Viscosity is the character some wines possess of being somewhat syrupy and slow to move around in the mouth. Honey, for example, is more viscous than water, and alcohol, by its nature, is viscous. Thus, both sweet wines and wines with high alcohol are more viscous than dry wines and wines low in alcohol.
Chewy is a term that describes mouth-filling, full-bodied wines that are viscous enough to seem almost chewable. Certain grape varieties, such as zinfandel produced in very warm areas, often take on a chewy character.
A knob-like bulge on a wine glass’ stem. Wineglasses commonly had them from the 15th to the late 18th centuries. Knops came in many different sizes and shapes, and sometimes colors. Hollow or solid, there could be any number of knops on a glass, with intermediate spacing between them—handy spaces for one’s fingers.
A capsule is the molded plastic, bimetal, or aluminum sheath that fits over the cork and top part of the neck of a wine bottle. Historically, capsules were made of lead to keep animals and bugs away from the cork. However, in the 1990s, lead was banned because of potential health risks.
The difference in temperature from the coolest point in the morning to the warmest point in the afternoon. A large difference between these two temperatures is ideal for wine growing regions as it allows the sugars to ripen during the heat of the day while the natural acids are preserved thanks to the coolness of the night. In regions such as central Spain, Napa Valley, California, and Mendoza, Argentina, the daily diurnal temperature fluctuation can be as much as 30 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Meaning “muzzle” in English, a muselet (pronounced MOOSE-eh-lay) is the wire cage that holds a Champagne or sparkling wine cork firmly in place on the neck of the bottle. The muzzle is important when it comes to safety. Even though most people quickly remove it first, the muselet should actually not be removed before the cork is eased out. Rather, it should be removed with the cork at the same time.
A Certified California Sustainable winery or vineyard must satisfy 95 eco-friendly criteria including, energy and water conservation, wildlife habitat protection, natural pest management, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and avoid pesticides and herbicides. Currently, there are a total of 132 California wineries and over 1,160 vineyards who have earned this logo.
The word crémant is used to describe a French sparkling wine that is made outside the Champagne district but made according to the Champagne method of secondary (bubble-causing) fermentation inside each individual bottle. Crémants come from all over France; some of the best known include Crémant d’Alsace, Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant de Loire, and Crémant de Limoux. Crémants are rarely as expensive as Champagne. In summer, chilled cold, they are refreshing and fun.
Most vines are composed of two parts: the part above ground, the scion (SIGH-on) and the part that’s mostly below ground, the rootstock. The scion is grafted onto the rootstock. The scion is a particular grape variety. So a scion could be cabernet sauvignon or chardonnay or a thousand other varieties, for example.
Veraison (ver-AY-zhun) is happening right now all over California. It’s the time in a vine’s growing cycle when grape berries begin to soften and change color. “White” grapes go from green to yellowish, and red grapes go from green to dark red or purple. Veraison is important to winemakers because it signals the onset of final ripening before harvest.