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Food and Wine Dictionary

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Blue text or background indicates a wine entry.


Unless otherwise specified, wine refers to the naturally fermented juice of grapes. More broadly, the term can include alcoholic beverages created from other fruits and even vegetables. Wine has a rich history that has evolved along with that of humankind. Its historical roots reach back almost 12,000 years. As various cultures spread out into new parts of the world, so did the grapevine and the art of winemaking. Today there are vineyards throughout the world with good wine being produced in far-ranging locations from the United States to South Africa to Australia to South America to Europe. Wine is broadly classified in the following categories: 1. still (nonsparkling) wines — including red, white and rosé — which can be DRY (nonsweet), semisweet and sweet; 2. sparkling wines, including French CHAMPAGNES as well as effervescent wines from other parts of the world; 3. fortified wines (see  listing), such as SHERRY and PORT, which have been augmented with a dose of BRANDY or other spirit; and 4. aromatic wines, such as VERMOUTH, which have been flavored with ingredients like herbs or spices. Vintage wine is that which is made with 95 percent of the grapes harvested in a specific year; the year or "vintage" is indicated on the wine label. Nonvintage wine is made from the juice of grapes harvested from several years; there's no year noted on the label of such wine. BLUSH WINES are made with red grapes, but the juice has had a very brief contact with the grape skins, which produces pale pink wines. Wine storage locations should be dark, vibration free and at an even temperature. The ideal temperature is 55°F, however, anywhere from 45° to 70°F is acceptable, providing the temperature is consistent. The higher the temperature, the faster a wine will age. Wine bottles should be stored on their sides to prevent the cork from drying and shrinking, which would allow air to enter the bottle and disrupt the wine's flavor. Serving temperatures: White wine should be served at a range of between 50° and 55°F; red wine at around 65°F. Refrigerating white wine for more than 2 hours before serving can dull its flavor and aroma. Avoid drips when pouring wine by giving the bottle a slight twist just as you finish pouring. See also  ACETIC ACID; ALSATIAN WINES; APPELLATION; ASTI SPUMANTE; AUSLESE; BARDOLINO; BAROLO; BEAUJOLAIS; BEERENAUSLESE; BLANC DE BLANCS; BLANC DE NOIRS; BOTRYTIS CINEREA; BOUQUET; BURGUNDY; BYRRH; CABERNET FRANC; CABERNET SAUVIGNON; CHABLIS; CHARDONNAY; CHÂTEAU-BOTTLED; CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE; CHENIN BLANC; CHIANTI; CLARET; COGNAC; COLD DUCK; COOKING WINE; CORKAGE; CORKSCREW; CÔTES DU RHÔNE; DECANT; DECANTER; DELAWARE GRAPE; DEMI-SEC; DESSERT WINE; DOSAGE; DUBONNET; ENOLOGY; FINING; FINO; FORTIFIED WINE; FRENCH COLOMBARD; GEWÜRZTRAMINER; GRAVES; KIR; LAMBRUSCO; LATE HARVEST; LEES; LIEBFRAUMILCH; LILLET; MADEIRA; MALIC ACID; MANZANILLA; MARC; MARSALA; MAY WINE; MERLOT; MIRIN; MULLED WINE; MUSCADET; MUSCADINE GRAPE; MUSCAT GRAPE; MUSCATEL WINE; MUST; NIAGARA GRAPE; OLOROSO; PASTEURIZATION; PETITE SIRAH; PINOT BLANC; PINOT CHARDONNAY; PINOT NOIR; RAPE; RETSINA; RHÔNE WINES; RICE WINE; ROSÉ WINES; SAKE; SANGRÍA; SAUTERNES; SAUVIGNON BLANC; SEC; SEDIMENT; SEMILLON; SOMMELIER; SPÄTLESE; SPRITZER; SPUMANTE; SYLVANER; TANNIN; TARTARIC ACID; TOKAY GRAPE; TROCKENBEERENAUSLESE; VALPOLICELLA; VARIETAL WINE; VIN; VINTAGE; VITICULTURE; VOUVRAY; WINE BOTTLES; YEAST; ZINFANDEL.

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Material adapted from the The New Food Lover's Companion

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on
THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

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