Tasting Terminology

From grapes to glass.

Cedar Creek Winery has provided some wine tasting terminology for you to expand your wine tasting expertise!

Grape Terms

Brix

Measurement of sugar found in grapes and juices.

Cabernet Sauvignon

A variety of wine grape that produces a deep red wine.

Chardonnay

A clean, crisp grape variety producing white wine.

Crushing

The act of splitting grape berries to release their juices by passing them through mechanical rollers.

Destemming

The act of removing the stems from the grapes to exclude the bitter tannins they contain.

Edelweiss

A hybrid variety of white wine grape created in Wisconsin and known for its cold-hardiness.

Gamay

A variety of red wine grape, mostly grown in the Beaujolais region of France.

Gewurztraminer

A variety of white wine grape known for its perfumey characteristics.

Harvesting

Picking the grapes and bringing them into the winery. We hand-harvest our grapes.

Hybrid

A cross of two species of grape vines to create desirable characteristics such a cold hardiness (e.g. Marechal Foch, Edelweiss) We rely on cold-hardy hybrid grapes that will survive Wisconsin’s winters.

Marechal Foch

A hybrid variety of red wine grape created in France and known for its cold-hardiness.

Must

The grape juice, skins, and seeds before they have fermented.

Pinot Grigio

A variety of pink-grey wine grape related to Pinot noir, producing a white wine.

Press

Equipment used to squeeze the juice from grapes or wine from the mass of skins and seeds with which it fermented.

Pressing

The act of squeezing juice or wine from grape solids. We use a bladder press which pushes the solids against the screen of a large drum as a rubber bladder inflates, separating the juice or wine from the grapes’ skins and seeds.

Pruning

Removing the previous year’s growth in late winter or early spring to help invigorate the vine and set the crop for the following season.

Riesling

A variety of wine grape that produces an aromatic white wine.

Syrah

A variety of wine grape that produces a deep red wine.

Varietal

The wine produced by a variety of grape (e.g. Pinot grigio).

Vidal

A French hybrid variety of white wine grape.

Viticulture

The study and practice of growing grapes.

Vitis Lambrusca

A species of vine native to North America, often used for creating hybrid vines and for table grapes or juice grapes (e.g. Concord, Niagara).

Vitis Vinifera

A species of grape vine used to produce most of the world’s wine grapes (e.g. Riesling, Pinot noir).

Wine Terms

Aging

The process of maturing the wine to harmonize and soften flavors. Can happen in the tank, the barrel, or the bottle.

(All of our Cedar Creek labels list the aging potential of each wine.)

Capsule

A wrapper that covers the cork and neck of the wine bottle, to help protect the cork from drying out.

Carbon Dioxide

CO2, a colorless odorless gas that is a byproduct of fermentation.

Citric Acid

A sharp tasting acid present in the juice of lemons and other fruits. Is found in small amounts in grapes and wines.

Cooper

A barrel maker.

Cork

A natural, spongy and porus material used to seal wine bottles that comes from the bark of a type of oak tree found in Spain and Portugal.

(Cedar Creek Winery uses both screwcap and cork closures, using cork for our barrel-aged wines and screwcaps for our unaged wines.)

Cream of Tartar

A natural component of grapes and wine, occasionally seen at the bottom of a glass or bottle of wine as small, clear crystals. Also used as a baking ingredient.

Cuvee

A blend of wine from different tanks to achieve consistency within a batch of wine.

Enology

The science of wine and winemaking.

Fermentation

The process of converting the sugar in grape juice to alcohol through yeast, making wine.

Filter

Removes impurities (such as yeast, sediment) from a wine to clarify it just before it is bottled.

Lactic Acid

A less sharp-tasting acid found in wine. May be created in wine through a secondary or malo-lactic fermentation from the conversion of malic acid.

Malic Acid

A sharp-tasting acid found in grapes and wines that is especially common in apples.

Malo-Lactic Fermentation

The conversion of malic acid to lactic acid, creating a softer-tasting wine.

Oak

A type of wood used for making wine barrels, known for contributing wine distinctive flavors and tannins.

Oxidation

A change in the flavor or color of a wine caused by exposure to air.

Press

Equipment used to squeeze the juice from grapes or wine from the mass of skins and seeds with which it fermented.

Pressing

The act of squeezing juice or wine from grape solids.

(We use a bladder press which pushes the solids against the screen of a large drum as a rubber bladder inflates, separating the juice or wine from the grapes’ skins and seeds.)

Pump Over

The act of passing a wine over the mass of skins floating on the surface of red wine during fermentation to allow for maximum color and flavor extraction.

Punt

The indentation in the bottom of a bottle.

Screwcap

A metallic top that seals the bottle in place of a cork.

(Cedar Creek Winery uses both screwcap and cork closures, using cork for our barrel-aged wines and screwcaps for our unoaked wines.)

Sediment

Solids deposited at the bottom of a bottle of wine as it matures.

Sulfites

A substance used to preserve wine due to its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties.

Tartaric Acid

The acid found in the largest amounts in grapes and wines.

Terroir

From the term “terre” meaning earth or ground. It is the contribution of the soil in the taste of the wine, along with the environment, climate, and growing season characteristics.

Unoaked

A wine that has not been aged in oak barrels.

Vintage

The year the grapes were harvested and made into wine.

Yeast

A microbe responsible for fermentation.

Wine Enjoyment

Aroma

Fruity attributes in a wine (i.e. green apple or citrus) that are reflective of the varietal of the wine. Usually more prominent in younger and unoaked wines.

Balance

The quality of a wine that implies a harmonious balance between tannin, texture, body, and flavor or a wine, with no single attribute overwhelming the wine.

Barrel-Aged

Wines that have rested in French or American white oak barrels to mellow, enhance and add complexity to the wine without changing the flavor.

(For our barrel-aged wines, we use American oak barrels that help give our Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah very full flavor with a robust backbone.)

Beaujolais

A style of wine from the region in southeastern France which our winemaker is from. It is known for growing Gamay grapes and producing lighter red wines.

Body

The weight feel of the wine on your palate; light, medium and full.

(Our Cedar Creek Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon may seem heavy on your palate, while our Pinot Grigio or La Belle Vie dance nice and lightly across your taste buds.)

Bouquet

Complex attributes in the nose of the wine (i.e. toast, vanilla, bread) created during the aging process.

Brandy

A liquor created by distilling wine. It is often used for fortifying wines.

Breathing

Allowing the wine to be exposed to oxygen before enjoying it to open up the nose and flavor of the wine.

(A general rule of thumb is to let the wine breathe about 15-20 minutes for our full-bodied reds, such as the Cedar Creek Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, especially if they are five years old or older, where as with younger lighter wines, such as Bon Vivant and Waterfall Riesling, are meant to be enjoyed shortly after opening the bottle.)

Color

The hue the wine takes.

(Young white wines, such as our Pinot Grigio and La Belle Vie, will appear light with almost a greenish hue. Reds can range from a deep purple-red, like our full-bodied Syrah, to garnet, like our Cabernet Sauvignon.)

Decanting

To carefully pour from a bottle into another container, separating an aged wine from its sediment in the bottom of the bottle.

Estate Grown

Grapes used to produce the wine were grown on the property where the wine is fermented.

(Our Bon Vivant is made from Marechal Foch grapes that are grown in our vineyards in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin, where that wine is made. This term is found on the label.)

Finish

The lingering impression after the last sip of wine.

Flavor

How the wine tastes.

(You will find tasting descriptors on the back of our wine labels that Winemaker Philippe has developed based on what he tastes in each wine.)

Glass

Wine glasses come in many shapes and sizes. Enjoy “big” reds, like our Cabernet or Syrah, from a big-bowled wine glass to allow the wine to aerate and release its true nose and flavors.

Legs

Refers to the tear-like tracks that a wine makes down the side of a glass after it has been swirled. It is correlated to alcohol content though is not really essential for assessing the quality of a wine.

Mis En Bouteille Au Domaine

French term found on the label indicating the wine was bottled on the property.

Nose

How the wine smells.

(You will find descriptors on the back of all our wine labels that Winemaker Philippe has developed based on what he smells.)

Port

A sweet, fortified wine produced by adding grape brandy to a fermenting wine to stop the fermentation process and retain a high level of natural sugar.

Produced and Bottled By

A term found on the label indicating that all winemaking processes were done on site, mostly importantly the fermentation and bottling.

Residual Sugar

Sugar that remains in a wine after fermentation.

Swirling

Making circular motions with your wine glass allows oxygen into the glass to open up the nose and enhance the tasting experience. More than 70 percent of what is tasted comes from what is smelled.

Tannin

A naturally occurring phenolic compound found in grapes and in wood barrels. Perceived as astringent in young wines and softer in aged wines, and contributes to structure and body.

Temperature

The optimum degree for storing or serving wine to enjoy it at its fullest flavor potential. Serve most white and sweet wines chilled and dry reds at room temperature.

(Look on the back of each of our wine labels for recommended storage and serving temperatures.)