Champagne and Sparkling Wine
The evaluation of the interrelationship in a wine between the acidity, residual sugar, alcohol, fruitiness, tannin, etc. When a wine is said to be ‘in balance’ the elements exist in harmony.
Indicates fermentation in a wooden barrel. A few champagne producers perform the primary fermentation in oak barrels. The barrels are typically well used (neutral) and do not impart an oaky flavor (although there are some exceptions that ferment in new oak barrels).
Dry still wines that have gone through primary fermentation separately. Base wines are combined to form the blend for the final sparkling wine.
The category of champagne that is not a blanc de blancs, blanc de noirs or rose’. Basic champagne is white champagne that includes any combination of white and black grapes allowed for use in champagne.
Viticulture practices that go beyond the basic concepts of organic regimes (which reject the use of chemical or synthetic treatments). Biodynamics also incorporates practices that take into account lunar and cosmic cycles when performing specific vineyard and cellar tasks. Advocates believe that these practices aid in harmonizing the ecosystem.
Tasting sensation generally recognized on the flat part of the back of the tongue. Flavored vermouth is typically made to be bitter. Sometimes bitterness is categorized as unpleasant, but it can be found in some young wines and may mellow with more maturity.
Blanc de blancs
Champagne made exclusively from white grapes (Chardonnay). In different parts of the world it may denote a wine that includes different white grapes other than Chardonnay, or it may denote a wine that must incorporate a designated minimum percentage of white grapes. (French)
Blanc de noirs
Champagne made exclusively from black grapes (Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier). In different parts of the world it may denote a wine that includes different black grapes other than Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier or it may denote a wine that must incorporate a designated minimum percentage of black grapes. (French)
A tasting in which the identity of the wine is unknown. The taster evaluates the wine without prejudice or preconceived notions.
The perceived weight of a wine on the palate. Generally described as full, medium or light bodied depending on the viscosity. Alcoholic strength, phenolics, fruit extracts, etc. contribute to the body.
Sparkling wine that has undergone a second fermentation in a bottle. The term is generally used in labeling to denote sparkling wine produced by the Transfer Method (the secondary fermentation occurred in ‘a’ bottle, but not ‘the’ bottle that you purchase.
The mature, complex scents that evolve over time as a wine ages.
The literal translation is ‘raw’ or ‘crude’. It denotes champagne that is dry and has a residual sugar level of less than 12 grams per liter. (French)
Signifies a wine that is bone dry with a residual sugar of 0 – 2 grams per liter (also called brut zero, brut non-dosage, etc.) (French)
Typical palate descriptor experienced while tasting wine that has undergone malolactic fermentation, primarily in Chardonnay.