17 basic concepts to handle yourself in the world of wine without complexes

In this section we are clear about the vocation of service and that is why we usually write in the common vocabulary that we can all use in our meetings with family or friends, beyond the one we handle in the professional tastings we attend to taste new wines and be capable to recommend them.

Seven concepts to walk through the world of wine and not look like a redneck

Seven concepts to walk through the world of wine and not look like a redneck

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Now it is also interesting learn certain concepts that are sometimes necessary to describe the wines we select, from acidity or aromas, through production processes and techniques, to certain components that give them that unique character.

That is why today we get together, hand in hand, with Eusebio Pérez-Pastor, oenologist, Master of Wine and Trainer specialized in Oenology, Wines and Gastronomy, to narrow down the fundamental definitions to understand what we mean by the following basic mini-dictionary.

About the aroma


When we talk about acidity we should not take it as something negative, such as heartburn, but rather it is a quality that comes directly from the must of the grape variety itself. Acidity, in most wines, contributes to increasing the sensation of freshness and, therefore, quality, which is why it is an increasingly appreciated factor.

Primary scents

They are the aromas that come exclusively from the variety, that is, the grapes already have these fruit, floral and vegetable aromas, they are not produced later. They are the easiest to detect and are especially present in young wines. We can find pink, violet, orange blossom, red fruits, wild fruits, black fruits, green pepper, pepper, thyme or rosemary.

Secondary aromas

They are those that are produced during fermentation, they are marked by the ripeness and the sugar of the grapes and are usually lactic, such as yogurt, butter, cheese; and also related to yeasts that remind us of bread, flour dough to make bread, sponge cake, brioche, caramel or honey.

Tertiary scents

They come from aging, either in the oxidative phase in barrels or during the reduction phase in the bottle in the absence of oxygen. The type of wood, and its origin, that the winemaker chooses for the barrel will greatly influence the aromatic palette of each wine. Toasted, candied and spicy aromas emerge, among which we find wood, coffee, liquorice, vanilla, caramel, tobacco, smoke, cinnamon, coconut, nuts and even leather.

Bouquet or bouquet

It refers to that fragrance composed of the aforementioned tertiary aromas, caused by its aging or aging in the bottle.


Used coupage (or blend in some countries) when the winemaker has mixed different percentages of various grapes to improve the final result. Several musts can be mixed to assemble the wine afterwards, but the most common is to combine the wines already made separately at the time of bottling them so that they have the most interesting characteristics of each variety and are well balanced.


Alcoholic fermentation

Thanks to the action of yeasts, the sugars in the grapes are transformed into alcohol and carbon dioxide.

Malolactic fermentation

It is the second fermentation and it is essential because wines, naturally, after alcoholic fermentation, produce malic acid (which is sour), and, in this malolactic acid, lactic acid bacteria transform it into lactic acid, which is another acid. soft, bearable and pleasant.

All about aging on lees

Lees are composed of microorganisms (such as yeasts that carry out alcoholic fermentation or certain bacteria) that go through a decomposition process called autolysis. This leaves at the bottom of the fermentation tank or the barrel some compounds that, thanks to the contribution of proteins that are inherent to the yeasts, notably improve the young whites. As? Softening them, stabilizing them, enriching them with aromas, persistence on the palate and smoothness. In other words, aging on lees makes white wines more gastronomically versatile.

  • Batonnage: as the lees tend to stay at the bottom of the barrel, it is necessary to stir them with a stick in circles so that they are evenly distributed throughout the wine.
  • Traced: the aim is to ensure that the compounds of the lees circulate as with batonnage but in tanks (usually made of stainless steel) in whose lower gate the wine is sucked and poured again through the upper gate. In cement eggs, this circulation works naturally, as they are oval.

From maceration to a passion for the terroir

Skin maceration

It is the process during which the must remains in contact with the skins or skins of the grape, which confers other totally different characteristics in color, aromas and flavors to the wine. From there come the blanc de noirs (white of red grapes), the orange or skincontact, etc.

Carbonic maceration

It is considered an ancestral way of elaboration very characteristic of Riojan harvesters, who, traditionally, left the grapes in large rafts, in such a way that the wine was “made” inside the grape granites. What happens is an enzymatic fermentation that gives the wine extraordinary fruity aromas (when tasted, they are reminiscent of sweets). The counterpart is that they tend to have a short life, after a year they lose their freshness and grace.


They are polyphenols, that is, a chemical substance that is found in the skins, seeds and scrapes of the bunches of grapes, although they can also be produced by the wooden staves with which the barrels are built. They bring many qualities to wines, but if they are not well balanced, in reds they can cause an astringent flavor, which remains variegated on the tongue and palate.

Terroir or terroir

It refers to the vineyard or the wine-growing area where the vineyards are located with common characteristics that give their wines a clearly identifiable character or personality in a blind tasting. In a Denomination of Origin or Protected Geographical Indication there may be different terroirs according to their location, altitude, climatology, orography and other influencing factors.

The terroir is what sets the trend of today’s wines, when, according to the winemaker, “there is an obsessive search for the character of the wine to express the landscape: the terroir is culture, will, knowledge do and the soul of those who cultivate it. ”


The vineyard is a “man orchestra of the vineyard”, a hybrid between viticulturist, winemaker, oenologist and artist who is committed to independent projects in which he usually deals with the entire process: from planting and harvesting, to the oenological perfection of each one of their wines, through the distribution in the market of their productions, generally very measured.

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