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Wine Glossary: S

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

Salmanazar - An over-sized bottle holding 9 litres, the equivalent of about 12 regular bottles.

Sangiovese - The all important red-wine grape of Tuscany in central Italy, and the key to producing the infamous Chianti. Known to produce a range of styles from fresh, light, young wines to hearty, full-bodied reds that can age well. Literally translated 'blood of love'.

Sauvignon Blanc - Noble, white grape variety grown in the Loire and Bordeaux regions of France, with plantings now in other regions including, California, New Zealand, Australia. Usually blended with Semillon grapes, and varies in style, but generally speaking produces soft, assertive, herbaceous, sometimes complex wines.

Sediment - In red wines, the deposit or residue that can accumulate in the bottle during the aging process. Not considered a negative quality, and can be separated from a well aged wine by decanting.

Semillon - White wine grape, native to the Bordeaux region of France, but now widely grown in many of the world's wine regions; is most often used in a blend with Sauvignon Blanc grapes that generally produces a pleasant, somewhat dry, medium-bodied wine.

Seyval Blanc - Hybrid grape of French origin that is widely used in the U.S.A., generally producing oak-aged dry whites.

Sharp - A predominant acidity presence.

Short - A wine with very little aftertaste or finish.

Silky - Soft, flowing texture and finish.

Shiraz - A term used mostly in Australia or South Africa; same as Syrah.

Sinewy - Usually referring to a wine with not much fruitiness, but a good balance of alcohol and acidity.

Soft - Refers to wines with low acidity and or tannins creating a mellow quality on the palate. Can also refer to low alcohol content.

Solid - Firm textured, well structured.

Sommelier - A wine steward in a restaurant.

Sparkling - Wine with bubbles, either naturally occurring or created by injecting carbon dioxide gas.

Spicy - Usually a complex, red or white, wine imparting the soft nuances pepper, cloves, cinnamon, mint or other spices.

Split - A 6 ounce, or quarter bottle of champagne, most frequently found in hotels, airplanes, ships or trains.

Spritzy - Very slight sensation of carbonation, most common in very young wines and can be considered a minor flaw.

Spumante - Italian term meaning 'foaming' and referring to sparkling wines.

Stalky - A somewhat green taste and aroma, reminiscent of grape stems or vines, or possibly underripe grapes.

Steely - Firm, taut, acidic.

Stoney - Term used to describe a clean, earthy characteristic in young white wines; flinty.

Structure - Referring to how a wine is build, the flavor plan - the interaction and final composition of all elements, such as acid, tannin, alcohol, fruitiness, body. Usually used with another descriptor as in 'firm structure'.

Supple - A positive characteristic that usually refers to red wines that are smooth, soft textured and rounded on the palate.

Sur Lie - French term meaning 'on the lees' and referring to the technique/method of storing wine, prior to bottling, in the yeast sediment and grape particles (lees) from the fermentation, producing a more complex wine.

Syrah - Classic red wine grape grown in the Rhone Valley of France, producing love-lived, spicy, aromatic wines. Grown increasingly in other wine regions.

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