○ Makes up 85% or more of table wines.
○ Dilutes all other components this
can be both beneficial and detrimental.
○ Normal range for table wines is 7-14.5%
○ It affects body, mouthfeel,
and storage life.
○ Wines too high in alcohol will taste "hot" and give a burning sensation.
■ Light bodied wines = 7-10%
■ Medium bodied wines = 10-12%
■ Full bodied wines = 12-14.5%
○ The amount of sugar (potential alcohol) depends on the ripeness of the grape at harvest. Amount
of sugar is measured in Degrees Brix.
■ White grapes are generally 21-24
Brix and produce 11-13%
alcohol is fermented dry.
■ Red grapes are harvested at 22-26
Brix, producing 12-14%
○ Wines have several types of organic acids, including tartaric, malic, lactric, and citric.
○ They contribute to crispness, structure, and balance.
■ Low acidity flabby,
■ Correct acidity crisp,
fresh, lively taste
■ Excess acidity green,
harsh, sour taste
4) Sugar (sweetness)
○ Wines with less than 0.4% sugar are technically dry.
○ Residual sugar balances high acidity.
○ Wines with high acidity can appear dry to the taste even though they have residual sugar.
○ From the grape skin.
○ Provide the color in red wine.
○ From the grape skin.
○ Provide structure and aging potential. Can cause a mouth drying sensation and bitterness.
○ From the grape skin.
○ Antioxidant in wine believed to be effective in lowering cholesterol levels.
○ The phenols compounds in wine include a large group of several hundred chemical
compounds, known as polyphenols, that affect the taste, color and mouthfeel of wine.
This large group can be broadly separated into two categories, flavonoids
Flavonoids include anthocyanins and tannins which contribute to the color
and mouthfeel of the wine. Nonflavonoids
include stilbenes such as resveratrol and
compounds derived from acids in wine like benzoic, caffeic and cinnamic acid. In wine
grapes, phenolics are found widely in the skin, stems and seeds. In winemaking, the
process of maceration or "skin contact" is used to increase the influence of phenols in
wine. Phenolic acids are found in the pulp or juice of the wine and can be commonly
found in white wines which usually doesn't go through a maceration period. The
process of oak aging can also introduce phenolic compounds to wine, most notably in
the form of vanillin which adds vanilla aroma to wines.
11) Undesirable elements
We evaluate wines by:
○ Appearance (brilliant, clear, dull, cloudy, precipitated)
■ White wines pale
yellow/green, light yellow/straw, medium yellow, light gold,
medium gold, amber to brown (means possible defect)
■ Red wines purplered
(young immature); rubygarnet
red (youthful); brick red/rusty
edges (mature); tawny/brown edges (declining); brown/muddy (over the hill).
○ Aroma = the fragrance associated with the grape variety
○ Bouquet = fragrances developed in the wine making and aging process (ie, wood influences,
esters during fermentation, barrel and bottle aging.
○ We taste four things: sweet, sour, bitter, salt (only the first three apply to wine tasting).
○ Progression of taste recognition on the palate:
1. Fruitiness (sweetness)
2. Acidity (sourness)
○ Components of taste:
● Flat = low acidity. Soft and mellow can also describe low acidity.
● Tart = wines with a pleasing freshness and balance
● Green, acidulous, or unripe = unbalanced wines because of excessive acid
● Dry = less than 0.4% residual sugar
● Low Sugar = 0.4%-4%
● Medium Sugar = 4%-10%
● High Sugar = more than 10% sugar
■ Body or extract: The nonsugar
solids are referred to as body. Body is not primarily
detected by taste but rather by receptors sensitive to viscosity. Both alcohol and glycerol
influence the viscosity. Basically, body is the "feel" of the wine as it is swished in the
● Light body or thin = wines with less than 2.0g/100mL extract. Related terms are
unbalanced or unharmonic.
● Medium body = extract content 2.13g/
● Heavy body, rich, robust, full, or round = more than 3g/100mL extract.
■ Bitterness or Astringency (A wine impresses the palate as being smooth, rough, puckery,
or bitter depending upon its tannin content and the type of tannins present. Alcohol,
body, acidity, and particularly sugar have modifying effects upon the impression made
by the tannin. As a wine ages, the degree of astringency decreases because of the
oxidation and precipitation of the tannin substances.)
● Smooth or soft = low astringency
● Slightly rough to very rough = terms used to describe increasing degrees of
● Weak = dry table wines low in alcoholic content
● Strong, alcoholic, heady = generous or excessive alcoholic content.
● Young = fresh, without yeastiness, nor pronounced bouquet
● Mature = possessing balanced bouquet and ready for bottling
● Aged = wines possessing bottle bouquet
■ Other flavor descriptors:
● Fruity = describes the fresh, tart, generally pleasant fruitlike
young wines. Wines lacking fruitiness are described as flat,
uninteresting, overworked, or tired.
● Stemmy = describes the flavor of wines that have been fermented too long in the
presence of stems.
● Gassy = wines containing dissolved carbon dioxide are recognized by the
slightly biting sensation on the palate. When warmed, such wines will tend to
liberate small bubbles of gas.
● Metallic = impression of copper or zinc on the palate
● Bacterial = spoiled wines, in which it is not possible to identify mousiness,
butyric acid, ethyl acetate, or acetic acid may be generally described as
● Fresh = describes a fruity, tart, young wine. Antithesis of tired or overworked.
● Clean = a wine that is free of bacterial and processing defects.
● Tired = describe the impression made by wines which have been excessively
processed in the cellar. Such wines usually show lack of freshness, fruitiness,
● Yeasty = wines containing materials which have a flavor or smell of yeast are
described as yeasty.
= when the many odor and flavor substances of wines are present
in quantities such that the concerted impression is pleasant, the wine is
described as balanced.
● Unbalanced = excessive amounts of one constituent or another cause
disharmony or palate impression, and wines so constituted are described as
● Burnt = describes the burned sugar or cooked grape juice taste and odor. When
burned concentrate or overheated
wines are used to sweeten other wines, the
unpleasant flavors frequently become very objectionable in the wine.
● Rubbery = an unpleasant smell and taste associated with high pH dessert wines,
and reminiscent of old rubber.
● Nutty or Nutlike
= describe the desirable odor and taste or appetizer and dessert
wines and particularly well processed Sherries.
● Foxy = the aroma and taste traditionally found in wines made from Concord or
other Labrusca grapes. The smell is due to methyl anthranilate.
● Gewurtztraminer spicy,
geranium, honeysuckle, cinnamon, ginger, grapefruit, apricot, lemon, banana,
orange, peach, melon, pineapple, apple, lychee fruit, roses
● Sauvignon Blanc Grassy,
herbaceous, bell pepper, gun metal powder, green olive, black pepper,
grapefruit, fig (often attributed to Semillon blend)
toasty, vanilla, lemon, sweet clove, buttery or creamy, figs, melons, coconuts, tea,
pear, flinty. Aged Chardonnays Peach,
pineapple, sage, honey
● White Riesling Fruity,
apricot, peach, green apples, floral, lemon, tropical lushness. Botrytised
● Chenin Blanc Fruity,
melon, bananas, apples (dry Chenin Blancs), citrus, celery,
● Merlot Herbaceous,
tea, floral, violet, bell pepper, black pepper, cassis, peppermint, cedar, chocolate,
wild cherry, cigar box, roses, pipe tobacco
● Pinot noir Texturally,
the wine has been called velvety. Toast coffee, earthy, tar, pepper, leathery,
mushrooms, chocolate, berries, pomegranate, caramelized sugar, ripe cherries, wild violets, strawberries.
● Cabernet Sauvignon Herbaceous,
tea, green olives, currants, bell pepper, spicy. Smells more
reminiscent of leaves and stalks than of fruits and flowers.
● Zinfandel Blackberry,
raspberry, jammy, briary, herbaceous, eucalyptus, mint, leather, cedar, dark
chocolate, cherries, black pepper, raisins.
White: (~10% production)
o Golden color, elegant, rich
o Often blended with Sauvignon Blanc to produce lively, dry white wines
-Sauvignon Blanc (44%)
o Light color, fresh acidity, aromatic complexity (broom, citrust)
o For crisp, refreshing and aromatic wines
o Powerful aromas (floral and muscat), discrete acidity, round
o Is almost always used in blends with Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon
Red (~90% production)
---softness and suppleness; 69,000 hectares
-Cabernet Sauvignon (23%)
----giving vigor, tannin and long life; 29,000 hectares
---for vigor and tannin
1. California wines have a brand or producer name that is a name chosen by the bottler, the
brand/producer name can reflect a region or a family name
2. California wine names can be varietal, generic, or proprietary and indicate the type of wine
Wines with varietal names must contain a minimum of 75% of the grape named on the label
Generic names can indicate a place name from a famous region elsewhere, or a famous wine style
Proprietary names are made up names that have no real meaning beyond differentiating the specific wine
3. California wines have a place of origin and can be the state of California, a county name, or an AVA
4. California wines have a vintage, which is the year the grapes are grown.
● For AVAs, 95% of the grapes must be of stated vintage
● For county, state, multicounty,
85% of the grapes must be from that year
5. California wine labels can list an individual vineyard, then 95% of the grapes minimum must come from
6. California wines designed as table wine aren't required to show alcohol content, which is between 714%.
Wines with alcohol levels higher than 14% are required to show alcohol content.
7. Sulfur dioxide has been used for centuries as a preservative in virtually all wines, but Federal law
requires a label statement that "wine contains sulfites"
● Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir
● White: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc
● Italian: Sangiovese, Nebbiolo, Barbera
● Rhone: Viognier, Mourvedre, Grenache, Syrah
White (Bordeaux Blanc)—Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon (15% of production)
• Lemon, grapefruit, tropical fruit, box hedge, acacia
• To be drunk young
• Good aging potential
o Pessac-Leognan (AOC since 1987)
• Apricot, peach, tropical fruit, quince, orange peel, honey
o Sauternes—85% Semillon, 10% Sauvignon, 5% Muscadelle; two years in oak
Red—Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot
• Left Bank—high percent of Cabernet: blackcurrant, blackberry, green pepper, spice
• Right Bank—high percent of Merlot: red fruits, cherry, violets, truffle, licorice
• Strawberry raspberry, cherry, isis
Located near the Atlantic coast in southwest France, about 300 miles from Paris and precisely on the 45th parralel, Bordeaux enjoys a temperate coastal climate as a region geographically dominated by its rivers, the Garonne and the Dordogne, which meet to become the broad Gironde. The interaction of the climate with the different types of site (slope, orientation, general topography) existing in the Bordeaux wine region produces the great number of highly localized micro-climates found in the Gironde. These micro-climates, together with the different nature of the soils, combine to form particular environments for the vine, which covere a limited area and are know as terroirs.
• The gulf stream that warms the temperature and influences the climate
• The pine forest that acts as a protective barrier against Atlantic storms
• Warm sunny summers
• Beautiful autumns and mild winters (rare frosts)
Diversity of the Soils
• Gravel—left bank; absorbs heat; encourages grapes to ripen, good for Cabernet
• Limestone—right bank; relatively warm ideal for Cabernet Franc
• Clay—right bank; relatively cool and humid; ideal for Merlot
• Coloure (berry failure due to the shattering of the flower), caused by:
o Spring frosts during the flowering of the vines (as in 1991)
o Cold rains at time of pollination
• Hail, which, right up to the time of the harvest can cause serious damage to the vine
Sweet White Wines—Where does Noble Rot Come From?
• Sunny summers and autumns
• Proximity of water (Ciron)
• Morning mists encourage noble rot drying out of the berries by Botrytis Cinerea
Producer made wines can be identified by these terms on the label:
• Mis en bouteille au domaine
• Mis au domaine
• Mis en boutielle a la propriete
Negociant wines can be identified by the terms:
• Mis en bouteille par (bottled by the firm)
• Mis en bouteille dans nos caves (bottled in our cellars)
Some good producers to look for:
• Chablis: William Fevre, Henri Laroche, Pascal Bouchard, Moureau, Vocoret
• Cote de Beaune: Domaine Bachlet-Ramonet, Domaine Ramonet-Prudhon, Bonneau du Martray, Domaine de la Pousse d'Or
• Cote de Nuits: Daniel Rion, Jean Grivot, Armand Rosseau, Mongeard-Mugneret, Domaine Georges Mugneret
Bargains in Burgundy; Lesser known areas to look for:
• Cote Chalonnaise: Rully, Mercurey, Givry, Montagny
• Cote Maconnais: Macon Villages, St. Veran, Pouilly Fuisse
NYS grows 60% Labrusca, 25% Hybrid, and 15% Vinifera varieties
o Vitis Labrusca: Native varieties that are processed into jellys, juice, sweet wines, and wine
coolers. Known for their simple, "grapey" or "foxy" taste. Examples include Niagara (cross of
Concord and Cassidy grapes), Delaware, Concord, and Catawba grape varieties.
o Hybrids: Usually a cross between Vinifera and phylloxeraresistant
vines, developed in the
1800s to replace phylloxeradevastated
vineyards. Very Successful in NYS. Examples include:
▪ White hybrids (successful in Finger Lakes): Seyval Blanc, Vidal Blanc, Ravat Blanc,
▪ Red hybrids (generally less succesful): Chancellor, Baco Noir, Foch, De Chaunac
o Vinifera: Some of world's greatest wines difficult
in upstate because of cold (Ripening, winter
▪ White Vinifera More
successful than reds in Upstate: Riesling, Chardonnay
▪ Red Vinifera More
successful in Long Island: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet
Franc, Pinot Noir
Five distinct New York Wine Regions
o Finger Lakes: produces 85% of NYS wines, 107 Wineries.
▪ Have slatey soil, a coldcool
climate, but Finger Lakes act as a "buffer" in fall, winter,
and spring and benefit vines that grow close to the lake. Slopes also allow draining of
cold air, preventing frost damage. Growing season is 190205
▪ Known for NYS table wines, Riesling, and sparkling wine grapes
o Long Island: 54 Wineries, mainly on North Fork
▪ Has sandy soil, a maritime climate, the warmest NYS growing region because it is
surrounded by water on three sides (Atlantic, LI Sound, Peconic Bay). Growing seasons
days, allows red varieties to ripen
▪ Major focus is vinifera varieties: Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Red blends
o Hudson Valley: 34 Wineries
▪ Cool climate tempered by the Hudson River (like Finger Lakes). Valley draws maritime
air from the Atlantic Ocean, growing season 180 196
▪ Major focus is on White Hybrids: Seyval Blanc
o Lake Erie: 13 Wineries in NYS section of Lake Erie
▪ Cool, short growing season tempered by Lake Erie, grapes have lower natural sugar and
a high acidity. Growing season 173200
▪ Major focus is labrusca varieties and grape juice production
o Niagara Escarpment
▪ A relatively new region with 4 wineries and 400 acres