Argentina Travel


Argentine Wine Terms and Concepts


While on your journey into the wine country, using the language will help you understand the varietals you are tasting. The following words are a basic vocabulary, complete with definitions.


Acidic:
Very stressed acid, sour, or tart taste. All wines contain some acids, predominantly tartaric. Raw, young wines are generally more acidic than older ones. Improperly balanced wines may taste sour because of an abnormally high acid content.
Aroma:
Pleasant smell. Its bouquet is the most refined expression of the wine. The portion of the smell of a wine derived specifically from the grape variety, such as Cabernet-Sauvignon or Chardonnay, as opposed to that portion of the smell derived from other sources
Astringent:
It "clutches" your gums. Loaded with tannin.
Balanced:
It refers to wine with a frank, net taste, which elements form a perfect combination. A balanced wine is one whose constituents--sugar, acids, tannins, alcohols, etc.--are evident but do not mask one another. A young red wine--tannic and acidic-- is not considered balanced because these two characteristics mask the other flavor elements of the wine, which, given time, may display themselves.
Body:
Another very much used word. It refers to a wine with strength, substance, the opposite of a light, weak wine. It is a quality for red wine, but not usually for white wine. English wine authority Michael Broadbent puts it well in his Wine Tasting: "the weight of the wine in the mouth due to its alcoholic content and to its other physical components. These in turn are due to the quality of the wine, to the vintage, its geographical origin, and general style."
Bouquet:
Maybe the most used word. It refers to wine smell and taste at the same time. The most coveted quality in fine wines. It is the odor which derives from the fermentation process, from the aging in wood and bottle process, and other changes independent of the grape variety used.
Breed:
Of good breed, it refers to wines with a certain denomination that are kept during long years, even generations. With excellent qualities.
Brick color:
Nice color for a rosé wine. For an old red wine, it means that it is losing its color and qualities.
Casse:
Wine disease that makes it turbid.
Cold:
Introverted wine. The meaning is quite literal. Too often, wines are served so cold that their odors and flavors are stunted, unable to show themseIves.
Complete:
Balanced. It presents a harmonic combination of qualities.
Common:
Without a defined character. Nowadays, the term "table wine" is used to refer to common wine.
Cru:
French word of international use. It refers to the soil where the vineyard grows, a sort of reduced space.
Cuvee:
Another French word used all round the world. In its strict sense, it is the content of a vat, but it may also refer to the content of several vats that contain wine from the same year. In general, it refers to the best wine of "special cuvée" cellar. Distinguished, elegant:
Delicate, tasty.
Dry:
A dry wine is one without noticeable sweetness. Technically, a dry wine retains little or no sugar after fermentation. Fine:
Wine originated from selected stock. It has delicacy, bouquet, taste and "grain" that clearly distinguish it from common wines.
Firm:
It has body, nerve. It refers to a wine that has reached its perfect maturity. Quality for wine.
Fleshy:
A wine with a certain consistency.
Fruity:
The flavor of the grape, the bunch. Very much appreciated quality in white, rosé and new wines. A pleasant fragrance from ripe grapes made into wine; a berry-like quality akin to fruits in general.
Generous:
It qualifies certain aromatic wines. Apart from this specific meaning, it is used for those wines that cause a welfare sensation in the stomach.
Gouleyant:
French word, very difficult to translate. It refers to wine that easily slides through the throat.
Grand:
A grand wine, which possesses an irrefutable superiority over the rest of wines.
Grain:
Particular sensation produced by certain wines. A wine can be distinguished as fine by the grain. It seems as if the liquid contained something else than the liquid.
Green:
Defect of wines that are too astringent, because they are made from underripe grapes. It means quality when applied to a new white wine containing a balanced proportion of acidity. Usually said of younger, raw, acidic white or red wine; a rough aspect that usually softens with age; also the appearance of a more acidic than average wine will be green-tinged.
Hard:
Unpleasant when it makes contact with the palate. It is not velvety at all. Indicative of a more tannin level
Heavy:
Thick, very dark.
Hot wine:
Rich in alcohol. It causes dizziness. A wine that reminds you more of alcohol than anything else.
Light:
Little body, little color, good taste, a quality for white wines.
Limpid:
Wine without particles that may make it turbid. A wine is limpid thanks to a long aging period.
Lively:
Intensely impressing the pupils, having nerve.
Love:
Not used in Argentina. Wine with a delicious bouquet.
Plush, velvety:
Wine containing much glycerine and gummy matter. Causing pleasure as is passes by mucous membranes. It should not be mistaken for abboccato wines, which are artificially sugared.
Powerful:
Much body and high alcohol.
Round:
Full, fleshy, pleasant and soft.
Soft:
It produces an impression of softness and harmony. A soft, smooth, often sweet-edged wine.
Sour:
No comment required. Sour tasting wines resulting from grapes grown in soils saturated with salts, sodium chloride or magnesium chloride.
Strong:
With high level of alcohol. It makes your throat and stomach hot.
Tannin:
A natural constituent of wines, especially reds. It is a bitter-tasting material which is partially responsible for preserving wines during their sometimes long aging periods. Bite a grape seed to experience the flavor of tannin or have a cup of tea, neat.
Tartaric:
Astringent, rough, hard to swallow.
Tasty:
Pleasantly fruity.
Tender:
Easy to drink, "gouleyant". The opposite of hard.
Thin:
Without body, or strength. It sometimes maintains some bouquet. Lacking in body or alcohol; a watery wine.
Varietal:
term used to describe wines made totally or predominantly from a single variety of grape.
Vinous, vinosity:
Having strength, high level of alcohol, sometimes at the expense of refinement. In general, quality of good wine.
Wood:
Many wines are aged or treated in wood containers, ranging in size from fifty to one million gallons. In well-made, well-aged wines this wood lends a characteristic smell and taste--depending upon the type of wood used and the size of the barrel--which is just another facet of the wine. Old wood, contaminated wood, or excessive wood aging will result in an overly woody, sometimes astringent smell and taste.

References for list (some of the definitions are from the below links and other sources).
Dumay, R. (1997) Guide du Vin as it appears on
www.welcomeargentina.com/vino/vocabulario_i.html
and
www.wineschool.com/vocabulary.html




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