Amarone - The product of late harvested Corvina grapes (at least 45%) in Valpolicella, Italy, that are dried on bamboo mats for usually 3-4 months where they raisinate before being pressed. "Amarone" translates to "big, bitter one".
Auslese - A late harvest wine in Germany and Austria that will be riper, as well sweeter, than Spätlese.
Beerenauslese - A later harvest wine in Germany and Austria that will be riper, as well as sweeter, than Auslese.
Biodymamic Wine - Refers to wines that come from vineyards which adhere (whether partially or completely) to Biodynamic principles stated by Austrian Rudolph Steiner. Specific preparations are applied by spraying or by way of solid compost. Components include ground quartz (silica), chamomile, cow manure, oak bark, and dandelion, to name a few. Farming and some cellar practices are also done in accordance with the lunar calendar, as well as taking into account the position of the sun and planets.
Cremant - A sparkling wine, where limits are set in France for maximum yield, as well as requirement for hand-harvesting of grapes.
Cuvée - Usually an unregulated term that most often signifies a particular blend.
Demi Sec- A designation of "off dry" that will have more residual sugar than bottles labeled, "Sec".
Eiswein - Wine produced from frozen grapes that are pressed before fermentation, producing highly concentrated sweet wine.
Federspiel - An indicator of ripeness, where grapes are less ripe than those labeled, "Smaragd". A similar ripeness level as Kabinett.
Gran Reserva - Spanish term used to denote red wines that have been aged in barrel for 2 years in cask, and another 3 years in bottle prior to release. And white and rosados that have been aged 6 months in cask, and 4 years in bottle.
Grand Cru - A classification of a vineyard most commonly used in Burgundy and Alsace referring to sites that have been given the very highest designation of all.
Grosser Ring - The group of VDP growers within the Mosel, Saar and Ruwer regions in Germany that hold an annual auction each year in Trier. There, the best barrels of member producers are auctioned off. Bottles labeled with "Grosser Ring" signify a more prized and sought after wine that those labeled with identical vineyard, Prädikat, vintage and producer information.
Grosses Gewachs - "Great Growth". A German term for bottles produced by members of the VDP where the wine is Dry, was picked at a Spätlese ripeness level, and is from a prime, selected vineyard site.
Joven - "Young Wine". Labeled on Spanish lables signifying that the wine has spent minimal time in barrel. Wines best consumed young.
Kabinett - Wines that are semi-sweet, but less ripe, and sweet than those labeled, Spätlese. Those labeled Trocken would denote the wine is dry, however.
Lees - Dead yeast cells that slowly fall to the bottom of a barrel and provide a creamy texture and weight to wines. Added contact with lees is particularly important and prevalent in the production of Champagne and Muscadet.
Methode Champenoise - Sparkling wine in which the secondary fermentation has occurred in bottle, compared to in a tank
Moelleux - A sweet wine.
Natural Wine - A term that can often be quite contentious, and sometime difficult to explain as there is no legal definition. What we know about "natural wine" is that it will always come from grapes fermented with native yeasts, and never with cultured ones. And minimal amounts of sulphur will be added to the wine, and in some cases zero sulphur.
NV Champagne - A Champagne that is comprised of not one, but several different vintages. Many times there will be a base vintage which comprises a large part of the total blend.
Organic Wine - Refers to wines that come from vineyards that are not treated with synthetic herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers.
Premier Cru - A classification of a vineyard most commonly used in Burgundy referring to vineyards that have been given a designation just below that of Grand Cru.
QbA - A "basic" wine in the German Prädikat scale, where the region must be listed on the label. Grapes are usually picked at levels below the ripeness of Kabinett.
Reserva - Spanish term used to denote red wines that have been aged 1 year in cask, and 2 years in bottle. Whites and rosados must age 6 months in cask, and 2 years in bottle.
Reserve - Usually an unregulated term that is an attempt to signify a wine of a higher quality within a producer's portfolio of wines.
Riserva - Commonly used in Italy to denote wines that have been aged longer in cask and bottle, and as well as coming from choice parcels within a vineyard, often encompassing the oldest vines.
Saignée - The method of "bleeding" of juice from a vat of red grapes to produce a rosé with the slightly pigmented juice.
Sec - Signifies a dry wine with under 9 grams/liter of sugar.
Smaragd - An indicator of ripeness, where grapes are harvested at ripeness levels higher than those of Federspiel. Minimum of 12.5% finished alcohol, and a maximum of 9 grams/liter of sugar.
Spätlese - A sweet wine, that is picked at a higher ripeness that Kabinett, and contains more sugar. Those labeled Trocken would denote the wine is dry, however.
Sur Lie - The process of leaving a wine to age on the lees, or dead yeast cells, that have fallen to the bottom of the aging vessel. Most commonly referred to in Muscadet and Champagne. Wines pick up creamy and yeasty characteristics, and often a perception of weight is added to the palate.
Trocken - Signifies a dry wine.
Trockenbeerenauslese - Wines made from grapes that have dried and shriveled on the vines. Producing wines that are sweeter than those of Beerenauslese.
Vendage Selectiones - Usually referring to a wine produced from a special selection of the very best grapes.
Vendage Tardive - "Late Harvest". Wines produced from grapes that have been harvested late, in which they are higher in sugar, and often times contain residual sugar in bottle.
Vieilles Vignes - Old Vines
VV - Old Vines