ALSATIAN-STYLE: The terroirs of Alsace are located in the easternmost region of France (east of the Vosges Mountains) on slopes overlooking the Rhine River that face east to south-east. With low rainfall and westerly winds, the sunny, warm and dry vineyards favor the growing of white wine grapes which create the renowned region’s characteristic weighty, fruity, and often off-dry white wines.
The pigment that gives red wine its color, which is found in the skin of the grape. The thicker the grape’s skin, the more color and opacity it delivers to the wine.
The floral term for the scents you perceive in a wine.
Winemaker and grower’s term for an individual grape.
A fungus that affects fruits, including grapes. Often referred to as “noble rot” when particularly wet conditions are followed by dry. Botrytis cinerea doesn’t destroy the grapes but rather produces higher sugar content that can lend a honey flavor to wines. In solely wet conditions, it can destroy the bunches.
: process used by vintners whereby they blend wines with different characteristics to produce a single, balanced wine with a strong beginning, middle and end on the palette.
A format for wine tasting where the tasters have no information about the wines other than what they can determine with their senses.
: The unit of measure for the amount of sugar within a grape. It is measured with a refractometer and used to determine ripeness and harvest date.
The point when new shoots emerge, or break out, from the buds on a grapevine. This takes place in early spring and begins the grapevines' growth cycle for the year.
CHRISTMAS CLUSTERS: Term used to refer to green, unripe clusters of grapes at harvest time. The phrase refers to the time the grapes would be ripe – Christmastime – were they left on the vine.
CLONE: Within a variety of a grape, such as Pinot Noir, there are different types which offer a grower distinct characteristics. Growers choose the clone of the grape based on the chosen wine style they are seeking such as a wine which will be either fruit-forward or tannic in flavor.
ESTATE WINES/ESTATE WINERY
: By U.S. government standards, for a wine to be labeled “estate”, 100 percent of it must be made from grapes grown on land owned by the winery (or controlled by the winery).
FOUDRE: a large capacity wooden vat.
Where the non-varietal rootstock was grafted to the varietal grapevine.
GREAT FRENCH WINE BLIGHT:
Occurring in the mid-19th century, this severe blight destroyed many of the vineyards in France – and the wine industry along with them – and severely damaged vineyards in other European countries. The blight was caused by an aphid commonly known as grape Phylloxera, to which American rootstock was found not to be susceptible. The aphid was brought over as an unintended guest when American grapevines were planted in England. It is because of Phylloxera that European vines are grafted to American rootstock, both in the U.S. and in most other countries.
KELLERMEISTER (CELLAR MASTER): the person who is responsible for all of the cellar (winery) technical operations – an operations manager. A U.S. winemaker could have the same responsibilities but usually not so broad and encompassing.
Referring to the Loire Valley wine region in France that stretches east from the Atlantic coast at Nantes to within 90 miles of Chinon, Bourgeuil and Samur-Champigny most especially. Like the Finger Lakes region, Cabernet Franc is grown in abundance here and is renowned and respected by wine aficionados.
(rhymes with “heritage”): Created by a group of vintners and registered with the U.S. Department of Trademarks and Patents, the term refers to a category of American blended wines made from Bordeaux grape varieties. Wines termed Meritage must meet a specific set of standards.
MOUTH FEEL: A term used in describing the texture of a food or drink as it is perceived in the mouth; the way to describe chemical and physical interactions of food and drink with the mouth.
Aromas perceived in a particular wine; also called bouquet.
OXIDATION: Chemical changes and deterioration in wine due to exposure to air. This will alter the flavor and smell of the wine.
SCOTT HENRY TRELLISING: Allows for more fruit per row,with a split canopy that allows more sun penetration. Shoots are grown along movable wires so half the canopy can be grown in a downwards position, thus relying on two
fruiting zones (upper and lower) creating essentially twice as much fruit per vine as Vertical Shoot Positioning. (see below) Scott Henry absorbs more of the energy inherent in sites such as Sheldrake Point, so the energy is usefully directed.
This allows growers to achieve balanced vines, necessary for the production of great wines.
SEDIMENT: The grainy residue sometimes found in wine bottles, most often with older wines and sometimes in unfined wines. Sediment is not an indication of poor quality but possibly more flavorful wine. It is recommended to remove the sediment by allowing it to settle completely in the bottle when you place the bottle upright. Then pour or decant it into another container so that no sediment transfers to the glass when serving.
Removing the diseased grapes from those of the quality you want to keep. At Sheldrake, sorting is done first in the vineyard when pickers are told to leave affected fruit on the vine. Then, grapes are moved slowly along a conveyor belt while we remove whatever grapes don't represent the quality we want to use.
Compounds that give wine its mouth feel and combine with anthocyanins to play a role in the color of red wine.
UNFINED: Some winemakers believe the common practice of fining (the removal of microscopic elements like protein particles which cloud wine, for example) takes too much flavor and body out of wines, so they use
other methods (such as cold stabilization, filtering, racking) to remove the particles. Wines bottled without fining are sometimes labeled “unfined” to point out that the wine should be more flavorful. Unfined wines may throw off a small amount of sediment in the bottle.
VIGNERON: usually a producer who works directly and/or has oversight of vineyard (grape growing) and winemaking.
Section of the vineyard designated to a specific varietal.
VINIFERA (Merriam Webster): A common European grape (Vitis Vinifera) that is the chief source of Old World wine and table grape varieties. Examples include Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Gamay and Cabernet Sauvignon. These are in contrast to non-vinifera varietals such as the native Concord or the many French-American hybrids –Vidal, Baco Noir and the like.
VSP TRELLISING: Stands for Vertical Shoot Positioning trellis. Vines run parallel in either direction and all are trained upwards with wire.