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Glossary A - Z

A.O.C.
Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée: A wine that originates from a specific region or area, that meets strict production norms and is officially recognized only after tasting and analysis. The A.O.C is a guarantee of typicality and quality for the consumer. A.O.C Bordeaux is a regional Appellation that applies to wine produced in a production area strictly defined by the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine.

Acescence
A disease that transforms the alcohol in wine into acetic acid and ethyl acetate (vinegar smell).

Acid
Acidity is an essential component of wine that confers depth and longevity. Grapes that are harvested prematurely can result in an unpleasant level of acidity. Acidity stimulates the front sides of the tongue and gives "bite" to wine.

Aftertaste
This is the taste that remains in the mouth after the wine has been swallowed. It can also be referred to as length of the wine or its finish and should be balanced, harmonious and the most persistent possible.

Ageing
Storage of wine in bottles. After an appropriate period of ageing depending on the year and style of wine, wine achieves its peak of quality.

Alcohol
Alcohol is the most important component in wine after water. It confers a warm character to wine, balancing its acidity and is produced by yeast that transforms the sugar in grapes. 17 grams of sugar per litre of grape must produce approximately 1 percent of alcohol. (200 grams of sugar per litre of grape must is the minimum required to obtain a wine with 12% alcohol, often the case in Bordeaux).

Amber
After aging for too long, or due to premature oxidisation, dry white wines take on a colour that resembles amber, like aged gold with hints of brown. However, this colour is highly appreciated in Bordeaux sweet wines since it is proof of a long period of bottle ageing.

Ampelography
The study of grapevines, including their structure, origins and growing habits.

Animal
Describes the series of flavours that evoke the animal world (musk, raw meat, leather, etc.) which are common in aged red wines. These aromas are produced by the recombination in the bottle of certain elements in wine and appear as wine ages.

Approval Process
After being cultivated according to strict production norms, wines must be submitted to a series of analyses, as well as a professional tasting in order to obtain the designation of Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée.

Aroma-Primary
Primary aromas, or varietal aromas, exist in each grape variety and develop during fermentation. Each grape variety therefore has a characteristic primary aroma(s). For example, in Bordeaux wines Sauvignon has a primary aroma of boxwood, whereas Cabernet Sauvignon's is of blackcurrant flower and/or liquorice stick and that of Merlot is strawberry. Primary aromas are generally reminiscent of flowery, fruity or vegetal elements.

Aromas
All of the odours that can be detected using the sense of smell. Over time, aromas evolve and become more complex.

Aroma-Secondary
Also know as fermentation aromas, these notes emerge during fermentation cycles. These aromas can evoke bananas, nail polish, fruit drops (after alcoholic fermentation), but also candles, wax, wheat, brioches, or even fresh butter or crème fraîche (after malolactic fermentation).

Aroma-Tertiary
Describes the complex, fragrant bouquet that develops during anaerobic bottle ageing. The most well known tertiary aromas are of truffle, leather, mocha, coconut, baking (cakes, honey, marzipan) and especially the animal notes of fur, leather and musk.

Astere
Describes wine that has not yet developed a bouquet, and thus does not have aromatic richness.

Astringent
Astringency is created by tannins that produce a dry feeling on the tongue and the gums by stopping the effect of the lubricating proteins in the saliva. Recent progress in oenological studies in Bordeaux have resulted in the marked reduction of the astringent sensation in young wines. Astringency decreases with time. 

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