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Improve Your Italian with this Wine Glossary found in an interesting web site

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Abboccato: Semi-dry; Less sweet than amabile

Amabile: Semi-sweet, usually in reference to sparkling wine; 

Amaro: Bitter; 

Annata: A wine’s vintage year; 

Asciutto: Totally dry; 

Azienda agricola, agraria or vitivinicola: A farm or estate which produces all or most of the grapes for wine sold under its labels; 

Bianco: White (wine);

Botte: Cask or barrel; 

Botticella: Small cask; 

Bottiglia: Bottle; 

Brut: Dry, usually in reference to sparkling wine;

Cantina: Cellars or winery;

Cantina sociale: Cooperative winery;

Casa vinicola: Wine house or merchant (commerciante) whose bottlings come mainly from purchased grapes or wines; 

Cascina: Farmhouse, often used for estate;

Castello: Castle;

Cerasuolo: Cherry-hued rosé (wine);

Chiaretto: Deep rosé (wine);

Classico: The historic core of a DOC wine production zone;

Coltivatore: Cultivator;

Consorzio: Consortium of producers;

Dolce: Sweet;

Enologo: Enologist with a university degree

enotecnico is a wine making technician with a diploma;

Enoteca: Literally, a “wine library,” referring to both publicly sponsored displays and privately owned shops;

Ettaro: Hectare (2.471 acres) the standard measure of vineyard surface in Italy;

Etichetta: Label;

Ettolitro: Hectoliter, or 100 liters, the standard measure of wine volume in Italy;

Fattoria: Farm or estate;

Fermentazione naturale: Natural fermentation;

Fiasco: Traditional straw-cased bottle typically used by Chianti producers in the 1970s;

Frizzante or frizzantino: semi-sparkling (wine);

Frutta: Fruit;

Frutti di bosco: Literally, fruits of the forest, such as raspberries, blackberries and strawberries;

Gradazione alcoolica (grad. alc.): Alcoholic degree/percentage;

Imbottigliata: Bottled;

Imbottigliato dal produttore all’origin: Bottled by the producer at the source;

Imbottigliato dalla cantina sociale: Bottled by a cooperative winery;

Invecchiato: Aged (wine);

Liquoroso: Strong wine; can be fortified but usually naturally high alcohol level;

Litro: Liter;

Maso: A holding, often referring to a vineyard or estate;

Masseria: Farm or estate;

Metodo classico or tradizionale: Terms for sparkling wine made by the bottle fermentation method, replacing the terms champenois or champenoise, which can no longer be used in Italy;

Millesimato: Vintage dated sparkling wine;


Nero: Black;

Passito: Wine style made from partially dried grapes (to concentrate flavors). Technique typically used to make sweet wines;

Pastoso: Medium dry;

Podere: Small wine estate or farm;

Produttore: Producer;

Recioto: Wine made from partly dried grapes in the passito style. Often sweet and strong;

Riserva: Reserve. Indicates a DOC or DOCG wine aged for a specific time period. Implies a wine is of better than average quality, thereby meriting the additional aging;

Rosato: Rosé (wine);

Rosso: Red (wine);

Scelto: Selected. Term used for certain late harvested DOC wines;

Secco: Dry (wine);

Semi-secco: Medium sweet, usually in sparkling wine;

Spumante: Sparkling, for dry or sweet wines;

Stabilimento: Firm;

Superiore: Denotes DOC wine that meets standards above the normal requirements (higher alcohol, longer aging, a special sub-zone), though conditions vary;

Tenimento: Farm;

Tenuta: Farm or estate;

Uva: Grape. Uva passa is a dried grape to be used for wine. Uvetta, uva secca or sultanina are terms for raisin;

Vecchio: Old, to describe aged DOC wines; stravecchio, very old;

Vendemmia: Grape harvest or vintage. Vendemmia tardiva, late harvest—refers to wines from grapes harvested after main harvest date to ripen more fully on the vine;

Vigna or vigneto: Vineyard. Vigna may be used under DOC and DOCG for approved single vineyard wines;

Vignaiolo or viticoltore: grape grower; Vitner

Villa: Manor;

Vinificazione: Vinification;

Vino: Wine. Vino da arrosto, a robust aged red suited to roast meats;

Vin santo: Wine made from grapes dried on straw mats over the winter to concentrate flavors;

Vite: Vine;

Viticoltura: Vine cultivation, viticulture;

Vitigno: Vine or grape variety; Varietal;

Vivace: Lively; for lightly bubbly wines, but less than frizzante.


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