Decant - A term for the pouring of wine out of its bottle into a vessel (or decanter), usually made of glass or crystal, for the purpose of aeration and removal of sediment.
Decanter - A vessel, usually glass or crystal, into which wine is poured. The most obvious reason for decanting is to remove sediment that has formed in a bottle. Another main reason for decanting is to promote aeration and encourage the development of the wine’s bouquet. Decanters come in many different shapes and sizes.
Demi-Sec - A term relating to sweetness. In the language of Champagne, it can be misleading; although demi-sec means half-dry, demi-sec sparkling wines are usually slightly sweet to medium sweet.
Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC) - Portugal’s controlled appellation systems.
Denominación de Origen (DO) - Spain’s controlled appellation system, established in 1926.
Denominación de Origen Calificada (DOCa) - The highest rank in Spanish wine categorization. An extension of the DO system, designating regions that maintain high standards of production and above average grape prices.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) - Italy’s controlled appellation system.
Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita (DOCG) - An expansion on Italy’s DOC laws. This category was created to recognize the finest wines in the country - similar to the DOCa in Spain.
Developed - A broad term referring to aged wine or the aroma of wine that has been aged. Developed aromas differ from primary fruit aromas in that they tend to consist of savory, earthy notes rather than young fruity notes.
Disgorging (dégorgement) - The process of removing yeasty sediment after the second fermentation. Disgorging, which involves the freezing and ejection of yeasty sediment that has settled gradually into the neck of a bottle, is part of the traditional method used in all Champagne production.
Dosage - In bottle-fermented sparkling wines, a small amount of wine (usually sweet) that is added back to the bottle once the yeast sediment that collects in the neck of the bottle is removed. Also applies to sparkling wines made in the tank, or Charmat method.
Dry - Having little or no perceptible taste of sugar. Most wine tasters begin to perceive sugar at levels of 0.5 percent to 0.7 percent.
Dumb - Describes a phase young wines undergo when their flavors and aromas are muted and undeveloped.
Enology - The science and study of winemaking. Also called viniculture or oenology.
Estate Wine - You’ve probably seen wine marketed as “estate” wine before. But what exactly does that mean? Estate is a difficult denomination to earn on a bottle. It essentially means that the winery must control every part of the winemaking process, from growing, to crushing, to bottling, while keeping the grapes it within the same appellation. Regardless of ownership, the winery must have controlled the vineyard (be in charge of making decisions related to pruning, watering, which grapes to grow) for the past three years. Although the winery does not need to be on the same property as the vineyard itself, it must be within the appellation (i.e. Napa). The winery and vineyard can be in separate sub-appellations (i.e. St. Helena or Oak Knoll). Whether or not the “estate” designation actually leads to a better wine is debatable. It for sure means that each person at the winery from vintner to winemaker must be excellent at their job to make a good product asif the vineyard has a poor year due to weather, an “Estate” wine can’t simply source grapes from another vineyard.
Ethyl Acetate - A sweet, vinegary smell that often accompanies acetic acid. It exists to some extent in all wines and in small doses can be a plus. When it is strong and smells like nail polish, it's a defect.
Extract - Richness and depth of concentration of fruit in a wine. Usually a positive quality, although high extract wine can also be highly tannic and can be undesirable in certain styles of wine.