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A - Z of Wine Terms - B

Carrying on our educational journey in to the different terms used when talking about wine, this week we arrive at B. If you missed the start of this series you can view A here

Backward: Backwards is used to define a wine that is tight, closed in or reserved. This means the aromatic and other qualities in the wine are not available to the taster. This is often a normal trait in young wines.

Balance: Balance is one of the key traits all great wines share, regardless of where they come from. The term is used to say all the elements that make up the wine, acid,

Barnyard: Wines with this aroma are best described as earthy, with animal scents that remind tasters of a barn. In small doses, this can be a positive trait. In large amounts, this is a defect. This can be caused by a natural aromas that develop with bottle age, or in the worst cases from wines that were made in unclean barrels or facilities.

Barrel or Barrique: A vessel to age wine which is usually made from oak.

Barrel Fermented: Wines that were vinified in barrel instead of vats or tanks. This takes place more often with white wines. However, some producers barrel ferment red wine. This is known as micro vinification.

Barrel Tasting: When a taster tries a wine before it has been bottled.

Batonnage: French term for stirring of the lees.

BDX: Abbreviation for Bordeaux

Beefy: A big, masculine and often muscular styled wine. This is the same as brawny.

Berry: Berry is another term for grape.

Berry scented: Wines are made from grapes. Yet all red wine wines smell like berries. They could remind you of blackberries, strawberries, cherries, black raspberries, red raspberries or even cranberry or mulberry.

Big: A big wine is one that is filled with ample amounts of ripe, normally alcoholic fruit. If the wine is in balance, this is not a problem. But wines that are too large and not in balance are not fun to taste.

Biodynamic: Vineyard management techniques based on the writings of Rudolph Steiner that on one side, are the best organic techniques, and on the other side can include moon phases, the alignment of the planets, planting cow horns and more. Scoff at this, fair enough. But it does seem to work and it’s becoming slowly, but surely increasingly popular and accepted.

Blend: When one or more grape varieties is used to produce the wine.

Blind Tasting: The identity of the wine is hidden from the taster. In theory, this allows for an unbiased evaluation of the wine. Single blind means the type of wine is known to the taster, but not the specific wine. Double blind means, the taster has no prior information on the wine.

Body: Body is a term used to describe the weight and feel of wine. Full bodied wines are normally high in alcohol.

Bold: Red wine with dark color, high alcohol, with concentration and intensity, that is usually in a forward style.

Bordeaux Wine: Area of southwest France famous for producing many of the worlds best wines that are a major focus on this web site.

Bottle age: All quality wines need to be aged in the bottle before being opened. For some wines, this could be a few years. Other wines (for example the First Growths from Bordeaux) in select vintages require 30 years or more to become mature.

Bouquet: Different than perfume, this denotes a mature, or maturing wine with secondary characteristics, other than primary fruit scents.

Botrytis Cinerea: This special fungus, known as noble rot is how most of the world’s sweet wines are made.

Bouquet: Bouquet is the term used to describe the non grape or berry aromas a mature wine displays.

Brawny: A big, masculine and often muscular styled wine. This is the same as beefy.

Breathe: When you allow a wine to breathe, you are giving it air, which improves the perfume and the texture of the wine.

Bricking: When red wines mature or age, they lighten in color and move from purple, to dark red, to ruby and finally to the color of brick. This is the same term as browning.

Bright: A term used for acidic red fruits.

Brix: The measurement of sugar content.

Broker: In Bordeaux, a broker is the same as a Courtier, which is a person acting as the intermediary between chateau and the negociants. Outside of Bordeaux, brokers act as an intermediary between buyers and sellers of wine.

Brooding: Wines that are brooding offer dark colors with intense concentration of flavor.

Browning: When red wines mature, they lighten in color and move from purple, dark red, to orange and then finally brown. This is the same term as bricking.

Bud burst: Term for when the vines begin to produce their first new shoots for the growing season. This takes place in the spring. This is the same term as bud break.

Buttery: Usually used for Chardonnay that has a butter, or buttered popcorn character. Butter characteristics are found in richer styles of Chardonnay that were often aged in barrel and have finished malolactic fermentation.

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