Education, wine events, consultancy

Glossary

Aligote

A white grape that is grown in small proportions in Burgundy. Small amounts are grown in the Côte d'Or and it is also grown in the Côte Chalonnaise. Some winemakers will ship a Bourgogne Aligoté.

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Appellation Côntrolée

This is a system developed in France that controls the geographically based names of wines. It also specifies the production area, the vine varieties, the ripeness of the grapes and the yields. The alcoholic strength of the wine is also specified.

Auxerrois

This is a white grape variety planted extensively in the Alsace. It is often blended into wines labelled Pinot Blanc and is used to add substance to the wine.

Cépage

Grape variety eg chardonnay

Climat

A named vineyard in the Côte d'Or. Some vineyards with a village classification are named. All Premier Cru and Grand Cru vineyards are named.

Clos

In Burgundy, a "clos" is a climat that is surrounded by walls. A closmay be shared by a number of owners eg Clos Vougeot.

Condrieu

Condrieu is an appellation in the Northern Rhône with white wine made exclusively from Viognier. It is located just south of Côte Rôtie.

Côte d'Or

This is the term for the principal Burgundy vineyards and encompasses both Côte de Nuits and Côte de Beaune.

Côte de Nuits-Villages

This is a village appellation that has no climats classed as premier cru. The communes that make up this appellation are spread over a broad area including Fixin in the north and Comblanchien Brochon, Preeaux and Corgoloin.

Cru

This is a specialist term for a vineyard that is officially recognized of superior quality.

 

In Burgundy, the highest rated vineyards are designated "Grand Cru" and the next level as "Premier Cru".

 

In Bordeaux, the wines were classified in 1855 with 5 levels in the Grand Cru Classé and then Crus Bourgeois.

 

In the Rhône, there are 16 appellations designated as Crus, the highest level of quality. These include Cornas, Saint Joseph, Chateauneuf-du-Pap and Lirac.

EARL

This is a business structure in France that can be used by an agricultural company. It is often used by a single farmer (or winemaker) their business assets from their private assets. It also enables participation by other family members including a spouse and children.

Marl

A crumbly combination of limestone and clay.

Monopole

A vineyard in Burgundy that is in single ownership.

Muscadet

Muscadet is a dry French white wine made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape. Muscadet-Sèvre et Maine is the most important of the appellations in the Loire that produces this wine. Many of the wines are made "sur lie" which means they are kept on the yeast lees for a period of time to add flavour and complexity.

Passetoutgrain

This is an appelation that covers the entire Burgundy region. The wines are composed of at least one third Pinot Noir and up to two thirds Gamay. Most wine of this type comes from the Cote Chalonnaise.

Pouilly-Fumé

This is one of the most famous wines from the Loire Valley in France. It produces only white wine made from sauvignon blanc.

Pouilly-Fuissé

This is a highly regarded appellation in the Mâconnais. It has no climats classed as premier cru.It produces white wine only grown from Chardonnay.

Residual Sugar

Residual sugar in wine is measured in grams per litre (g/l). It typically refers to the sugar left after fermentation stops (or is stopped.) How sweet a wine tastes is determined by the levels of acidity, alcohol, tannin and sugar. High levels of acidity can balance residual sugar to make wine that tastes dry. Most people cannot detect residual sugar at levels below 7 g/l. Any wine with 45 g/l or more is classified as sweet.


The following table sohwo the European Union regulations for terms to indicate the sweetness of wines:

 

  Dry Medium dry Medium Sweet
Sweetness up to 4 g/l up to 12 g/l up to 45 g/l more than 45 g/l
If balanced with suitable acitidy up to 8 g/l up to 16 g/l    

 

Soave

This is a dry white wine from the from the Veneto region of North East Italy. The law allows it to be made from a minimum 70% gargenega and up to 30% trebianno, chardonnay or pinot bianco.

Sweetness of Sparkling Wine

According to European Union regulations, spaking wine can be classified as shown below:

Rating Sugar content (g/l)
Brut Nature 0-3
Extra Brut 0-6
Brut 0-12
Extra Dry 12-17
Dry 17-32
Demi-Sec 32-50
Doux 50+

 

The sugar level may not differ by more that 3 g/l from that which appears on the label.