champagne bubbles

Champagne and Sparkling Wine
Glossary A

Tart, sour or crisp taste caused by natural acids such as tartaric acid. As an example, lemons are high in acid.

Lingering taste and aroma left in the mouth after the wine has been swallowed. See finish.

Appellation d’Origine Controlée. The highest level of quality in France. The system that is used to designate and control names associated with a geographical area. In addition to wine, it includes many foods such as cheese. (French)

A drink before a meal, generally considered to stimulate the appetite.

Denotes a geographically delimited area as a basis for wine designation and quality. Some appellations are controlled with rules regarding what can be planted, viticulture and vinification practices such as those in France, Italy, etc. Others, especially new world appellations, sometimes do not dictate specific rules for winemaking.

Term used for the smell of wine. Aroma refers to the youthful scents encountered in young wine, whereas bouquet refers to the scents that develop as a wine matures over time.

Blending of multiple base wines to create the final cuvée. (French)

The amount of pressure in a given environment. One atmosphere indicates 15 pounds per square inch (PSI) of pressure, which is the pressure experienced at sea level. Most champagne and other fully sparkling wines have 5 to 6 atmospheres of pressure, up to 90 PSI. That is about the equivalent of what you would find in the tire of an 18 wheeler.

the enzymatic breakdown of yeast cells. As champagne ages in the bottle after the secondary fermentation sur lie (on the dead yeast cells and sediment), flavors and aromas of biscuits, baked bread, acacia and/or nuttiness begin to develop. The transformation begins at about 18 months. The longer the aging, the greater the autolytic aromas will be.

American Viticulture Area. The term is the American equivalent of an Appellation d’Origine Controlée (AOC) and denotes a specific geographical area with certain attributes. Rules for AVAs are less stringent than those for AOCs in France.

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