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Wine Glossary: A


While tasting wine across Washington state, here are some terms you may come across:

Acetic Acid - All wines contain small amounts acetic acid or vinegar, normally the amount is small and not noticeable to taste or smell.

Acid - There are four kinds of acids found in wine - tartaric, malic, lactic and citric. Acid aids in the crispness and longevity of a wine.

Acidic - Wines whose acid content is high, leaving a tart or sour edge on the palate.

Aerate - letting a wine breathe in the open air or by swirling wine in a glass.

Aftertaste - The wine taste or flavors that linger in the mouth. Also known as a wine's finish, this can be buttery, oaky, spicy, tart or bitter.

Aggressive - A wine that is harsh in taste due to high levels of tannins or acid.

Alcohol - natural by-product of wine fermentation. Most wines range from 7% - 14% alcohol by volume.

American oak - Used for aging Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Has vanilla, dill and cedar characteristics.

American Viticultural Area (AVA) - In the USA, a geographic grape-growing area that has officially been given appellation status by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Ampelography - the study and identification of grape varieties.

Angular - tart flavors and tastes in young, dry wines.

Aperitif - describes an alcoholic beverage served before dinner to stimulate the appetite. Traditional French examples include Kir, Lillet and Vermouth.

Appellation - Designates the geographic region where a wine's grapes were grown.

Appley - smell or aroma of a wine. "Ripe apples" describes some Chardonnays, while "fresh apples" describe certain types of Riesling, and "Green apple" describes wines made from underripe grapes.

Aroma - the particular scent of the grape in the wine.

Aromatic - a spicy character of some wine grape varieties such as Gewurztraminer and Muscat.

Ascescence - presence of acetic acid and ethyl acetate in wine. A sweet and sour or vinegary smell and taste in the mouth.

Asti Spumante - semi-dry sparkling wine made in the village of Asti, Italy.

Astringent - harsh, puckery taste and feel in the mouth from tannin or high acidity that red wines (and a few white wine) have.

Attack - first impact of a wine.

Austere - hard, high acid wines that lack depth and roundness. Said of young wines that may soften with age.










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