Thursday, January 20, 2011

Say What???

Before I begin my rapid chatter I decided it would be best to give a few definitions on the language I will be using. Also known as wine jargon, culinary dialect or to some just plain old gibberish. These are some of the terms I will be using in my blogs, I have provided definitions as well so we are all on the same page.
Please feel free to reference back to this page if you find yourself confused a little later on.

Acidity - The quality of tartness or sharpness in the taste of wine and food due to the presence of natural acids. (Not to be confused with sourness, dryness, or astringency.) There is Citric Acid, Mallolactic Acid, Lactic Acid and Tartaric Acid.

Balance - A balanced wine/ dish is one whose elements - sugar, fruit, tannin, acid, alcohol, wood, and so forth - are evident, but do not mask or dominate one another.

Tannin - A bitter compound found in the seeds, stems, and skins of grapes, and is extracted from wooden barrels. It is quite astringent and causes a puckering sensation in the front of the mouth.

Maturity - The stage in the aging of wines some fruits, cheese, meats and liquor when they have developed all of their characteristic qualities to complete perfection.

Dry - A wine with little or no noticeable sugar, usually containing less than 0.2 percent sugar.
On champagne and sparkling wines, dry is usually referred to as Brut.

Bouquet - The various fragrances noted by smell, created by the development of wine from the fermentation and aging process, whether in barrel or bottle.

Complexity - The various elements that make up a bouquet, aroma, and taste in a wine.
Ex. When a wine is described as having the aroma of fresh peaches or apples, it is displaying some of its complexities.

Finish - The tactile and flavor impressions left in the mouth while a beverage is being swallowed. Some beverages finish harsh, hot, and astringent, while others are smooth, soft, and elegant.

Corked - Describes an unpleasant musty odor or flavor imparted to wine by a defective (moldy, poor, soft, or (disintegrating) cork or by chemicals used in the processing of corks.

Full-Bodied - A term relating to the body or mouth-filling capacity of a wine.

Varietal Wine - The name of the dominant grape used in a wine -Some examples are Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Grigio.

Vintage Wine - A wine made from grapes harvested in a specific year, which is indicated on the wine label.

Non-Vintage Wine - A wine made from the juice of grapes harvested from several years. There is no year noted on the label of a non-vintage wine.

Fortified Wine - One to which brandy or other spirit has been added. Fortified wines contain 15 to 24 percent alcohol, as compared to most other wines which contain up to 15 percent alcohol.

Blush Wines - Are generally made with red grapes (some producers mix red and white grapes), but the juice has had a very brief contact with the grape skins. This produces wines that can range in color from light pink to pale orange to barely red.

Barrel Aging - The wine barrel serves three functions. First, it flavors the wine. Second, the barrel is a clarifier of the wine. As the wine resides in the barrel, particles drop to the bottom of the barrel clarifying the wine. The third and most important function of the barrel is as an aging vessel. During this process amounts of oxygen pass through the porous wood adding to the tannins of the wine.

À la Nage – Cooking à la nage means poaching food! (usually seafood)

Al dente – An Italian expression applied in all western kitchens to pasta cooked just until enough resistance is left in it to be felt “by the tooth.”

Blanch – A method of cooking in which foods are plunged into boiling water for a few seconds, removed from the water and refreshed under cold water, which stops the cooking process.

Braise – To cook in a small amount of liquid.

Flambé – To ignite a sauce or other liquid so that it flames.

That's all for this dictionary... I'll be sure to add a little more as I go just encase!

CHEERS. ..Whether you spit or swallow!

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