The process of perceiving smells. In order to smell things—that is, in order for olfaction to occur—humans use two separate sensory areas. The first is the nasal cavity. Aromas smelled via the nose are said… Continue reading

Organic Viticulture

In general, organic viticulture eschews the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides in the vineyard. However, the practices, standards, and certifications for organic viticulture differ country to country and sometimes state to state. Additionally,… Continue reading


Designation which indicates the wine comes from a good but not great vineyard—roughly the equivalent of a Burgundian “village wine.” The designation used by the 200 plus members of the VDP.


The process of exposing wine to air, which changes it. A little oxidation can be positive; it can help to soften and open up a wine, for example. Too much exposure to air, however, is… Continue reading


A descriptive term for the toasty, woody, and vanilla smells and flavors contributed to wine during its FERMENTATION and/or AGING in oak barrels. The newer the oak barrel, the greater the potential for the wine… Continue reading


The panoply of smells that may emanate from a wine. These include a whole range of fruits and berries (apple, lemon, peach, apricot, cherry, raspberry, cranberry, plum, and so on); plus flowers (honeysuckle, rose, violet,… Continue reading


Scale used in Germany to indicate the ripeness of grapes. Developed in the nineteenth century by the physicist Ferdinand Oechsle, Oechsle measures the weight of the grape juice or MUST. Since the contents of the… Continue reading

Oeil de Perdrix

Literally “partridge eye,” oeil de perdrix is the term used to describe the color of a pale rosé.



Off Odors

Unpleasant smells (chemicals, dankness, moldiness, rotten eggs, burnt rubber, sauerkraut, and so on) that suggest that the wine was stored in unclean containers or poorly made.


Ever so slightly sweet. In the U.S., there is, however, no legally defined amount of sugar a wine must have to be considered off-dry.


A vine disease also known as powdery mildew.