Wine Glossary M

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007 at 12:00 am

Maceration: During the process of fermentation, this is the steeping of the grape skins as well as solids that are in the wine wherein the alcohol acts as a solvent to extract the tannin, aroma and the color from the skins.

Made And Bottled By: Signifies only that the winery crushed, fermented and bottled a minimum of 10 percent of the wine in the bottle. This is quite misleading.

Maderized: This is the brownish color and mildly sweet and slightly caramelized and frequently nutty character which is found in those dessert-style wines which have already matured.

Magnum: Simply an oversized bottle which has a maximum volume of 1.5 liters.

Malic: It is the green appl-like flavor that can be noticed in young grapes which diminish as they become more ripe and mature.

Malolactic Fermentation: This is a secondary type of fermentation that happens in most wines. It is a natural process which transforms malic acid into a softer type of lactic acid as well as carbon dioxide which essentially reduces the wine’s total acidity. This adds complexity to white wines such as Chardonnay and quite softens the reds such as Cabernet and Merlot.

Mature: This only means that the wine is ready to drink.

Meaty: The description for red wines which show a lot of concentration as well as a chewy quality. This may even have the aroma of cooked meat.

Mercaptans: Refers to the offensive and rubbery smell of old sulfur which is encountered chiefly in very old whites.

Meritage: This is a term that was invented by the California wineries of old. This is mainly  used in Bordeaux-style red and white blended wines. This word combines both "merit" and "heritage". This particular term was borne out of the need to be able to give names to wines which did not meet the minimal labeling requirements for the varietals which is about 75% of the named grape variety. For the reds, the grapes allowed are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot,Cabernet, Franc, Petite Verdot and Malbec. For whites, there is Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Flora Springs Trilogy and Joseph Phelps Insignia are examples of wines whose blends quite vary with each year while having one grape type dominating the taste.

Methode Champenoise: This is the labor-intensive as well as costly process wherein the wine goes through a secondary fermentation within the bottle itself, creating bubbles. All of the Champagne and most of the high-quality sparkling wine is made by this process.

Methuselah: This is a larger container of wine which holds around 6 liters or the equivalent of eight (8) standard wine bottles.

Murky: This means that the wine is more than deeply colored or a wine  which lacks brightness. It is often turbid or quite "swampy" in color. It is known to be a fault of red wines.

Must: This is the unfermented juice of grapes that is extracted by the crushing or pressing of the grapes. This is also what is referred to when talking about the juice within a cask or vat before being converted into wine.

Musty: This is the off-putting moldy or mildewy odor of wine. This comes from having the wine being made from grapes which are already moldy or because it was stored in tanks which have not been cleaned properly. It could also be due to a contaminated or poor cork.