Tasting Terms 

How to talk about wine

Cold Maceration

Before fermentation grapes are cold soaked or steeped to extract color and flavor from the grape skins. Further extraction occurs during fermentation....


A piece of grape vine, usually 10 to 20 inches long, cut from a dormant vine in wintertime for use in propagating new vines in spring. Cuttings...


An “in word” among some academic viticulturists (but not commercial wine people or the wine drinking public). Cultivar originally was intended...


This is a special or deluxe lot of wine from a specific grape variety that is bottled separately from other wines of the same varietal.


A practice used when the necessary natural conditions for creating Ice Wine do not exist. A winery artificially replicates the natural conditions...


Harvest season when the grapes are picked and crushed.


The French word used for ranking a wine’s quality, i.e. cru bourgeois, cru classé, premier cru and grand cru.


The Spanish word for a red wine that has been aged in oak barrels for at least one year.


A category of Champagne or sparkling wine that contains less carbonation than standard Champagnes or sparkling wines. Cremant Champagnes are...

Cover Crop

A method often used in growing biodynamic and organic grape. Another crop is planted other than vines to help manage the soil and attract pests,...


The Spanish word for vintage, harvest or year of production. Also see, vendimia.


A corky (or “corked”) wine has a bad smell and tastes of musty or moldy cork. It smells like a mildewed cloth that has been allowed to sit without...

Cork Taint (Corked)

A corked wine has a bad smell like wet cardboard and tastes of musty or moldy cork. It smells like a mildewed cloth that has been allowed to...


A cylinder-shaped wine closure cut from the bark of a cork-oak tree. Cork is especially well suited for this purpose because of its waxy composition,...


A type of glass used for Sherry in Spain, but also used by wine tasters.


The work of a cooper. This is the person who makes containers used for aging and storing wine – including barrels and tanks of all sizes.

Cooking Wine

Describes an inferior wine that would not be drunk but used for cooking.

Compound Bud

The normal type of bud that appears at each node along a vine shoot or cane. It contains not one but three separate partially developed shoots...


A full-bodied wine rich in extracts with a pronounced finish.

Cold Stablization

A clarification technique in which a wine’s temperature is lowered to 32° F/ 0° C, causing the tartrates and other insoluble solids to precipitate....


Usually, refers to the texture of a wine. It is used to describe wines with excessive tannin or oak. It is also used to describe harsh bubbles...

Closed Top Tanks

Fermentation tanks with permanent tops. These always have doors or vents in the top to facilitate cleaning and for monitoring fermentations.


The term originated in France and refers to a walled or enclosed vineyard. Now, the word is used in other countries as well. It is often in the...

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