Glossary

Acid - key component of wine that can be natural (from the grape) or added (via winemaker). Press Wines only works with winemakers who produce wines with natural acid. An example of a high acid wine is a Riesling or a cool climate Cabernet or Pinot Noir. It is what keeps the wine lively and fresh, and also gives it ageability. 

Alcohol - plain and simple, the amount of alcohol in the drink. Almost every wine has a different amount of alcoholic content, though winemakers get a grace when labeling and can put to the nearest whole or half number. Alcohol is the result of fermented sugar from the grape, so some wine styles are naturally high alcohol (Grenache) and some are naturally low (Riesling). Winemakers can influence alcohol by harvesting early, at low sugar levels (ie. Champagne), though they may sacrifice fruit flavor and intensity.

Body - this refers to the volume and viscosity of the wine. On our scale, 5 points on body is a big, rich and dense wine while a 1 point represents wines that are light and delicate in the mouth. 

Cold Soak - this is where a winemaker lets the juice and skins of a wine rest for a period of time before allowing a ferment to start. The wine is kept cool during this time because heat, sugar and yeast is needed for a ferment to begin. 

Earth - we describe earth as flavours and sensations in a wine that are non-fruit or oak flavours. They may occur during the winemaking process or during time in bottle. Generally old world wines express more 'earth' flavours and new-world wines express more primary fruit flavours, though this is a generalisation. Wines that have 5 points on our earth scale would be wines driven by flavours concentrated on mushrooms, dry leaves, smoke, barnyard, iron and meat or sensations of slate and chalk. Wines that have 0 or 1 on the scale would display little to none of these types of flavours. 

Fruit - while all wine is made from fruit (vitis vinifera grapes to be exact), some wines display more fruitiness. A wine that has 5 points of the fruit scale is an exceptionally fruity wine. 

Fino - is a unique, dry white wine made from palomino grapes in Jerez in the south of Spain referred to as Sherry. It is aged under a layer of yeasts which make up the layer of flor, which looks like a white foam. This imparts a distinct salty, briny, nutty flavour which we refer to as 'fino-like' or oxidised. 

Foudre - a French wine reference for a large wooden vat, ranging between 1000 litres and 3000+ litres. The Italian's call these vats botti. 

Jerobaum - a 3 liter bottle of wine

Magnum - a 1.5 liter bottle of wine

Natural Ferment - natural ferment, also referred to as wild or indigenous ferment, is when the fermentation starts and finishes without the addition of cultured, packaged or pre-selected yeasts. The winemaker relies on the yeasts that exist on the grapes or within the winery to carry out the ferment. 

Post-ferment maceration - when red wine is left on its skins for a period of time following fermentation. This is to extract more tannin from the skins and achieve better tannin integration. 

Rosato - Italian for Rose

Tannin - one of the most important and misunderstood elements of wine. Tannins exist in the skins and seeds of grapes, and are extracted during the winemaking process by winemaking technique. They deliver structure to a wine, and are the reason for the drying sensation on the sides of your mouth in high-tannic wines. Some wine grapes have thicker skins so will deliver more tannins. Winemakers can also chose techniques such as 'cold soak' before the fermentation or a 'post ferment maceration' to extract more tannin in red wines. White wines are generally pressed off skins before fermentation, though interaction with skins to achieve 'white tannin' is becoming more common. 

White tannin - tannin that is evident in white wine. Most common in Chardonnay or white wines that are 'whole bunch' pressed. 

Whole bunch - a wine making technique used on some red wines (most common with Pinot Noir, Syrah and Grenache) that ferments the grapes with the stems included. This lends a spicey and smokey element to the wine, whilst giving more tannin strucure and often a lighter colour. Like grapes, stems must also be ripe if they are going to be used in the ferment, as an unripe stem will lend a green flavour. 

Wild ferment - see Natural Ferment

Vigneron - a French term for someone that is both a grape grower/ farmer and a winemaker, following the winemaking process from vineyard right through to bottling. 

Viticulture - the practice of farming grapevines. It is an intricate and delicate practice to nurture fruit that is capable of making outstanding wine. We are now enjoying a proliferation of boutique wineries that are committed to organic and biodynamic viticulture practices. 

 

 

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