B - Jargon Buster

Bacchus: Roman god of wine.

Baking: In wine this term refers to the process of producing "Sherry" by deliberately oxidizing a wine through heating and aerating it for a period of several weeks. It is not uncommon for the process to take place over a 4 to 6 week period at 57 degrees C.

Balance: A subjective term used in wine evaluation. A wine in which the tastes of acid, sugar, tannin, alcohol and flavour are in harmony is said to be in balance. If one component is out verses the others the wine is said to be unbalanced.

Barbera: A wine grape best known for producing red wines in the Piedmont district of Italy. It is also grown in other countries and is used as one of the best red varieties in California's central valley. It also excels in many of the vineyards of Amador County in California.

Barolo: A big, dark, tannic and heavy red wine grown and produced near the town of Barolo in the Piedmont region of Italy. Often seen as one of Italy’s best table wines, Barolo is made from the Nebbiolo grape. The best Barolos are given considerable age prior to release for sale.

Barrel Fermenting: The act of fermenting white grape juice in barrels instead of using the more usual stainless steel tanks. Red wines are never fermented in barrels because of the necessity to ferment red wines in contact with the grape skins. It is virtually impossible to move grape skins in and out of a barrel through the small bunghole and nobody attempts to do that a second time.

Beerenauslese: Literally, "berry selection" in German. Beerenauslese wines are made from grapes that are picked individually rather than a whole bunch at a time. All grapes on a cluster or "bunch" do not normally ripen at exactly the same rates. Berry selection allows the winemaker to make superb wine by insuring that every grape berry is at optimum ripeness. Obviously, Beerenauslese wines will be more expensive.

Big: Subjective tasting term that refers to a heavily flavoured, often tannic and alcoholic wine.
Blanc de Blanc: A Champagne or Sparkling Wine term referring to white wine made from only white (usually Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc) grapes.

Body: A tasting term referring to viscosity, thickness, consistency, or texture. A wine with "body" often has higher alcohol or sugar content than others. Tannin, also, is a major component.

Botrytis: Short for Botrytis Cinerea, a fungus that grows naturally on the skins of certain grapes as they ripen on the vine under specific autumn conditions. Botrytis growth concentrates both the sugar and acid inside grapes by making them shrivel and dry up - without spoiling the juice! Botrytis is called "noble rot" because it can turn ordinary wine grapes into precursors of great and luscious dessert wines. Botrytis is responsible for the super sweet "Trokenbeerenauslese" Rieslings and the wonderful dessert wines of Sauternes.

Bouquet: Smell or fragrance in wine that has its origins in the wine production or aging methods. This is in contrast to Aroma, which comes not from aging or handling, but from the grapes themselves.

Breathing: The act of allowing a bottle of wine to stand for a few minutes to an hour or so after pulling the cork but before serving it. It is often noticed that wines which exhibit off odours or tastes when first opened may be improved by air exposure prior to serving. Experienced tasters claim that very old bottles of red wines should always be opened an hour prior to serving the wine. Aeration may be enhanced by pouring the newly opened wine into a pitcher with splashing prior to replacing the wine into the bottle. Very young wines rarely need air contact and aren't usually allowed to breathe before being consumed.

Brilliant: A sensory evaluation term to describe a wine that is crystal clear

Brut: French term referring to the driest (least sweet) Champagne. Brut is always drier (less sweet) than "Extra Dry".

Burgundy: One of the most well-known and finest wine regions in the world, Burgundy is located in eastern France, just southeast of Chablis. It includes the famous Cote d’Or in the north, which itself is divided into two parts, Cote de Nuits as the northern half and Cote de Beaune as the southern half. Three lesser regions of Burgundy lie to the south of the Cote d’Or: Chalonnais, Maconnais and Beaujolais. The finest red Burgundies are produced from Pinot Noir grapes; the finest whites, from Chardonnay. Other famous red wines like Fleurie and Beaujolais, made from the Gamay grape, are also well known from Burgundy.

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