Abierto

Used to describe a wine with lack of colour or a wine that does not taste well-balanced.

Abocado

Used to describe a wine which cannot quite be classified as sweet but which is medium sweet. Embocado is another term often used with the same meaning.

Acerbic

Wine that is sharp, acidic and very harsh on the palate.

Acetaldehyde

Substance produced from the oxidation of ethyl alcohol; if present, it gives wine a very unpleasant smell. Synonym: aldehído acético.

Acid

Wine which has a predominantly acidic taste may contain an excessive amount of acid substances, or lack balance with regard to other flavours. Acid is capable of forming salts when combined with base substances.

Acidity

Fixed acidity refers to the combination of natural acids found in grapes (tartaric, malic and citric) or formed during malolactic fermentation (lactic). Volatile acidity refers to the combination of volatile acids created during fermentation, or as a consequence of microbial changes. Its strength is an indication of a wine's degeneration. The most important volatile acid is acetic acid, the existence of which indicates the transformation of wine into vinegar. Total acidity is the combination of all the acids contained in a wine or must. This concept is usually measured in grams of tartaric acid per litre.

Aerated

Aromatic characteristics which have degenerated and diminished due to exposure to air without the wine actually becoming denaturalised.

Aerometer

See Densímetro.

Aftertaste

The impression left by a wine in the mouth and in the nose after it is swallowed.

Aftertaste

Sensations that linger after the wine has been swallowed. Synonym: retrogusto.

Ageing

The Spanish name for the controlled process of ageing and maturing a wine, during which it develops special characteristics. The term is used generically to describe any wine that has been aged. Vino de crianza is the term for a quality wine that has been aged in wood and bottle for at least two years.

Aggressive

Wine with an unpleasant, sharp aroma and taste which assaults the taste buds. It is used for highly acidic and sour wine.

Agraffe

Metal clamp that seals and holds in place the top of a bottle of sparkling wine. Originally it was used during the second fermentation. This system of sealing has now been replaced in many wineries by the brass bottle cap (chapa in Spanish) and the agraffe is today frequently used instead when sealing bottles for subsequent commercial sale, replacing the traditional morrión.

Aguja

Used to describe the slight pinpricks on the palate produced by wines containing carbon dioxide bubbles. Vino de aguja (slightly sparkling wine) is a type whose carbonated content can be felt in the mouth as a light pinprick or tingle, and whose gas bubbles are visible in the wineglass. This carbonic gas left in the wine should be the result of the wine's own fermentation, and should never be added artificially.

Ahilado

Said of a stringy or ropey wine, a defect due to a bacterial malady, and noted by the wine falling into the glass as if it were a string of oil. See Grasa.

Ahilado

This term applies to a wine which, as a consequence of a malady, falls slowly down a glass, like oil, forming strands. See also Viscoso.

Albarizas

White soils, rich in lime, which are the best ones for growing vines in Jerez. They are called alberos in Montilla.

Alcohol

Properly, ethyl alcohol or ethanol. After water, this is the most abundant substance in wine. It is produced through the transformation of the sugars found in the must during alcoholic fermentation. The alcoholic content of wine is measured in percentage of alcohol by volume or degrees, and is indicated on the label in percentage form. For example, a 12-degree wine (12% vol.) contains 12% of pure alcohol.

Alcoholic

Used to describe a wine that is unbalanced due to excessive alcohol content. The term is also applied to wines that are weak in other sensations, thus making alcohol prominent when tasting, even though the wine does not have a high alcohol content.

Alcoholic fermentation

Also known as alcoholic-pyruvic fermentation. This is accomplished by various types of yeast that transform the sugars in the grape must into alcohol, carbon dioxide, glycerine and smaller quantities of many other substances.

Aldehydes

A class of organic chemical substances produced by the oxidation of alcohols. They play a part in the creation of the aroma of wines aged through controlled oxidation. See Acetaldehído.

Alkaline

Wine with low acidity and consequently not very lively in appearance. Bland.

Almondy

Used to describe aromas and flavours reminiscent of bitter almonds. A characteristic of some fortified generoso wines. In table wines, it could indicate poor production or inadequate handling.

Amber

The colour of some white wines, generally caused by the oxidation of polyphenols.

Amontillado

Fortified wine with an alcoholic strength of 16° to 22°. Golden or amber in colour, with a pungent aroma, and a smooth, nutty taste, it is dry and not very acidic. Amontillados are produced in Jerez, Montilla-Moriles and Condado de Huelva.

Amoscatelado

Used to describe a wine with the aroma of Moscatel.

Andana

Spanish word meaning a group of wine casks stacked on top of each other, usually to a maximum height of five tiers.

Animal

A generic term describing the smell of animal meat or skins, frequently found in old red wines.

Anthocyans

Pigmentation substances that are found in the skins of black grapes, responsible for the colour of red wines.

Aperitivo

Spanish term used for an appetizer or aperitif wine, such as vermouth, to which aroma has been added through plant extracts or maceration of herbs and spices. It is bitter-tasting and used to stimulate the appetite.

Aroma

A positive natural smell produced by a wine. It may come from the grapes themselves (primary aromas), be produced during fermentation (secondary aromas), or develop during the ageing of a wine (tertiary aromas). The different elements of aroma ideally combine harmoniously.

Aromatised

Wine prepared with the addition of aromatic essences.

Arroba

A unit of measurement, generally equivalent to 16 litres, used in many Spanish wine-producing areas.

Arrumbación

Spanish term used in Andalusia to describe the operations performed inside a winery, including the decanting, fortifying and fining of wine.

Artificial colouring

Chemical substances capable of modifying or intensifying the colour of a wine. Their use is prohibited.

Assault

A term for the initial sensations perceived in the mouth when tasting a wine.

Astringent

A wine with marked astringency due to its tannin content can be identified by the rough, almost rubbing sensation between the mouth and the palate.

Astringent

Mouth-puckering sensation produced in the mouth by the presence of tannins in the wine.

Añejo

Spanish word for a wine that has been subjected to an ageing process in a wooden cask or bottle, or both, for at least three years.

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