Wine Terminology VII: Descriptives

One of the messages that came through repetitiously from our 1987 Membership Survey was the request for a glossary of wine terminology. So, here is the continuation of a series that appears regularly unless bumped by a pressing topic. When the series is complete, it will be reprinted, and appear as a permanent section in the membership newsletter binder.


Vegetal: Taste and smell sensations of a vegetable nature. They add to the overall complexity of a wine in small amounts, but undesirable when excessive.

Velvety: The feel of a wine, when it is thick, soft and smooth on the palate.

Vinegary: The presence of acetic acid in wine, detected by odor and taste. A definite fault.

Vinous: Wine-like.

Volatile Acidity: A vinegary quality in a wine, due to the presence of acetic acid along with ethyl acetate in the wine.

Watery: See Thin.

Woody: Has been used interchangeably with “oaky” where, in moderation,  is desirable in some wines. Can also imply other non-oak wood qualities derived from defective barrel ageing, and would be considered to be faults in the wine.

Yeasty: The smell of yeast in wine. Can be interesting in young wines, when present in minimal amounts. Any dominant odor of yeast is a negative and usually a sign of incomplete fermentation. An aged yeasty bouquet is desirable in certain sparkling wines like Champagne.


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Do you remember the September 1987 California selection we featured? It was a dessert wine called Chevrig­non D’Or, 1985, by Hidden Cellars (a late harvest Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon). It was a spectacular wine. Witness to that fact was the way it was reordered. We had to show a “sold out” sign on the “Earlier Selec­tions Still Available” order form.

Since I disappointed so many mem­bers on their reorders, I went back to the winery, searching for more. None was to be had. We had wiped them out of the 375 ml bottles, which we had featured (over 250m1 cases). They admitted that they had a small amount of the 750 ml (full size bottles) in their library. They would be willing to release 20 cases and that would be the absolute end for the whole world!

So if you want some, this is your last chance. They are $15.78/each, at the member reorder price.

Fabulous dessert wine. One of the best I have had. See the September 1988 newsletter, page 3.

Use the order form on page 7 of this newsletter if you wish to order some. We will allocate the 20 cases with a June 30 cut-off date. If any remain, they will be sold, first come, first served.

– P.K.


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