Wine 102: Wine Glossary E-L
This is the third edition of my Wine 102 Wine glossary pages. Please enjoy and I hope you can learn some new knowledge over the next few weeks or so. (Info collect from sources including wikipedia)
Estate Bottled: Label phrase (implying quality) meaning that the wine was produced and bottled at the winery from grapes owned (and farmed) by the winery owners. The term has lost its importance recently in the U.S. because of many relaxations of the original, rigid BATF rules. Similar European phrases are: in France – Mis En Bouteille au Domaine, Mis au Domaine, Mis en Bouteille a la Propriete, and Mis en bouteille du Chateau…in Germany – Gutsabfullung and Erzeugerabfullung.
Fermentation: Originally, “to boil without heat.” The process, carried on by yeast growth in grape juice or other sugar solutions, by which sugar is transformed into ethyl alcohol and CO2. The CO2 bubbles out of solution, giving the appearance of boiling without heat. Actually a fair amount of heat is released during fermentation. Depending on the type of wine being produced, all the sugar may be fermented into alcohol to produce a dry wine, or only a portion, creating meduim dry or sweet wines.
Fining: The act of clarifying or removing undesirable components from wine. This is usually done by adding a pure material which has the property of reacting with and removing the undesired component. The fining agent usually binds with the undesirable material and causes it to sink to the bottom of the holding container where it can be removed. The most common fining agents are activated carbon or charcoal, Bentonite, Casein, egg whites, gelatin, Isinglass, nylon, and PVPP. Some fining agents will also remove color from white wines, remove unwanted odors, and remove acids.
Lees: the sediment which settles to the bottom of the wine in a tank during processing. If primarily yeast, as from a fermentation, it is called “yeast lees;” if sediment from fining, it is called “fining lees.” In most cases the lees are separated from the wine; sometimes they are left in contact with the wine to develop more flavor. The French call this “sur lie”. This is primarily done with chardonnay and sauvignon blanc and is part of the process in making sparkling wines via Methode Champenoise since the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle.
Legs: These are the small rivulets of wine that form on the inside of the glass when you swirl it and roll down to the surface of the wine. The Spanish call them tears and the Germans “church windows.” They are a complex phenomenon related to the rate at which liquids evaporate and the difference between the surface tension of the alcohol in the wine and the rest of the liquid. Thus, higher alcohol wines produce “better” legs! We hate to break it to you but they really don’t have anything to do with how great the wine tastes.