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07 Apr 2020
Posted by Wade

Wine speak made easy…Part 2

SIPPING WINE IS EASY, SPEAKING WINE, NOT SO MUCH.

In the first instalment, we looked at the most common wine varietals and styles out there. Today, let’s look at some lesser-known ones, as well as some other wine terms you’re bound to come across. Read on, then tell your friends you learnt a new language while on lock down…

Blush

A wine made from red grapes which appears pink or salmon in colour. This is because the grape skins were removed from the fermenting juice before more colour could be imparted; more commonly referred to as Rosé (pronounced ‘Rose-ay’).

Bordeaux-style blends

Pronounced ‘Bored-Oh’, there is nothing boring about these wines. Named after a famous wine region in France well-loved for their red and white blends, our homegrown examples are some of the finest. Consisting of a blend of two or more grapes that originate from the Bordeaux region, the beauty of a blend is that you generally get the best qualities of each grape, rounded out by the others to create something greater than the sum of its parts.

Claret

Pronounced, “clar-it’, this is the English name for red Bordeaux wine. Presumably, the English never had this handy guide and were intimidated by the French pronunciation.

Cru

Pronounced ‘crew’, this is a French term for ranking a wine’s inherent quality. ‘Grand Cru’ is a title awarded to the very best vineyards in France.

Fortified Wine

This is a wine that has had brandy added during fermentation. The sugars and sweetness are higher as a result.

 Gewürztraminer

Pronounced ‘Ga-vertz-tra-meena’, this is a sweet and spicy white grape popular in eastern France, Germany, Austria, northern Italy, and California. It’s catching on here too.

Haut

Pronounced, ‘Hoat’, this is a French word meaning ‘high’. It applies to quality as well as the altitude of a vineyard.

Late Harvest

A term used to describe dessert wines made from grapes left on the vines for an extra long period, often until botrytis has set in (a friendly fungus that shrivels grapes and intensifies their flavour and sweetness). See also, ‘Noble Rot’.

Magnum

A bottle equal to two regular 750ml bottles.

Malbec

Pronounced, ‘Mel-beck’, this is a hearty red grape of French origin, growing in popularity here in Mzansi.

Nebbiolo

‘Nebby-oh-low’ is a red grape popular in the Piedmont region of northwest Italy. The handful of examples in South Africa are well worth checking out.

Négociant

Pronounced, “’Neh-go-see-ahn’ – a French term for a person that buys wines from others and then labels it under his or her own name; stemming from the French word for ‘merchant’.

Noble rot

Nicer than it sounds, this refers to the process of letting grapes age and shrivel on the vine – concentrating the sugars so that top quality sweet wines can be made from them. See also, ‘Late Harvest’.

Oxidized

A wine that is no longer fresh because it’s been exposed to too much air.

Varietal

Pronounced ‘Vah-ry-it-el’ – a wine made from just one grape type and named after that grape – the opposite of a blend.

Vintage

The particular year the grapes were harvested in order to make a certain wine.

The Wade Bales Wine Club

If you’d enjoy receiving 6 wines every month – tailored to your taste and budget – this is the Wine Club for you. Simply tell us what kind of wine you like, at what price, and we’ll do the rest. You’ll get wine at better-than-cellar-door prices, delivered to your door, with no strings attached. No complex contracts or fine print, and if you don’t like a particular wine, we’ll gladly replace it, free of charge.