Glossary of Terms

Indicates the degree of tartness in the wine due to natural acids in the grape itself.

Refers to the smell of the wine as it relates to its varietal fruit character.

The right proportion of fruit, acid, tannin and varietal character, i.e. harmonious.

Barrel Fermented:
Fermentation of the wine takes place in oak barrels instead of stainless steel tanks, adding richness, complexity, and more oak character.

The impression of fullness or roundness in the mouth.

The aromatic scent as expressed by the winemaking process; the combination of varietal fruit character with all the elements of aging wine.

Rich, oily texture. Usually used when describing Chardonnay.

Shows an integration of aroma and flavor, often with subtlety; one of the highest compliments to a wine.

The smell of the wine when it has been spoiled by a bad cork. Typically smells of musty or wet cardboard.

A second fermentation in which the malic (sour) acid is converted to lactic (softer) acid. It creates a softer, silkier, more approachable wine.


Exhibits the benefits of aging where all the elements have come together.

The combination of aroma and bouquet of the wine.

The smell and/or flavor associated with aging wine in small oak barrels. When properly integrated, it is a positive element.

Soft, balanced mouth feel.

A compound that forms naturally during fermentation. Winemakers traditionally supplement with minimal amounts to protect fruit quality and prevent oxidation.

Sur Lie:
Wine is aged on the spent yeast “lees” (cells) after fermentation, gaining added flavor and complexity.

The natural components from grape skins and oak contact that make young wines lightly astringent and sometimes bitter. Tannin subsides as part of the aging process and contributes to the wine’s complexity.

Website Links

Click on the links below to learn more about your favorite wines and wine territories. We also have links to help you learn more about sake and great craft beers.


In Boston, there are many ways to learn about wine, as well as restaurants that feature great wine tasting series:

Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center at Boston University –

Boston Center for Adult Education Wine Classes –

Boston Wine School –

Morton’s Uncorked Wine Series –

L’Espalier Wine Mondays –

Boston Harbor Hotel Wine Festival –

The Boston Wine Expo –


New York Times, The Pour Wine Blog, Eric Asimov -