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Friday, September 12, 2014

Harvest Glossary

Harvest for white grapes in California is quickly approaching.  In case any of you are lucky enough to visit a winery during this special season, below is a cheat-sheet for the “Top 10” commonly used terms.

1.     Malolactic Fermentation:  Often referred to simply as “ML,” this chemical process converts harsh malic acid to softer lactic acid 

2.     Rack: siphon wine into a new, clean barrel leaving the sediment of debris behind

3.     Cap:  hard top that forms during fermentation at the top of the tank, (composed of skins which are flavor & color saturated)

4.     Punch-down:   Pushing down the cap so that it mixes with the liquid

5.     Pump-over:  pump juice over the cap during fermentation to extract color, flavor & tannins

6.     Fine:  clarify or make the wine more clear

7.   On the lees: wine in contact with the cellular debris of yeasts & grape skins

     8. Green harvest:  to cut off excess grapes (usually in June or July) in order to    
         concentrate the flavors of those left on the vine

          9. Saignée (sen-yay):  French word for “bleeding.” Often times used when                       referring to making a rosé.   Very young red wine juice (barely pink-tinged) is 
              removed from the vat early and vinified separately.

                      10. Methode Champenoise:  this term can only legally be used in the French wine               district of Champagne.  It denotes that the 2nd fermentation was done in the                   bottle.

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