Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Italian Wine Glossary

With the coming month consisting of a great deal of Italian wine information, we decided to provide a list of terms that could be found on wine labels and literature.  Some terms you may know and some may clarify a few things. Salut!
Abboccato - Lightly Sweet
Alcool - Alcohol, usually stated by % of volume
Amabile - Semi-Sweet
Annata - Vintage year
Azienda agricola or agraria or vitivinicola - Farm or estate which produces all or most of the grapes for wine sold under its labels
Bianco - White
Botte - Cask or barrel
Bottiglia - Bottle
Brut - Dry (sparkling wine)
Cantina - Cellar or winery
Cantina Sociale - Cooperative winery
Casa Vinicola - Wine house or merchant (commerciante) whose bottlings come mainly from purchased grapes or wines
Cascina - Farmhouse, often used for estate
Cerasuolo - Cherry-hued rosé
Chiaretto - Deep Rosé
Classico - The historix core of a DOC zone
Consorzio - Consortium of producers
Dolce - Sweet
Enoteca - Literally wine library, referring to both publicly sponsored displays and privately owned shops
Enologo - Enologist with a university dgeree; enotecnico is a winemakinf techinician with a diploma
Ettaro - Hectare (2.471 acres) the standard measure of vineyard surface in Italy
Ettolitro - Hectoliter, or 100 liters, the standard measure of wine volume in Italy
Eitchetta - Label
Fattoria - Farm or estate
Frizzante or Frizzantino - Fizzy or faintly fizzy
Imbottiglia - Bottled (all'origine implies at the source)
Invecchiato - Aged
Liquoroso - Strong wine, sometimes fortified but usually of naturally high alcoholic grade
Maso - A holding, often referring to a vineyard or estate
Masseria - Farm or estate
Metodo Charmat - Sparkling wine made by the sealed tank method
Metodo classico or tradizionale - Terms for sparkling wine made by the bottle fermentation method, replacing the terms champenois or champenoise, which can no longer be used in Italy
Millesimato - Vintage dated sparkling wine
Passito or Passita - Partially fried grapes and the strong, usually sweet wines made from them
Podere - Small farm or estate
Produttore - Producer
Recioto - Wine made from partially dried grapes, often sweet and strong
Riserva - Reserve, for DOC or DOCG wine aged a specific time
Rosato - Rosé
Scelto - Selected, term used for certain DOC wines. Auslese in German (Alto Adige)
Secco - Dry
Semisecco - Medium sweet, usually in sparkling wine
Spumante - Sparkling in dry or sweet wines
Superiore - Denotes DOC wine that meets standards above the norm (higher alcohol, longer aging, a special subzone), though conditions vary
Tenuta - Farm or estate
Uva - Grape
Vecchio - Old, to describe aged DOC wines; Stravecchio, very old, applies to the longest aged Marsala and to some spirits
Vendemmia - Harvest or vintage. Vendemmia tardiva or late harvest defines wines from grapes left to ripen fully on the vine
Vigna or vigneto - Vineyard. Vigna may be used under DOC/DOCG for approved single vineyard wines
Vignaiolo/Viticoltore - Terms for grape grower
Vina da tavola - Table wine, applies loosely to most non-DOCs
Vino novello - New wine, usually red, that mest be bottled and sold within the year of harvest
Vitigno - Vine or grape variety
Vivace - Lively, as in lightly bubbly wines

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  1. Being Italian immigrants, we make our own wine and for us the wine making season is next month.

  2. Thanks for sharing! We'll definitely check out your blog