Glossary of Wine Terms

Clusters of black grapes on the vine

“Where there is no wine, there is no love.” Euripides (c. 480 – 406 BCE) 

Either you are a sommelier (a wine steward in French), or just a simple wine lover, here are all the terms and the correct pronunciations you need to impress who’s drinking with you. Click the blue names and listen to the correct pronunciations.

Aglianico del Taburno

Aglianico del Taburno - Red wine from the province of Benevento, in the Campania region of Italy. This wine was brought to Italy by the ancient Greeks.


Aligoté - White grape used to produce dry white wines in the Burgundy region of France.


Amabile - Italian term to indicate something sweet, gentle, pleasant. In music, this word indicates notes to be played melodiously. When drinking, we are talking about a dry white wine DOC from Veneto, in Northern Italy.


Amarone - Full-bodied Italian red wine (DOCG) from the province of Verona. It is an excellent and expensive wine. Literally, amarone means "very bitter".


Armagnac - It is a kind of brandy distilled from wine, usually made from a blend of grapes. It is produced in Gascony, a region in France.


Arneis - White wine produced in Piedmont, in Italy.


Auslese - German term to indicate a category of wine made from carefully selected ripe grapes which need to be hand-picked.


Balthazar - Champagne producers have created a series of bottles of different capacities for holding the precious sparkling wine invented by the Benedictine monk Dom Pierre Pérignon. Baltahazar is the second-largest bottle, larger than a Salmanazar, but smaller than a Wannabe.  A Baltahazar contains the equivalent of 16 standard bottles: 12.3 litres.


Barbaresco - Italian wine made with the Nebbiolo grape. Barbaresco is produced in the Piedmont region.


Barbera - Italian red wine. It is produced mainly in Piemonte. For decades, Barbera has been the classic red table wine.


Barolo - Red DOCG wine produced in Piedmont. Made from the Nebbiolo grape. It is one of Italy's greatest wines.


Baumé - The Baumé scale is a system invented by French pharmacist Antoine Baumé in 1768 to measure the density of various liquids. It is very important for winemakers because it gives them an estimate of finished alcohol levels in the grapes. 

Beaujolais Nouveau

Beaujolais Nouveau - Red wine produced in the Beaujolais region of France. It is the most popular vin de primeur, sold in the same year in which it was harvested. It is fermented for just a few weeks before being released for sale on the third Thursday of November.


Beerenauslese - German word which means "hand-picked grapes".  It is used when speaking about a late harvest of very ripe grapes. The wines, produced from these ripe and sweet grapes, become excellent dessert wines.

Blanc de Blancs

Blanc de Blancs - French definition to indicate a white table wine, sometimes sparkling, made entirely from white grapes.

Blanc de noirs

Blanc de noirs - French definition to define a still or sparkling white wine that is made from red or black grapes. Also, many rosé wines are produced with red grapes. In California, for example, rosés are labelled "blanc de noirs".


Bollicine - Literally “small bubbles”, the word is used in place of “spumante”, the sparkling, fizzy wine. Do not use this term if you are trying to impress with your wine expertise.


Bonarda - Red wine from the area of Pavia. It can be dry or “amabile” (literally lovable, which means semi sweet).


Bouquet - French word to define the aromas of a wine: from the variety of grape aromas, to the aging of the wine.


Bourgogne - Wine made in the Burgundy region in France. In Bourgogne, they produce red and white wines, starting with their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards.


Breganze - Small town in Veneto famous for its red and white Italian DOC wine. They also produce a sweet passito wine.

Brunello di Montalcino

Brunello di Montalcino - Red DOCG wine produced in Toscana.  One of Italy's best-known and most expensive wines.


Brut - French word to indicate a very dry wine. Literally, it means “rough”, but also “untreated”, “pure”.

Cabernet Franc

Cabernet Franc - Red wine grape variety usually blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and others red grapes.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon - One of the world's most famous red wine grape varieties. Originally from France, it is grown in almost every wine producing area.


Cassis - French term to indicate blackcurrants, from which they produce a liqueur called crème de cassis.


Cedary - Wine testing term to indicate the smell of cedar wood in a mature wine aged in French or American oak.


Cépage - French term which translates “grape variety”.


Champagne - Sparkling wine produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France.


Chardonnay - Chardonnay is a white grape variety, from Bourgogne (France), which is now grown all over the world.

To be continued...

22 febbraio 2024
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