Dept. of Word Lists

Wine Words

Are your olfactories overjoyed by oenology? We called wine director Jennifer Malone-Seixas, sommelier at New York's elegant Fleur De Sel restaurant, to ask her about words related to wine:

Legs. "They're a factor in examining a wine, something you discover before you taste it. When you swirl a glass you'll see the drips of wine sheeting off the sides -- those are the legs."

Weight. "When I'm talking about a full bodied wine or a wine moving in that direction I'll say it has a lot of weight to it. It's a palette-related comment."

Texture. "When we say a wine is surprisingly smooth or surprisingly velvety we're referring to its texture."

Nose. "The process of putting your nose to the wine to get a sense of the fragrance."

Dry. "It's a palate term that means "as opposed to sweet." A wine that's drier leaves little or no residual sugar on your palette. The sensation of dryness on the palette is different from person to person."

Must. "It's the pomace, the leftovers that remain after crushing grapes to produce wine. You make certain products from the must of the grape like marc in France and grappa in Italy."

Bead. "The bubbles in champagne. You refer to a champagne as having a nice, concentrated bead. Factors involved in the production of champagne affect the bead quality."

Crust. "It's related to sediment, describing the "crustiness" of wine, but I never use this word at the restaurant."

Nebuchadnezzar. "The world's biggest bottle of champagne. It's equivalent to 20 regular sized bottles of champagne. I hope I never have to figure out how to pour it!"

Methuselah. "A giant champagne bottle equivalent to eight regular sized bottles."

Jeroboam. "Another giant champagne bottle, equivalent to four regular sized bottles."

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Comments from our users:

Friday December 29th 2006, 9:29 AM
Comment by: Sam L.
I'm constantly looking for empties of the larger than double magnum wine bottles. It's nice to see them mentioned. Old sailors covered their wine and liquor bottles with knots to redcuce breakage so they could be used for water bottles after the beverages were gone. The preservation of that craft--"bottle hitching"--is a hobby of mine. I'll pay up to $25 plus shipping for the Jereboam, Methuselah, and Nebuchadnezzar empties. Thanks for the article on wine words. I'll post it on my wine rack.

Sam Lanham (
Friday July 20th 2007, 2:24 PM
Comment by: Nancy C.
Let's hope there isn't any "pumice" in the wine! "Pumice" is an sandy stone used for grinding, like sandpaper, or an emery board (though emery is yet another substance than pumice).

In fact, you shouldn't find any of the correct word, "pomace," in the wine. It should be all strained out. I just made some raspberry jam, running half the berries through a sieve to remove the seeds. The resulting "pomace" I put in an old peanut-butter jar and filled it with white balsamic vinegar, and in a day or so I'll strain it and have lovely raspberry vinegar for salads all winter.

This time, when I strain out the pomace, it'll go down the drain. As with wine, there may be a few little grains of something at the bottom, and these "lees" may look a little like pumice!
Friday July 20th 2007, 4:47 PM
Comment by: anna S. (South Africa)Top 10 Commenter
Nancy, I raise a glass of fine Chablis to you! Thank you for the explaining this, I have fixed it. Harris, VT Editor

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