SW Wine Guide (M to R)

Made and Bottled By: On labels of American wines, this denotes that the winery crushed, fermented and bottled at least 10 percent of the wine.


Magnum: A 1.5 liter bottle.


Malolactic Fermentation: Conversion of the sharper malic acid in wine to softer lactic acid. The process also prevents additional fermentation in the bottle. Most commonly done in Chardonnay, to soften wine into big, rich, buttery liquids.


Mature: A wine that is ready to drink.


Médoc: The largest wine district in Bordeaux. Produces almost entirely red wines, which have been among the most historically celebrated throughout French history.


Methode Champenoise: The technique of making sparkling wine with a second, controlled fermentation in a sealed bottle to develop the bubbles. More time-consuming and expensive than Charmat or transfer methods.


Merlot: A dark-blue grape variety related to, and often blended with, Cabernet Sauvignon in red wines. The most widely planted grape variety in Bordeaux, and one of the most planted worldwide.


Montrachet: A vineyard in Burgundy, France that makes what many consider to be the best dry white wine in the world.


Mouth-feel: The sensation of a wine on the palate, usually described as rough, smooth, velvety or furry.


Muscadet: A delicate, crisp white wine made from the Melon grape in the western Loire Valley of France.


Muscat: A diverse family in the world’s oldest grapes, which make a light, usually sweet wine.


Nebbiolo: A tart red Italian grape variety widely grown in the Piedmont region that makes some of the country’s longest-lived reds.


Negociant: French term for a merchant who purchases wine from various sources before blending them and bottling them to sell under their own label.


New World: A term for countries that have started producing wine more recently than European countries, such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina and South Africa.


Noble Rot: See Botrytis


Nose: The smell of wine.


Nouveau: A light, youthful, fruity red wine bottled and sold as soon as possible. Most common to Beaujolais.


Oak: The wood primarily used for aging wines, imparting flavor when the barrel is new. Desired “oaky” notes are toasty, vanilla, dill, cedary and smoky. Undesired oak notes are charred, burnt, green cedar, lumber and plywood.


Oenology: The science of wine and winemaking.


Off-dry: A wine that has a slight amount of residual sugar.


Old World: European countries where winemaking dates back centuries.


Petit Verdot: Dark red grape used primarily in Bordeaux blends, including Cabernet Sauvignon.


Petite Sirah: A red grape, and the primary grape grown in America and Israel. Makes a dense, dark, red, spicy, plummy, long-lasting tannic wine. Also known as Durif.


Piedmont: A wine-growing region in Italy best known for Nebbiolo, Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera and Dolcetto grapes.


Pinot Gris: A white variant of Pinot Noir. Also known as Pinot Grigio.


Pinot Noir: A red grape variety grown worldwide, but chiefly associated with Burgundy. Usually produces a light-colored, medium-bodied, long-lived wine.


Plateau: The time during which a wine is at its peak.


Port: Dark, rich, red, fortified dessert wine, made exclusively in the Douro Valley in Portugal.


Punt: The indentation in the bottom of wine bottles. Deeper punts can add extra strength to the bottle.


Qualitatswein: German label classification for a wine of higher quality than simple table wine.


Rhône wine region: A wine region in Southern France.


Rosé: A wine that incorporates some of the color of grape skins, but not enough to qualify it as red wine. Often light red or pinkish in color.


Riesling: A white grape variety that originated in the Rhine region of Germany. Produces wines that have a wide variety of sweetness levels, from dry to very sweet. Is considered “terroir-expressive,” meaning that the wine takes on flavors from the areas in which it grows.