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KWS Wine Glossary

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Acetic Acid
All wines contains this main component in vinegar. High levels of acetic acid will dominate the wine and will taste vinegary. The acetic acid develops when a wine is overexposed to oxygen123.
Acidity
All grapes naturally contain acids which are an essential component in wine. Acidity levels should have proper balance with fruit and other components. Sufficient acidity gives liveliness, structure, lingering aftertaste, crispness and is critical for wines to properly mature. High levels of acidity will make the wines taste sour, sharp or tart. Low level will make the wine dull, flat and lacking backbone.
Aeration
The process which allows the wine to absorb oxygen. Decanting the wine or swirling it in a glass will allow the wine to breathe, therefore helping it to open up and develop. The oxygen will allow the wine to release its aromas and give off scents developed in the bottle.
Aftertaste
The flavor sensation the wine provides after swallowing or spitting. Frequently referred to as the 'finish' of a wine. Good wines will have complex and deep aftertaste.
Age Worthy
Contrary to a widely spread belief, only a small number of top wines that have adequate flavor, acidity, alcohol and tannin will achieve additional complexity with time in the bottle. The vast majority of wines are meant to be enjoyed within several years of their release time.
Alcohol
Alcohol is produced during fermentation. Alcohol adds body and a perception of sweetness to wine.
American Oak
American oak has become increasingly popular due to its low cost and is primarily used for aging intensely flavored wines. Good examples would include Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Merlot.
Ampelography
The study and identification of grapevines and varieties.
Anthocyanins
The pigments found in red grape skins that give red wine its color.
Appearance
Refers to a wine's clarity and color. Common descriptors are (brilliant, clear, dull, cloudy, straw, ruby, amber and inky).
Appellation
Clearly defines an area or region where wine grapes were grown, such as Bordeaux, Alsace, Napa Valley or SonomaValley.
Appellation D'origine Controlee (AOC or AC)
The French system of appellations is considered in the wine world to be a prototype. In order to get a certification under an appellation in this system, a wine must follow strict rules regulating the region in which the grapes are grown, varieties used, ripeness at harvest, alcoholic strength, vineyard yields, irrigation and various techniques used in grape growing and winemaking.
Aroma
Aromas are smells, which originate with the grapes.
Astringent
Wines that leave a coarse, furry or drying sensation in the mouth. Astringency is regularly attributed to high levels of tannin or acid.
Austere
Tasting term for relatively hard, high-acid wines that lack depth, roundness, richness and body. Can also describe young wines that need time to soften.
Bacchus
Roman god of wine
Balance
Harmony among the wine's elements -- fruit, acidity, tannins, alcohol, a well-balanced wine is where no single component or element dominates.
Big
Powerful in aroma and flavor- full-bodied.
Bitter
One of the four basic tastes. Other tastes are sweet, salty and sour. Bitter tasting wines are usually the course of poor fruit and too much oak. Bitter wines are usually consider faulty, however bitterness is a trait of some Italian and other wines.
Blanc de Blancs
Translated from French literally means 'White of whites'. In wine making it means white wine made from white grapes.
Blanc de Noirs
Also translated from French, meaning 'White of black'. In wine making it means white wine made from red grapes.
Blush
Also commonly referred to as rose - this term describes a pinkish-colored wine made from red grapes.
Body
The weight and texture of a wine- it may be light-bodied or full-bodied. The relationship between alcohol and sugar content, and the presence of tannins contributes to the body of the wine.
Bouquet
The complexity of aromas that develops in the bottle with age in fine wines. These are smells such as earth, minerals and leather. To the contrary, aromas are associated with young wines and are developed in the grape itself.
Brix
Term used to measure the sugar content of grapes, grape juice or wine. Grapes are usually harvested at 21 to 25 degrees Brix, resulting in alcohol content of 11.5 to 14 percent.
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Wine 101