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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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