AcidityEssential element of the wine. It contributes to a feeling of freshness in the mouth. It is indispensable to the longevity of the wine and to its balance. Very little acidity makes the wine insipid, listless and lacking in spirit. Too much acidity creates a caustic and acid taste in the mouth.
  
AdamadoUsed to describe a wine that has a certain amount of residual sugars, being therefore sweet.
  
AstringentUsed to describe a wine that creates a sharp, acid feeling in the mouth. It is the result of too many tannins and it is usually accompanied by high acidity. Usually felt in young wines and in wines made without de-stemming. This effect tends to diminish with the years in the bottle.
  
AustereIt is said of a wine that does not “show” itself, that remains closed, that needs time to develop.
  
BalsamicAromas present in the wine that remind incense, resin or vegetal balsams.
  
Blind tastingA method for tasting wines by which the taster does not know which wine is being tasted as the bottle or bottles have been covered. It is a common practice when tasting several wines from the same region made by different producers. This method of tasting wine is used in several wine contests.
  
BodyThe “fullness” of a wine in the mouth as a result of its alcohol content and dry extract it contains.
  
Botrytis cinereaA fungus that attacks the skin of the grapes in certain climatic conditions. It gives rise to a high concentration of the grape due to dehydration. In very special conditions it may cause the so-called “noble rot”. It is fundamental to great sweet white wines such as Barsac and Sauternes.
  
Bottle fermentationA process used in the production of sparkling wines (classical method). After the first fermentation the wine is bottled and a second fermentation takes place in the bottle due to the added yeasts.
  
BouquetSet of complex aromas present in great wines. A high quality wine requires several years to develop its bouquet.
  
Brilliant (colour)A brilliant wine has a limpid aspect, without any clouding or casse.
  
BrutUsed in sparkling wines to describe certain residual sugar content. It corresponds to the driest of all the sparkling wines, though it is normally not very dry. If it is very dry it is called extra-brut.
  
ButteryFeeling left in the mouth in wines with a soft and smooth texture.
  
Carbonic macerationWinemaking technique used for white wines that consists of keeping the grape skins in contact with the juice in order to extract more aroma before they are removed prior to fermentation.
  
CellarsPlace where wines and sparkling wines are stored and aged. Usually it is subterranean so as to prevent thermal changes. Humidity must also be controlled.
  
ClosedIt is said of a wine, when we notice that it is losing its potential. It usually occurs with very young wines.
  
Colouring agentelements in grape skins that give colour to red wines.
  
Cork(Smell) It is a defect. A faulty cork or with a microbiological problem gives rise to this defect. A wine with this problem smells and sometimes tastes like cork. H
  
CrémantIt is used in France to describe sparkling wines which are not produced in the Champagne region.
  
D.O.C.Controlled Appellation of Origin; it corresponds to the former designation of Demarcated Region.
  
De-stemmingIt consists of separating the grapes from their stalks. If the wine is fermented in contact with the stems (traditional method) it may have an unpleasant, vegetal aroma.
  
Decantingexpression with two meanings: in oenology, this is one of the techniques used in white wines to separate the must from the skins after maceration of the skins; for the consumer this is recommended for red wines that age in the bottle and consists of pouring the wine into a decanter to allow it to “breathe”.
  
DecrepitIt is said of an oxidized wine or one that no longer has positive organoleptic characteristics. It is a wine that either was not kept properly or whose life ended – not all the wines can be kept stored for a very long time.
  
ElegantCharacteristic of a well-balanced, delicate wine.
  
Fermentation of skinsUsed to describe the winemaking process of white wines, when the must ferments separately from the skins of the grapes.
  
Fermentation on skinsUsed in Portugal to describe the winemaking technique of red wines in which the grape skins are in contact with the must during fermentation.
  
FilteringA process to clean the wine before it is bottled, in order to remove all floating particles.
  
FinesseSynonymous with delicacy; even a highly structured wine may have finesse if all its elements are well balanced.
  
FlatIt is said of a wine that, due to lack of acidity, leaves a soft and flat feeling in the mouth.
  
FluteLong and thin glass, suitable for tasting sparkling wines.
  
Foamy wineWine to which it was added carbonic gas to have bubbles and foam. It usually corresponds to a low quality product.
  
FreshCharacteristic of the wines, especially the white ones, with a high acidity. It is a positive characteristic.
  
FruityIt is said of a wine that has fruity aromas (primary aromas), a result of a winemaking that has respected the characteristics of the varietals from which it was made.
  
Full-bodiedWine with a full body.
  
Garrafeira (Cellar)It is usually used to qualify red wines, which aged for a very long time in the bottle before they were put on the market.
  
HardFeeling caused by a wine with too much tannins, alcohol and extract. This feeling may be the result of a wrong combination of the wine with the food, when we choose a full-bodied and tanninic wine to drink with a very light meal.
  
HerbaceousVegetal flavour characteristic of wines made without de-stemming and from unripe grapes. Some varietals, such as Cabernet, give herbaceous aromatic components (such as green pepper).
  
Horse sweatCommon and unpleasant aroma in red wines caused by a contamination yeast (Brettanomyces or Dekkera, in its state of spore), which produces volatile phenols. These have as smell descriptors: horse sweat, stable, gouache. It is in certain markets, and in small portions, quite appreciated; others defend that when perceived it is a defect.
  
HybridStock obtained by the marriage of two distinctive varietals.
  
LengthIt is usually defined by the time after having drunk the wine and during which we continue to feel the presence of the wine in the mouth. It is a positive factor.
  
LightIt is said of a wine that has little body.
  
«Liqueur d’expédition»Solution added to sparkling wine before bottling and which will determine the sugar content of the sparkling wine.
  
«Liqueur de tirage»In the production process of sparkling wines (classical method) it is the solution that is added to the wine. It has yeasts that will allow the second fermentation in the bottle with the consequent release of carbonic gas, an essential characteristic of the sparkling wine.
  
Liqueurs (Fortified)In fact, the same as fortified wine. However, only Controlled Appellations of Origin produce fortified wines.
  
Maceration of the skinswinemaking technique usually used when we want to produce fruity, soft and easy to drink wines. This technique is characterized by the fact that fermentation is carried out using carbonic gas.
  
Magnum1.5 liters bottle, having the double amount of a regular bottle. It is ideal for aging certain types of wine in the bottle.
  
Malolactic fermentationProcess by which the lactic bacteria transforms malic acid into lactic acid. This may occur during alcoholic fermentation or afterwards. In the event of this not being controlled, it may result in a secondary fermentation in the bottle which creates a gas and the wine becomes unpleasant.
  
MaturationPeriod during which the grapes ripe, lasting usually 45 days. At this time the acidity decreases as the sugar content and the colouring agent of the grapes rises.
  
Metallic (pen ink aroma)An undesirable aroma that is often present in the wine and which results from the contact of the tannins in the wine with iron or copper (from the vats or casks).
  
MildewA disease that affects the vine caused by the fungus «Plasmopara Viticola». The main damages result from the attack to the inflorescence and the berries. It requires suitable and in time treatment.
  
MonovarietalWine produced from a single varietal.
  
Mouth FinishFeeling left in the mouth by a wine. A great wine always has a long finish. A short, dry finish is synonymous with a high amount of volatile acids.
  
MustGrape juice obtained through the treading of the grapes. After the alcoholic fermentation the must becomes wine.
  
Noble varietalEach region has its own recommended varietals, which give the typical characteristics and individuality to the wines produced in that region in comparison to other regions. Among those recommended varietals, the noble varietals stand out by their quality.
  
OidiumDisease that strikes the vine in the spring caused by the fungus «Uncinula Necator». It may attack bunches, leaves and vine shoots and it requires treatment.
  
Organoleptic(Tasting) Sensory appreciation of wine – colour, aroma and taste. The same expression is applied to other food products such as olive oil, for instance.
  
OxidizationThroughout its life there are always reactions due to the contact of the wine with oxygen. These reactions of oxidization – reduction are essential to the development of a wine, however, the excess – usually by negligence – causes oxidization itself and in this case it is not a very good characteristic. The wine loses its freshness and gains oxidative aromas.
  
PainterDevelopment stage of the grape berries and during which these start to gain colour.
  
PrecipitationSettling on the bottom of the cask (or sometimes of the bottle) of solid matter that is floating in the wine.
  
PulpJuicy part of the interior of a grape berry.
  
Racking of the leesProcess carried out in the winery and which consists of separating the wine from its solid parts (wine lees), and at the same time airing slightly the wine, so as to allow a better evolution.
  
Regional WineIt refers to wines produced in the region that is associated to the expression “Ribatejo Regional Wine”. This expression means that this wine does not follow certain obligations regarding the recommended varietals for that specific region, reason why it cannot be qualified as Quality Wines Produced in Specified Regions. It can also have this name simply by commercial reasons.
  
ReserveIt classifies wines that have aged before being sold.
  
Residual SugarsSugars contained in the must that are not transformed into alcohol during fermentation. It is apparent in sweet wines. One may choose to stop the fermentation at a certain point, thus creating a wine with high sugar content. This is what happens with Port Wine and other fortified wines, where brandy is added so as to stop fermentation. With other types of wines, the same effect is obtained by adding sulphur dioxide.
  
RoundWell-balanced, all enveloping, warm wine. Easy to taste, it has not too much astringency.
  
ScrapedIt is said of a wine that has been filtered too much and that has little or no body.
  
SeasoningSwirling the wine in the glass before tasting. Giving aroma and taste to the wine.
  
SkinsEnclosing of the grapes. They contain important elements such as colouring agent, tannins and important aromas.
  
Sparkling wineWine obtained from the second fermentation of the wine in the bottle by adding yeasts (classical method). It can also be obtained by the second fermentation on a closed cask (continuous method).
  
StalksWhat is left from the grape bunches after having separated the berries.
  
Stem/StalkWine deposit. Particles which during the aging in the bottle settle on its bottom. Usually it is made of small colloidal particles and colouring agent.
  
StructureA good structure is obtained from good grapes and good winemaking. The structure involves the body, alcohol, tannins and complexity of a wine.
  
Sulphur dioxideUsed in wines as an antiseptic, anti-oxidant and preserving agent. It inhibits the formation of micro-organisms that may be harmful to the wine and encourages longevity. A wine to which sulphur dioxide has not been added usually becomes a hothouse for germs.
  
TanninEssential element in red wines that comes from the skins and from young wood. Indispensable for the longevity of the wines, it may create a sharp taste in the mouth if the wines are drunk when they are very young. Together with acidity and alcohol it determines the longevity and potential aging of a wine.
  
Tartaric AcidIt is the main acid of the wine, thus giving it the health it needs to live. If wines have low acidity it is recommended to add tartaric acid as it will improve the overall quality of the wine.
  
TartratesTartaric acid crystals that are formed in cold temperatures. It may form on the bottom of bottles of wines that have not been cold-treated yet, not being, therefore, a negative factor.
  
TearGreasy mark left on a glass by a wine rich in alcohol, sugars and glycerine.
  
Temperature (control)Process that consists of keeping the temperature at which a wine is fermented between certain limits in order to extract most of the aromas in the grapes. It allows controlling the kinetics of the alcoholic fermentation and the management of it so as to produce the desired type of wine. It is currently essential to both white and red wines.
  
TurbidityLack of transparency of a wine due to the presence of floating particles.
  
Unctuousit is said of a wine that is rich, intense, concentrated, and soft and that has usually a high glycerol content.
  
VarietalA variety of grapevine. One of the main elements which characterizes a wine and gives it its typical characteristics. The same varietal planted in different soils and weather conditions produces different types of wine, although some of the aromatic elements that are typical of the varietal will remain the same.
  
VatAn extremely large wood cask.
  
VinousSaid of a young wine that smells “like wine”. This is the type of aroma that is not present in wines with some age that in the meantime have already developed their bouquet.
  
ViticultureScience that studies the set of operations necessary to plant and preserve a vineyard and the vines.
  
«Vitis vinifera»Generic name for the class of European grapevine (regardless of the varietal); other types of vines that do not belong to «Vitis Vinifera» are considered hybrid vines and are known in Portugal as American vines.
  
Volatile AcidsElement present in the wine that, when in excess, creates a vinegary aroma. Too much volatile acids are the result of poor care during winemaking and storing. Older wines may have a more evident touch of volatile acidity. It is called in Portuguese “vinagrinho”.
  
VQPRDQuality Wines Produced in Specific Regions. It is said of wines that have right to an Appellation of Origin and that were approved by the Regional Wine Commission.
  
Wine leesSolid matter that settles in the wine barrels during its storage.
  
YeastsMicroscopic organisms which during the alcoholic fermentation turn the sugars in the grapes into alcohol. They are present in the grapes skins (indigenous yeasts), but nowadays they are usually inoculated in the must so as to allow fermentation under the form of active dry yeasts of selected stocks for specific varietals and terroirs.