L

Lactic acid
An organic acid that is formed in the wine during the process of malolactic fermentation.
Late Harvest
Wine made from grapes that have been left on the vine longer than usual, usually with the intention of the grapes being affected by the noble-rot – an indicator for a very sweet or dessert wine.
Leafy
A negative tasting description for wines that display too much of an herbal and/or vegetative character.
Lean
A positive tasting descriptor for wines that lack an opulent (rich) character, but that can still be enjoyable and pleasant.
Lees
It consists of dead yeast, grape seeds, and other solids that are still in the wine after fermentation and that will be removed by racking.
Leesy
A tasting descriptor for wines that were aged “sur lie” (on the lees – dead yeast, grape seeds, and other solids that are still in the wine after fermentation and that will be removed by racking). The wines that are said to be “leesy”, normally present a smooth and rich texture, along with a nutty character.
Leggero
Italian word for light. Wines that give the impression of being light in the mouth. Low alcohol content generally causes this impression.
Legs
Or tears. The tracks of wine that adhere to a glass after the contents have been swirled. Some people believe that they can tell the alcohol content of a wine by seeing the number of legs (the more legs the higher the alcohol content).
Length
Also known as finish (when describing how long the flavors linger in the mouth after the wine is swallowed), but a wine that is “long” can be described as a wine which has a perception of taste over the full extension of the tongue (front, middle and back), rather than being experienced only in the front of the mouth and for that reason being called “short” (or up-front).
Light-bodied
Wines that give the impression of being light in the mouth. A low alcohol content (along with the lack of tannins and intense flavors) will cause this sensation.
Linalool
A naturally-occurring terpene alcohol chemical found in numerous flowers. In wine it is, consequently, the responsible compound for the flowery odor associated with Gewurztraminer and Muscat grapes.
Liqueur d’expédition
French term for the blend of wine added to Champagne in order to balance their sweetness after disgorgement.
Liqueur de tirage
A mixture of sugar, yeast, and wine that is added in order to induce a second fermentation in the bottle.
Liquorous
A wine with liqueur-like consistency. Late-harvest, Eiswein, botrytized (such as Sauternes) and other dessert wines that are said to be unctuous or luscious.
Liter
A metric measure of volume equal to 33.8 ounces.
Lively
A description for a wine that is crisp, bright and fresh.
Long
A wine whose flavors linger in the mouth after it is swallowed is said to be “long”.
Luscious
A tasting term for opulent wines, mostly in reference to sweet wines.
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