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Glossary

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Livio Felluga

Visual examination

Amber yellow
A shade that is found in white wines with a ratio of acidity to softness markedly in favour of the latter. These products are usually obtained using techniques for making dried-grape or liqueur-sweet wines. This shade, usually compared to the colour of amber or topaz, is a negative characteristic in wines that do not belong to the above categories, but which present obvious oxidation of colouring agents.

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Brilliant
Term applied to a wine that is crystal clear and vividly reflects any rays of light that strike it. This quality is frequently enhanced by the synergetic action of carbon dioxide.

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Cherry pink
A tonality used to define a rosé wine that presents a colour similar to some varieties of cherry, such as Moretta cherries from Cesena or Durone cherries from Vignola. Shades may range from purplish to orangey, and are determined by the degree of maturation of the wine in question.

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Claret pink
Claret is a tonality used to define a rosé wine that presents a colour similar to that of red wines, and may also be described as “very pale ruby red”. Such wines generally maintain a marked liveliness of colour, with strong purplish highlights in their first year, and then evolve towards orange red, losing freshness, about two years after production.

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Colour
The colour of a wine depends on the vine variety, the winemaking techniques employed, and the age of the wine itself. It is a determining factor for classifying a wine as “white, “rosé” or “red”. The identification of colour is completed by the examination of its intensity, its various tonalities or shades, and their liveliness.

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Colour of red wines
An endless range of terms may be used to describe the various tonalities and shades of a red wine. In addition, each colour type may present various degrees of intensity (paler, deeper and so on).
The following terminology is used to describe the colour of red wines:
Purple red - Ruby red - Garnet red - Orange red.

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Colour of rosé wines
It is extremely important for the correct assessment of the appearance of rosé wines that any shade or intensity of colour should be supported by subsequent positive evaluation of the nose and palate. The following terminology is used to describe the colour of rosé wines:
Pale pink - Cherry pink - Claret pink.

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Colour of white wines
The following terminology is used to describe the colour of white wines:
Greenish yellow - Straw yellow - Golden yellow - Amber yellow.

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Crystal clear

Term applied to a wine that is completely free of microparticles in suspension, and also possesses an intense luminosity of its own, which gives it a particular brilliance.

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Effervescence

Effervescence in a wine consists in the liberation of carbon dioxide in the form of bubbles when the liquid is poured into the glass. These may form a more or less persistent mousse due to the development of bubbles that rise from the bottom of the glass. The characteristics of both mousse and bubbles are important parameters of evaluation for the taster, and sensory analysis will take into account their size, shape, number and persistence.

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Fairly clear
Term applied to a wine presenting faint cloudiness from the presence of microparticles in suspension. These are generally caused by slight refermentation of residual sugar, or the insolubility of some compounds as a result of prolonged ageing. In these cases, the bottle must be handled with great care during pouring.

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Fairly thick
A wine that flows moderately smoothly into the glass when poured. This characteristic is normally found in white, rosé and red wines with a fairly good balance of softness and hardness, and is apparent in the vast majority of wines examined, in compliance with the various wine types.

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Fluid
A wine is described as “thin-fluid” when it flows as easily as spring water to the bottom of the glass when poured. This characteristic is usually adjudged to be negative, and is caused by extreme winemaking techniques.

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Fluidity
It is safe to say that the visual examination of a wine begins when it is poured into a glass, since every product has its own “flow” and particular “liquid sounds”. A wine may be classified on its fluidity as:
Fluid - Not very thick - Fairly thick - Thick - Viscous.

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Garnet red
A shade that is used to describe a red wine with a ratio of acidity, tannins and softness slightly in favour of the last of these. The tonality is reminiscent of the colour of blood when the wine is rich in colouring agents, and of pomegranate seeds when colouring agents are scarce. Wines that present this colour can generally be aged in the cellar for a moderately long period of time.

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Golden yellow
A shade that is found in white wines with a ratio of acidity to softness in favour of the latter element, usually obtained by vinifying slightly overripe grapes. The tonality of yellow, reminiscent of gold, may also be due to other factors, and above all to ageing in wooden barrels. If the golden yellow lacks liveliness, this may indicate the inappropriate evolution of the wine’s characteristics as a consequence of already advanced oxidisation.

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Greenish yellow

A shade that is usually found in very young, light, fresh white wines. The ratio of acidity to softness ratio in these wines is markedly in favour of acidity. Such wines are obtained by careful fermentation without the skins of grapes which have generally been picked slightly before full ripeness and/or may have undergone fairly robust vinification methods, such as clarification, filtration and so on. The shade may be described as a “very pale yellow” with strong green highlights. It is characteristic of wine in the first year after the harvest.

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Limpid

Term applied to a wine free of particles in suspension, and which therefore presents no deposit of any kind. One practical method of confirming this degree of clarity involves placing a glass containing the wine over a passage of written text, and verifying that the outlines of the letters are perfectly distinct.

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Limpidity
The limpidity of a wine may be defined as the absence of turbidity, or cloudiness, caused by particles suspended in the liquid. These particles may correspond to an acceptable level of impurity, and are visible in the lighting conditions in which a taster normally carries out visual examination. A wine may be classified on its limpidity as:
Veiled - Fairly clear - Limpid - Crystal clear - Brilliant.

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Not very thick
A wine that flows easily into the glass when poured. This characteristic is typical of a product with weak structure because of the prevalence of hardness over softness. It is particularly characteristic of some white wines from northern Italy. The wine’s fluidity is similar to that of a beverage containing neither sugar nor carbon dioxide.

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Number of bubbles
The bubbles may be:
sparse
if there are very few bubbles, almost absent altogether
fairly numerous
if the bubbles are discontinuous and form at only a few points on the sides of the glass
numerous
if there are lots of bubbles forming continuously at many points on the sides of the glass.

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Orange red

A shade that is used to describe a great red wine that has aged for a long time and in which the ratio of acidity, tannins and softness is in favour of softness. The colour is reminiscent of bricks, and presents highlights ranging from tan to orangey. The tonality is a negative characteristic when found in early drinking wines, as it indicates premature maturation or worse, an advanced stage of degradation.

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Pale pink

A tonality used to describe a rosé wine that presents a colour similar to peach blossom, or a pink rose. When the shade has purplish highlights, it means that the wine is young and was in all probability obtained by fermentation involving brief contact of the must with the skins of the black berried grapes. When the shade has coppery highlights, reminiscent of the colour of copper or onionskin, it is appropriate to assume that the rosé wine was obtained by fermenting without the skins of grapes containing only a small quantity of colouring agents, for example Pinot Grigio.

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Persistence of perlage
The bubbles may be:
evanescent
if they disappear after a few seconds
fairly persistent
if they persist for a few minutes and are in any case not very numerous
persistent
if the bubbles continue to form quickly, without slowing down, even after the sparkling wine has been in the glass for a long period of time.

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Purple red

A shade that is used to describe a very young red wine presenting a ratio of acidity and tannins to softness in favour of the first two elements. This tonality is comparable to the colour of a cardinal’s cassock or, less frequently, to a peony. It is a “deep red”, with marked purplish highlights. Purple red is thus a synonymous with very young wines.

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Ruby red

A shade that is used to describe a very young red wine presenting a reasonably good balance of acidity, tannins and softness. The tonality is reminiscent of the colour of a ruby, and is normally indicative of a healthy, well-aged wine that is ready for uncorking.

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Size and shape of bubbles

The bubbles may be:
coarse
if the size is comparable to that of bubbles in sparkling mineral water
fairly fine
if the size is acceptable and comparable with the standard for sparkling wines on the market
fine
if the bubbles are very small and comparable to a pinhead in size.

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Straw yellow

A shade that is found in young white wines with a fairly well-balanced ratio of acidity to softness. Straw yellow wines are generally obtained by fermenting without the skins grapes picked at the peak of ripeness, and which therefore have a good balance of acidity and sugar. This tonality indicates that proper care and attention have been given first to the grapes, and then to the various stages of winemaking in the cellar. The shade is usually compared to the colour of straw. It corresponds to a more or less intense yellow, and associated greenish highlights, determined by the soil and growing environment, vine type, winemaking techniques used and the age of the wine.

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Thick

A wine that flows into the glass not very smoothly because of the prevalence of softness over hardness. This characteristic is confirmed by observation of the regular, close-packed “tears” or “legs”, and sometimes by the presence of sugar.

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Viscous

A wine that flows into the glass “heavily”, almost without making a “sound”, as if it were a syrupy liquid. This characteristic is found in some dessert wines, obtained for example from grapes attacked by Botrytis cinerea, or which have been dried, or which have suffered from millerandage (uneven grape development). When the condition is present in other types of wine, it is considered anomalous.

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Veiled
Term applied to a wine showing marked opalescence due to the presence of a large number of particles in suspension. Opalescence may be caused by several factors, such as malolactic fermentation, unsuccessful or inappropriate fermentation, and casses (discoloration due to excessive presence of o-polyphenoloxidase, a tannin-oxidising enzyme).

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LIVIO FELLUGA S.r.l, Sede sociale Via Risorgimento 1, 34071 Brazzano - Cormons (GO) - Italia
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