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Glossary of Terms
Glossary of Terms
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Do you find yourself wandering through the wine isle of your local supermarket looking at wine labels thinking “this may as well be written in Greek!"


Most of us buy wine simply on the look of the label. This month's article is all about helping you become savvier when buying your next bottle of wine. I have included a list of words with descriptors which should help you along. Rip out the page and put it in your wallet, you never know when it could come in handy.


Grape Variety: i.e.: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon etc. If you know your grapes then you can imagine how the wine may taste. 

Region: In the case of French wines, only the region will be listed. Most regions in France, i.e. Burgundy, by law only grow specific grapes, in this case Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

Producer: Producer enables you to know who makes the wine. Some producers have a better reputation than others.

Estate Name: An estate name will tell you if the wine is from a single vineyard. Single vineyard wines are often more concentrated and slightly more expensive as there is a limited amount of grapes, therefore less wine.

Alcohol level: Implies the body and sweetness. Above 14% wines are full-bodied and more tannic if red. Sweeter and lighter wines generally have alcoholic levels below 11%. The lower the alcohol, the sweeter the wine; the higher the alcohol, the dryer the wine.

Grands Cru or Premiers Cru: Used in the French regions to describe a vineyard of high quality. (Cru means vineyard)

Gran Cru Classé: greatest classed growths with specific reference to classified vineyards in Bordeaux.

Gran Reserva (Spain): The wine is bottled for at least 5 years, 2 of which must be in wood.  Whites and Rosés must be aged at least 4 years, which no less than 6 months are in wood.

Reserva (Spain) = Spanish wines age at least 3 years, must be in oak casks.

Crianza = Spanish wines aged in oak casks.

Reserve is often seen on labels but has no legal meaning; however it does indicate that the wine has been aged in wood.

Vieilles Vignes (old vines): the wine is made from grapes grown on old vines, usually over 40 years old. Old vines have lower grape yield but produces grapes with richer flavours.

Vintage: Is simply the year the grapes are grown and picked in.


(Sandy Ramsay, W'est Solutions)


W'est Solutions is a wine tasting /wine and customer service /training company working with corporate groups, hotels/restaurants and private individuals.


If you would like to learn more about W'est Solutions, log onto

www.westwinetasting.com or

call Sandy at 07871 793 801 or email at [email protected]



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