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Wine Terminology

Glossary terms


Tasting term used to indicate the range of sensations detected in the mouth

(rather than on the nose). Also, a competent taster may be said to have a good palate.

Passito (It.)

Method of making wine from semi-dried grapes. Water in the grapes evaporates,

leaving a higher concentration of sugar, so passito wines are often sweet and high in alcohol.


Tasting term used to describe an attractive,

delicate floral or fruity aroma.

Perl (Fr.)



Perlant (Fr.)



Perlwein (Ger.)

Sparkling wine,

generally of lower quality.

Petillant (Fr.)


Used on labels, and also as a tasting term to describe any wine with bubbles evident in the glass or on the tongue.


Tasting term used to describe an oily smell

which is typical of fine, aged Riesling.


Vine disease caused by an aphid which attacks the root system.

Phylloxera devastated Europes vineyards in the nineteenth century. The solution was eventually found: to graft European vines onto resistant American rootstocks. More recently, California has suffered from phylloxera, owing to the use of non-resistant rootstocks. A few privileged areas are free from phylloxera, notably much of Chile.

Pice (Fr.)

Barrel of between 205 and 225 litres,

especially in Burgundy.


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