Alto Adige Wine Road / Wine Glossary



Is the product of the alcoholic fermentation of sugar (fructose and glucose) by yeast. The reaction of yeast upon sugar results in its conversion to ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide. Alcohol can be sensed as a warming feeling at the rear of the pharyngeal cavity.


One of the scent elements of a wine. Often associated with the grape variety. You can speak of a complex wine if the aroma is very varied. Aromas can be very different from each other:
Fruity aromas (stone-fruit, pip fruit and berry fruit, jam, boiled fruit,...)
Floral aromas (elder, violets,...) Vegetal aromas (ivy, grass, ...)
Animal-like aromas (leather, fur, stable scents, ....)
Spicy aromas (herbs like pepper, cloves, liquorice, ...)
Lactic notes (butter, cheese rind, yoghurt, ...)
Mineralic notes (petrol character, flintstone,....)
Chemical notes (varnish, medical characteristics, ...)
The best way to learn how to distinguish different aromas is to experience the world with an "open" nose - try to smell things more intensively and to recognize various scents.


The lingering or duration of a wine's taste in the mouth after the wines has been swallowed. Only comfortable sensations are considered. A lengthy persistence of flavour may be taken as a sign of quality.


The stringent effect on the palate of a wine containing a high amount of tannins. Tannins are often found in grape skins, pips and stalks.The sensorial effect corresponds to the taste of an immature persimmon or other immature fruits.


Refers to a component of taste naturally occurring in grapes. It becomes an import factor in the wine's flavour and taste. Natural acids are tartaric, malic and citric acids. More acids develop during fermentation (lactic acid, formic acid, succinic acid, volatile acidity...).



Various components of the wine add to a harmonic combination. Mainly the "soft" components of a wine (residual sugar, alcohols, poly-alcohols) are more or less in balance with the "hard" components of a wine (acids, mineral salts, tannins). This should however, always be judged in the right ratio for the type of wine. Young wines for example often show a slight shift "to hardness", whereby this does not represent a problem.

Blind tasting

Tasting of wines without knowing what wine it is by simply covering the label. The advantage of blind tasting is that it removes all prejudices about the wine, so the judgement can not be influenced.

Bad eggs (Boeckser)

The odour of sulphur (bad eggs), which can develop due to reductive grape must processing and sulphur-containing substances during alcoholic fermentation.


Rich floweriness of a mature wine. The wine is subject to various chemical changes during maturation. These changes do not only affect the colour, but also the smell and other components of the wine.


A tactile sensation describing the viscosity or "weight" of wine in the mouth. The structure of a wine results from the non-volatile components of the wine (tannins, mineral salts, non-volatile acids, pectins, poly-alcohols, and others.). This means that alcohol, volatile acids and natural water are not components of the structure.


Fungal infection. The Brettanomyces fungus can originate in the vineyard but some wineries are chronically contaminated, the organism living in oak barrels or even on the wooden structure of the winery itself. As a consequence the wines from this vineyard can bear a Brett profile - farmyard-like, horse-like, sometimes metallic aromas - year after year.



Blend of different wines to a new, possibly even better wine. Through the blending process the yearly climate changes are easier to handle by considering the various maturing times of different grapes.


Wine clarity refers to the absence or presence of suspended particles or sediment in a wine. Today, most wines areclear or crystal clear.. Often the talk is also about "brilliant" wines. Only unfiltered wines or mature red wines (see sediment deposit) have suspended particles.


A wine that exhibits many different odours and flavours.


A mouldy odour and flavour caused from a fungus-infected cork. The chemical composition TCA and TCP and mould fungus (Armillaria Mellea) are responsible for this change in the smell.



Lacking any perceptible taste of residual sugar. In Alto Adige, wines with less than 4 g/l of residual sugar are considered to be dry.




Group of aromas reminding of different fruits. (Berries, pip fruit, stone-fruit, citrus fruits,...)





The concentration and power of smell and taste of a wine.



Late harvest

Indicates that the wine was made from fully ripened, late-picked grapes.


Malolactic fermentation or conversion to lactic acid

During malolactic fermentation the sharp tasting malic acid is converted to a softer lactic acid.




Describes the clarity of aromas without the influence of unhealthy, half-rotten grapes or ancillary tastes, which are influenced by fermentation or through the maturing process in wooden containers. The type of grape can usually be recognized.


The bubbles in an effervescence caused by a secondary alcoholic fermentation that leaves carbon dioxide trapped in the bottle. The bubbles should be numerous and with fine granulation.



Age and stage of development of a wine. Ripeness can also be defined as quality with regard to time.

Residual sugar

Glucose and fructose left in the wine due to the interruption of the fermentation process or due to high must weight.


Sediment deposit

Deposit or sediment of red wines which have been aged in a bottle. These sediments are precipitated tannins and colour pigments. The sediments can be removed by decanting the wine. During decantation, the wine is transferred into a decanter (container) while held above a lit candle. Once the sediments move in the direction of the bottleneck, the decantation process is interrupted.



Sensory input which is felt on the tongue. We distinguish between four sensations: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. Japanese wine drinkers also sense umami (taste of glutamate).


The viscous, tear-like tracks that run down the inside of a glass after it has been swirled in the glass are thought to be related to alcohol content. They are often also called legs. However, the formation of tears can be influenced by aggressive "glass care".


Tannin is an important, rather bitter component of red wines. The tannins leave a dry, puckered sensation in the mouth.


Transparent colour structure. Transparency is contained inversely proportional to the amount of colour in the wine. Less colour intense wines like Blauburgunder and Vernatsch have good transparency, while colour-intensive wines like Lagrein and Teroldego have limited transparency.

Tartar crystals

Harmless crystals of tartaric acid. Tartaric crystals are scentless and tasteless. This compound may crystallise, when conditions are cold, to form small crystals in the wine.



Pressed from a single type of grape. This trend is strongly emphasised in the new world (varietals) and advertised on the labels (varieties).