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The 10 wine words, but not in English

Wine is in itself a universal message, but the history of wine is full of terms from all over the world and here are the 10 most used wine words

Julien Miquel explains the 10 most used wine words

Julien Miquel explains the 10 most used wine words

By Donatella Cinelli Colombini, Brunello, Casato Prime Donne, Toscana

I often read the thoughts of Julien Miquel, a French wine maker, who lives in New Zealand and is an authentic social wine genius.  This year his Social Vignerons won the Wine Blog Award among the novelties. I suggest you follow him on Facebook, Twitter or on his blog or in Vivino because he opens up new horizons for you. Here I am quoting an article of his about the 10 most common wine words and you will discover the curiosities that only a super wine expert knows

"Riserva" is among the most common wine words 

“Riserva” is among the most common wine words

Wine for Julien is like an actor that doesn’t need an interpreter to be understood << But there are a few wine terms that keep popping up on wine labels all the time. So you are simply better off understanding their meaning if you want to know what you’re buying>>

So here is Julien Miquel’s wine dictionary with the 10 most popular non-English wine words that appear on back labels, because as everyone knows the front label is nearly always the work of a graphic artist, while the obligatory by law information and the explanations are always on the back.

BARRIQUE oak container created in the middle ages to substitute the more fragile Roman amphorae. Ageing wine in oak also has positive effects on the wine aroma (vanilla, spices, charring) and on the contexture of the tannins that becomes more dense and fine. There are two types of barrique: the Barrique Bouguignone that hold 228 litres and the Barrique Bordelaise that hold 225.

Chateau Yquem

Chateau Yquem

BLANC which becomes BLANCO in Spain and WHITE in English speaking nations
This indicates simply the colour of wines that in reality are often yellow

BODEGA This in  the origin meant underground and then took on the meaning of winery. In Chile or Argentina they use the word “cavas” to say winery but this must not be mistaken with the term “cava” that in Spain indicates sparkling wines.

BRUT Champagne or spumante with little sugar added in the final dosage. In France it indicates things in their natural form such as sugar and wool.

CHATEAU This means castle, it began to be connected to the concept of winery in the Bordeaux area before the devolution because only aristocrats had castles surrounded by vineyards. The new investors built new wineries and called them Château even when there was no castle or noblesse ants in the end  90% of the Bordeaux wineries call themselves Châteaux . More recently now the Châteaux are springing up all over the world.

Cru del Medoc Photographs for the The Wine Cellarage

Cru del Medoc Photographs for the The Wine Cellarage

CRU In France this means vineyard and is translated into English as “growth”.
But the crus are not all the same: in Burgundy, Champagne and Alsace the Grand Crus are the best vineyards. In Burgundy there are 33 of them and they cover only 2% of the total vine area.
In Bordeaux on the contrary the grand are the wineries and not the vineyards
Premier Grand Cus Classés – first growths rated in 1855 the highest level in Médoc, Graves/Sauternes and Saint Emilion

Chateau le Boscq

Chateau le Boscq

MILLESIME – MILLESIMATO Millésime is the year of production and is very important for Champagne because it distinguishes the best production, the one that does not mix more vintages together

RISERVA Finally an Italian word! Here, as in Spain the term refers to a longer ageing regulated by a series of rules and checked by the authorities. I other nations on the other hand  Reserve, Reserva or Réserve can be liberally used and doesn’t always mean superior quality.

VENDANGE –VENDIMIA This is the year the grapes were picked but also the  vendanges tardives which mean the late harvests

VIEILLES VIGNES This actually means old vineyards. There is no age at which a Vineyard is considered “old”. In Bordeaux where it is often used, an old Vineyard is 30 -40 years old. Whereas in Spain, California or Australia there are many vineyards that are 80-100 years old.