An early-ripening red variety that is slightly acidic and very pleasant due to its fruity aromas (strawberry, gooseberry and raspberry) and well-balanced flavors. This tasty wine is found primarily in Beaujolais where it thrives on the granite soils, but also in Auvergne and in the Loire Valley.
A name for the series of aromas that evoke the animal kingdom, including musk, venison and leather, that are frequently found in older red wines. These aromas are created in the bottle and appear only after a wine has been aged.
Vin de garde. This term refers to a wine that is well suited for aging due to its aromatic power, tannic structure and acidity.
Said of a wine that is high in alcohol but not unpleasant (as opposed to a heady wine).
This Alsatian variety is highly aromatic with powerful, elegant aromas of litchi and boxwood and notes of ginger and cardamom. It produces dry, off-dry and sweet white wines, especially the late harvest and “noble grapes” varieties.
An alcohol that is very smooth on the palate and is created during fermentation. It imparts a sweet flavor and smoothness to the wine.
Technique employed since the Phylloxera epidemic that consists of attaching a cutting from a local grapevine to phylloxera-resistant rootstock. It is then the grafted grapevine that gives the wine its personality, while the rootstock just provides water and nutrients.
Term to denote “fine wine” used on French bottle labels that has no legal significance.
Term for odors or aromas that evoke freshly cut grass or hay (this terms often has a negative connotation as it usually applies to grapes that have not attained an optimum level of maturity before being harvested).
Soil that consists of smooth stones and gravel with a low pH. It provides excellent drainage and is well suited for the quality wines produced in Médoc and Graves.
Said of a wine that is overly acidic.
A red grape variety that is powerful and high in alcohol. It is cultivated in parts of Midi, such as Banyuls and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, producing a fragrant, warm wine with aromas of plum and fruit preserves.
Vin Gris, French for “gray wine”. This refers to a white wine produced from red grapes that is not pigmented enough to be considered a rosé.
A Loire Valley variety used to make the rosés of Anjou and other rosés in the region.
Name for the Folle Blanche variety that is used in Nantes. It is also a VDQS appellation near Nantes, not far from the Atlantic Ocean.
A flavor in wine that is reminiscent of the flint used to produce sparks in guns. It is particularly noticeable in wines produced on limestone soils such as those of Sancerre. These mineral notes then later evolve into the kerosene or diesel aromas that can be found in aged Alsatian Rieslings.
Method of pruning grapevines used in Bordeaux and elsewhere that preserves a single horizontal branch called the courson.