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Wine Glossary - America's Wine Trails

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Early Harvest
Denotes a wine made from early-harvested grapes, usually lower than average in alcoholic content or sweetness.

Earthy
Describes wines with aromas or flavors of soil or earth. In small amounts the aromas or flavors can add complexity and be positive characteristics, but become negative as the intensity increases. Frequently associated with Pinot Noir.

Ébourgeonnage
French term for debudding vines. This is performed early in the growing season as part of yield control and canopy management.

Éclaircissage
French term for green harvest, or crop thinning. Grape bunches are removed to improve air flow through the canopy, facilitate the ripening of the remaining bunches and reduce the crop yield.

Edelfäule
German term for Botrytis cinerea, or noble rot.

Eiswein
Wine made from grapes that have frozen on the vine. Since only the water in the grapes freezes, the super-concentrated grape pulp produces a wine that is very sweet and often high in acidity. Eiswein is an official German classification; such wines from other regions are called ice wine.

Elegant
Describes balanced, harmonious, refined wines; subtle rather than a highly-extracted blockbuster.

Élevage
French term for the progression of wine between fermentation and bottling. Comparable to the term “raising” in English; think of élevage as a wine’s adolescence or education. The raw fermented juice is shaped during this period into something resembling its final form, through techniques such as barrel aging, filtering and fining. Good winemaking decisions during élevage can help the juice achieve its full potential; bad decisions can leave it flawed.

Empty
Similar to hollow; devoid of flavor and interest.

En Primeur
Also known as “futures” in the American market, en primeur sales typically refer to Bordeaux, but not exclusively. The en primeur offerings are a winery’s first offer of a particular vintage, when the initial price is set, and offers buyers the opportunity to purchase wines before they are released.

Enologist
A scientist involved with winemaking.

Enology
The science and study of winemaking. Also spelled oenology.

Enophile
A lover of all things vinous.

Estate-Bottled
A term once used by producers for those wines made from vineyards that they owned and that were contiguous to the winery “estate.” Today it indicates the winery either owns the vineyard or has a long-term lease to purchase the grapes.

Esters
The fragrant chemical compounds responsible for the aromas and flavors found in food and wine.

Ethyl Acetate
A sweet, vinegary smell that often accompanies acetic acid. It exists to some extent in all wines and in small doses can be a plus. When it is strong and smells like nail polish, it’s a defect.

Extra Brut
The driest Champagne or sparkling wine. The scale, from driest to sweetest, is: Extra Brut, Brut, Extra-Dry, Sec, Demi-Sec and Doux.

Extra-Dry
A common Champagne term not to be taken literally. Most Champagnes so labeled are slightly sweet.

Extract
Richness, depth and concentration of fruit flavors in a wine. Usually a positive quality, extract adds to wine’s body, yet highly extracted wine can also be very tannic. To calculate extract levels, some winemakers measure the dry residue remaining after the wine is boiled off.



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