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At J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, we are continually striving to make your wine experience as fun and engaging as possible. We believe that wine should be friendly and accessible, and, as part of this philosophy, we’ve put together a glossary of wine terminology to help demystify the wine experience. We hope that this glossary will explain some of the more technical wine lingo, as well as illuminate the winemaking (and wine tasting) process, and, in turn, help you enjoy our wines even more.
Aftertaste: See “Finish” below
American Viticulture Area (AVA): A particular winegrowing region that has distinctive geographical features, such as Arroyo Seco, Paso Robles, or Napa. Applications are submitted to and approved by the TTB.
Appellation: See above (AVA).
Balance: Balance occurs when there is harmony among all of the desirable elements in a wine: acidity, fruit and, where appropriate, tannins. A well-balanced wine has all of these elements in proper proportion.
Clone: Within a given varietal (ie. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, etc.) there are often many clonal options that can be grown. Different clones of an individual varietal can highlight unique flavors or aromas, or may be particularly suited to specific soils or climates.
Fruit: A term used to describe the aroma and flavor of a wine. Wine rarely ever tastes like grapes. Rather, the taste of a particular wine can often be described in terms of other fruit, such as apple, black currant, cherry, citrus, pear, peach, raspberry, strawberry, etc.
Oak: The aroma and flavor that result from aging wine in oak casks or barrels. Time in new oak can give wine a heavily toasted, vanilla aroma and flavor, while older oak barrels impart a more delicate and subtle flavor. Oak softens, rounds out and builds the body of a wine.
Sur lie: A French term meaning “on the lees,” this term refers to the winemaking practice of leaving wine – usually white wine – in contact with the lees after fermentation, which adds flavor, body and complexity.
Tannin: A naturally occurring component found in the skins, seeds, and stems of grapes. Tannins (which are most prominent in red wines) impart an astringency when the wine is young, but resolve into delicious and complex elements when the wine is cellared under appropriate temperature conditions (55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit).
Yeast: The microorganism responsible for fermentation by converting the grapes’ sugar into alcohol. Yeasts can be cultured or indigenous (wild). J. Lohr commonly uses a dozen different yeast strains in fermentation.