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31 August 2006

Unartfully Worded

Pepew The vocabulary of wine is a symphony of sexy-sounding words.  If you're single, try this trick in a bar on Friday night.  Whisper these sweet nothings in an unsuspecting soul's ear.

bouteille dégustation pupitre blanc rouge blanc melon élevage

On second thought, don't.  You might get smacked.

There is also a dark, unartful side to vino vocabulary.  These are terms that most certainly do not conjure up candlelit dinners or purdy sunsets.  Rather, such terms create a rather rough, if not downright violent image.  For example..

Punching down - a winemaking step in which the cap (grapeskins and stuff sticking to said skins) is broken up and submerged in to the fermenting wine. 

"That Cabernet isn't fermenting properly, I'm gonna go punch its cap down!"

Powdery mildew - AKA oidium; a common vine fungal disease wherein all green parts on an affected plant are covered with a cobweb-like growth.  If grape clusters are infected growth is impaired an berries may not reach full size.

"This Sauvignon Blanc was afflicted with powdery mildew.  Fortunately, we treated the vines early on with fungicide and sulfur; and managed to save the crop.  Would you care for a glass?"

Rectified grape must - Processed grape juice, which has been concentrated and filtered.  Used in place of sugar for chaptalizing cool climate/not-quite-ripe wines.

"Looks like we'll have to add 20 gallons of rectified grape must to our Grande Cuvée."

Disgorgement - Removal of the pellet of junk (i.e. dead yeast cells) from the neck of a bottle of sparkling wine.  This step follows riddling in the bubbly production process.

"Eww.  This bottle wasn't properly disgorged - I just got a mouthful of dead yeast cells."

Can you name any other unartful wine words that put a damper on that whole romantic wine aura?

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» MOG-inations from El Bloggo Torcido - Twisted Oak Winery
Over on Basic Juice, Beau recently posted about unartful wine words - like punch down and disgorgement - though we rather like punchdowns. More on that later. Today at Twisted Oak we encountered another ugly wine wine term: MOG. MOG [Read More]

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Pump Over - An alternative to punching down (which is properly done 3-4 times per day during Primary Fermentation - there's another one!). The liquid from the bottom of the Fermenting Must is pumped from the bottom of a tank and sprayed over the cap to submerge it.

Pumpovers are usually done on larger quantities of must that can't be punched down. A punch down is usually only practical in half ton bins since the must pushes back. And a punch down is preferrable because valuable aroma and flavor compounds can be dissipated when the juice is churned thru the pump and sprayed.

(Shameless plug: at Twisted Oak, we do not do any pumpovers - to us pumpover is the most unartful word! On our larger tank fermented lots we use a pneumatic punch down machine to submerge the cap. I'll post a picture of it on our blog in a few days.)

cheers! - j


I thought of another one:

Cellar Rat - The possibly underpaid worker who does most of the dirty work in a winery, while the winemaker walks around with a clipboard and looks important. (Note: This does NOT apply to our winemaker!)

And I forgot to use the previous term in a sentence, so here's a twofer:

"Hey Cellar Rat! Get the Waukesha (pump) and do a Pumpover on that Bretty Cab in Tank 7!"

OK, I'll stop being a comment slut... - j


A few off the top of my head are:
1. Carbonic Maceration - bunches of grapes are put in closed fermenting tank where oxygen has been replaced by CO2. The weight of grapes on top crushes grapes below. The yeasts naturally present spur fermentation causing more CO2 to be produced. When enough CO2 is present, it begins to pass into the grapes causing them to ferment from the INSIDE. Creates soft, fruity wine.

"Please pass the turkey and cranberry's right next to that delish Beaujolais produced via carbonic maceration."

2. Malolactic Fermentation - naturally occuring process when tart malic acid is converted into softer lactic acid. I might find this a little more offensive than others because I speak Spanish and "malo" means bad....that puts the wine off to a very bad start!

3. Noble Rot - otherwise known as botrytis which can infect grapes and make some really yummy wine. I don't give a crap how "noble" you think it is, putting the word "rot" after it was a not-so-great idea in the world of wine.

4. Cultured Yeasts - used instead of naturally occuring ambient yeasts in order to have more control over the fermentation process. This one ain't offensive, I just always found it cute because being "cultured" I imagine these little yeast cells being polite to one another, saying "please" "thank you" and "excuse me for passing gas."

- Katie


Jeff & Katie - I feel so incredibly sticky, grody and unromantic now. Thanks! Just what I was looking for.


Oh and I did a little thing on Carbonic Maceration a while back. Check it out.

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