Salmanazar - An oversized bottle holding 9 liters, the equivalent of 12 regular bottles.
Structure - The interaction of elements such as acid, tannin, glycerin, alcohol and body as it relates to a wine's texture and mouthfeel. Usually preceded by a modifier, as in "firm structure" or "lacking in structure."
Sur Lie - Wines aged sur lie (French for "on the lees") are kept in contact with the dead yeast cells and are not racked or otherwise filtered. This is mainly done for whites, to enrich them (it is a normal part of fermenting red wine, and so is not noted). Originated in Burgundy, with Chardonnay. Popular in Muscadet, Alsace, Germany (Riesling and Pinot Gris) and California. Adds complexity to Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc; can occasionally be overdone and lead to a yeasty flavor that is off-putting.
Tannins - Compounds that contribute to a wine’s structure, mouthfeel, and astringency. Tannins in wine are derived from grape skins, seeds, and stems. The more contact the juice has with these elements, the more tannic the wine will be. Fining and filtration later in the process can reduce the presence of tannin in the finished product.
Tartaric Acid - The principal acid in wine.
Tastevin - In French, it literally means ‘wine taster.’ A tastevin is used by the wine maker and cellarman to monitor the maturation of a wine. The bright, centre dome spreads the wine across the shallow bowl of the tastevin to reveal the color and provide a "core to rim" comparison. This lets the wine maker know how the wine is progressing and maturing.
Terroir - The overall environment within which a given grape variety grows. Derived from the French word for Earth, “terre.”
Transfer Method - In sparkling wine production, a method in which riddling and disgorging are not used. Instead, the sparkling wine is transferred to a pressurized tank where it is filtered, removing the yeasty sediment. Like the traditional method, a dosage is added to the wine, which is then bottled again.
Typicity - A wine tasting term derived from the French word, typicité. The English word is typicality. It is a somewhat subjective idea, but is important to wine judges and professional buyers. Typicity refers to a wine’s quality of being typical to its geographic region, grape variety and vintage year.
Varietal - A varietal is a wine named for the dominant grape variety from which it is made although other grape varieties may be present in the wine. The term varietal is often misused to refer to grape or vine variety. For example, Regusci Cabernet Sauvignon is a varietal label. Cabernet Sauvignon is the dominant grape variety in the wine.
Variety - Refers to a vine’s distinct type within one species of the genus vitis. Different vine varieties produce different and specific grape varieties, and the two are used interchangeably. The word varietal is commonly misused in place of variety. Commonly known grape and vine varieties are Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Vinification - The practical art of transforming grapes into wine. It is synonymous with wine making.
Vintner’s Quality Alliance (VQA) - Canada’s controlled appellation system.
Viscosity - The quality of being viscous, the extent to which a solution resists flow or movement. When tasters refer to a wine’s body, they are in part evaluating a wine’s viscosity. Sweet wines are more viscous than dry wines because they have higher sugar content. Alcohol is more viscous than water, and consequently, wines with higher alcohol content are more viscous than those with less alcohol. Viscosity is related to the formation of “legs,” or “tears,” in a wine glass only so far as it correlates to the alcohol and sugar content of a wine.
Viticulture - The science of growing grapes.
Vitis Vinifera - Classic European wine-making species of grape. Examples include Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. There are many other species of grapes such as Vitis labrusca, a North American grape species such as Concord, used mainly for New York state wines.
Volatile (or volatile acidity) - Describes an excessive and undesirable amount of acidity, which gives a wine a slightly sour, vinegary edge. At very low levels (0.1 percent), it is largely undetectable. At higher levels it is considered a major defect.
Yeast - Micro-organisms that produce the enzymes which convert sugar to alcohol. Yeast is necessary for the fermentation of grape juice into wine.