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A vine shoot.


The classic covering -also known as crown cap or crown seal- for the stopper on wine bottles. In quality wines, the capsule used is usually made of pure tin. Also common are capsules made from tin and lead (although these are tending to disappear) or aluminium foil, plastic retractable capsules, and others known as “complex” capsules, which are made up of layers of aluminium foil or tin and plastic.


Aromas and flavours usually associated with sugars that have been altered as a result of heating. They are characteristic of wines that have had to withstand high temperatures during early production phases. They can also arise as a result of incorrectly applied thermal procedures (thermo-vinification, pasteurisation).

Caramelo de mosto

Product obtained by heating must until it becomes caramelised. It is the only authorised substance that can be used to provide colour to certain wines and to brandies.

Carbon dioxide

See Carbónico.


Wine with high levels of carbon dioxide that has not been produced naturally during fermentation, but has been added artificially.

Carbonic gas

Gas (carbon dioxide) produced in large quantities during primary or alcoholic fermentation. A finished wine may contain varying quantities of carbonic gas, which give it freshness and produce a prickling sensation on the tongue. If the origin of the gas is endogenous the wine may be a vino de aguja (slightly sparkling or pearl wine) or a vino espumoso natural (natural sparkling wine), depending on its pressure. If the gas has been added to the base wine it is known as a gasificado, or carbonated wine.

Carbonic maceration

A technique used for producing red wines, in which enzymatic fermentation takes place inside the cells of whole grapes. It is used to obtain young, soft, aromatic wines, and is the classic formula used in the production of Rioja Alavesa cosechero (young vintage) wines.


Oak barrel used to age wine. Used as an adjective (a barrica), it refers to a specific smell passed on to the wine from the wooden container in which it has been aged.


Severe clouding due to chemical causes. Blue casse originates from the insolubility of iron salts present in the wine through the reaction with other components (phosphoric acid, tannin, etc.). Other types of casse are the so-called quiebra proteica and quiebra cúprica.


Intense, volatile aroma typical of wines aged with flor. Synonym: con punta. The absence of this sensation (wine that is romo or sin punta) is a major defect.


Natural sparkling wine produced in Spain through a second fermentation that takes place in the bottle. It is made in the following regions: Catalonia, Aragón, Navarre, La Rioja, Álava and Valencia.


Term used in certain areas of Spain instead of aguardiente de orujo (marc brandy). Also, the name of the type of glass used for tasting certain fortified wines.


A light, sharp-tasting wine, typically produced in the Basque Country from unripened grapes. Its alcoholic strength may be less than 9% vol. but it must be above 7% vol.


The addition of sugar to must to enrich it. This practice was developed by the Frenchman Chaptal, and is banned in Spain.


A wine is said to have character when it makes a favourable, lively impression on the taster. The term can also be interpreted as the style or characteristic defining a wine or group of wines.


The social activity of sampling small glasses of wine in a group, moving from bar to bar, is known as chateo. See Chato.


A small, tumbler-shaped glass used for wine in Spain. It is disproportionately wider than it is tall, and has a limited volume.

Chicken coop roost

Expression used in wine tasting to define the nauseating odour some wines give off as a result of having been in contact with decomposing organic materials (lees, sediment...), in a dirty and careless production process, for an extended period of time.


French word used to refer to a winery in which the vineyards and the processing and ageing facilities are all on the same estate.


Spanish word for a very light-coloured red wine. In some areas of Castile and Leon it is the name given to locally produced rosé wines.


Wine that is transparent in appearance, has no solid matter in suspension and is well-presented. When applied to aroma and taste, it defines a wine with clear, positive sensations and without defects. It is also used to describe wines without unidentifiable odours.


Elimination by decanting of sediments present in the suspension of the must. Synonym: deburbado estático.


The meteorological phenomena characterising the atmosphere in a given point over a long period of time is fundamental to vineyard development. The climate conditions in more limited areas are known as a microclimate, referring to the lower atmospheric layers practically at plant height.


The study of climate. See Clima.


French word that refers to a wine-producing estate enclosed by a wall. Usually of monastic origin.


Used to refer to a wine in one stage of a long ageing process during which it is slightly aromatic.


Wine which is not transparent as a result of colloidal matter in suspension.


Wine with a slightly sugary taste. The term is applied to wines in which the sugar content is not very high but stands out unpleasantly.


Rough, unrefined wine of low quality.

Cold maceration

Technique used to enrich white wines with primary aromas. It consists of maintaining the must in contact with the grape skins and avoiding the start of fermentation by applying low temperatures.


Visual attribute of a wine corresponding to its radiated light reflected in the spectrum.

Colouring matter

Natural organic substances which occur in the skin of grapes and which give colour to wine.


Wine which offers a variety of sensations in its taste and bouquet as well as retronasally.


The name for an ordinary, run-of-the-mill table wine, without any outstanding qualities. Another term often used in Spanish is vino de pasto.


The name for concrete, metal or wooden containers used to store wine, generally with a capacity of 8,000-20,000 litres.


The dead cells forming the bark of some trees, especially the cork oak, is the raw material traditionally used to make cork stoppers for wine bottles. The adjective "corky" or "corked" refers to very unpleasant smells and flavours owing to the contamination of the wine with substances from the cork stopper (normally resulting from certain fungi which have contaminated the cork). The French word bouchonné is also often used.


Meaning "crown", this Spanish term refers to the one formed by the bubbles of a good sparkling wine in the glass as they reach the surface.


Wine with a nauseating smell, which has been contaminated by having been placed in poorly washed containers.


Harvest or vintage.


French term used to refer to the practice of blending wines from the same or different batches or harvests in order to combine their qualities or offset the defects of some wines with the qualities of others. Blended wine is the English term used for a mixture of wines with different characteristics which, together, create a wine that will reflect the qualities of its components.


A series of casks used to develop or age fortified wines. They are stacked in the bodega on top of each other forming what is called a pierna (leg) and are used in the process of "running the scales". The oldest wines can be found in the casks on the bottom tier, which are called soleras. A set of criaderas and soleras, which may comprise more than one pierna, is called an escala (scale). See Corrimiento de escalas.


Any DO or DOC red wine that has ben aged a minimum of 24 months, with at least six months in barrel. In the regions of Navarra, Rioja, and Ribera del Duero, that minimum barrel time is one year. All white crianza wines must be aged for one year, with at least six months in barrel.


See Pago.


Ordinary wine without any attributes and with defects.


Ordinary wine without any attributes and with defects.

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