Wine Glossary A

Friday, August 10th, 2007 at 12:00 am

Acetic Acid: Each and every wine contains acetic acid, or vinegar. However, the amount is considerably quite small-ranging from 0.03 percent to 0.06 percent–and it is usually imperceptible to smell or taste. Whenever your normal table wines reach to a level of 0.07 percent or above, there will be a sweet-sour vinegary smell and the taste of the wine becomes quite sour. At the low levels, acetic acid can augment the character of a wine, but at whenever it is observed at higher levels (over 0.1 percent), it may turn out to be the dominant flavor and if this happens, it is believed to be a major flaw. A related substance, which is ethyl acetate, adds a nail polish-like smell to the wine.

Acid: This is a compound found in all grapes and is a significant component of wine that enables to preserve it. Acid also stimulates and influences the wine’s flavors and helps extend its aftertaste. There are four main types of acids-citric, (which is found in wine), tartaric, malic and lactic. The presence of acid is identifiable by the brusque, sharp quality it imparts to a wine.

Acidic: a term that is utilized to describe wines whose total acid is so high that they taste a bit sharper on the palate and is noticeably sour.

Acidity: The acidity of a stable dry table wine can be found within the range of 0.6 percent to 0.75 percent of the wine’s total volume. It is allowed in some areas–such as California and Australia, Bordeaux and Burgundy –to adjust those deficiencies in acidity by actually adding more acid. When improperly done, it leads to unusually sharp and overly acidic wines. However, it is not allowed in Bordeaux and Burgundy to both chaptalize and acidify a wine. See also chaptalization.

Acrid: a term describing a pungent, bitter taste or smell that is because of excess sulfur.

Aeration: this is the procedure of making a wine "breathe" in the open air, or the act of swirling wine in a glass. It’s arguable whether aerating bottled wines (which are mostly red wines) improves their quality. Aeration can make young, tannic wines more moderate and it can also wear down the older ones.

Aftertaste: this is the taste and flavor that lingers in one’s mouth after the wine is tasted, swallowed or spit. The aftertaste, or what they call "finish", is the most valued factor in critiquing a wine’s nature and quality. The great wines have full, long, intricate aftertastes.

Aggressive: it is a horribly rough both in taste or texture, usually attributed to significantly high levels of acids or tannin.

Alcohol: Ethyl alcohol is a chemical compound that is obtained by the mixture as well as action of natural or added yeast on the content of sugar in the grapes during the process of fermentation.

Alcohol By Volume: As mandated by the law, all wineries must indicate the alcohol level of their wines on the label. This is most commonly stated as a numerical percentage of the volume. For table wines the law only allows a 1.5 percent disparity above or below the stated percentage as long as the alcohol level does not exceed 14 percent. Thus, there are different wineries which may legally avoid revealing the actual alcohol content of their wines by saying that those wines are "table wine."