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Maceration
The method in which grape skins are left in contact with the must during fermentation, extracting phenolic compounds including tannins, anthocyanins (color), and aroma.
Macerazione
Italian word for maceration. The method in which grape skins are left in contact with the must during fermentation, extracting phenolic compounds including tannins, anthocyanins (color), and aroma.
Madeira
A fortified wine that displays a burnt and caramelized flavor profile. It is from the Portuguese island of the same name.
Maderized
A tasting term used to describe white wine that has oxidized. Also, a wine showing Madeira-like flavor.
Magnum
Wine bottle with a capacity of 1.5 liters (or 2 bottles).
Magro
Italian word for thin. A negative tasting term for a wine that doesn’t have enough body.
Malic Acid
The unripe, harsh form of acid that is present in wine.
Malolactic Fermentation (MLF)
A secondary fermentation in wines in which harsh malic acid is converted to softer tasting lactic acid. The result will normally be wines that taste supple and less “fruity”.
Marc
French for pomace. The skins, stalks, and seeds that remain after the fermentation.
Marchio
Italian word for brand.
Masculine
A positive tasting term for wines that present power, muscle and weight; rather than elegance, charm and refinement (the characterization of a “Feminine wine”).
Massive
A positive tasting descriptor for wines that are very full-bodied, big and rich.
Mathusalem (Methuselah)
Wine bottle with a capacity of 6 liters (or 8 bottles).
Mattonato
Italian word for an old wine presenting a brick color.
Maturation
Also known as aging. The period where a wine develops before being bottled at the winery.
Mature
A wine that is fully developed and that has reached its maximum point of quality.
Meaty
A tasting term for a wine that has the taste and/or aromas of meat, but it can also refer to a wine that has firm structure.
Medium-bodied
Wines that don’t give the impression of being either light or heavy in the mouth. An alcohol content that is neither too high nor too low (along with the presence of some tannins and flavors that are only moderate) will cause this sensation.
Medium-dry
A wine that contains a certain level of residual sugar. At this quantity, however, the wine is not yet considered “medium-sweet” (dry > medium-dry > medium-sweet > sweet).
Medium-sweet
A wine that contains a certain level of residual sugar. At this quantity, however, the wine is not yet considered “sweet” (dry > medium-dry > medium-sweet > sweet).
Mellow
A positive wine descriptor for a wine with a smooth and soft texture. It feels “round” in the mouth.
Mercaptan
Chemical compound resulting from the reaction of hydrogen sulfide with ethyl and methyl alcohol . It produces a odors in wine that are reminiscent of rotten eggs, burnt rubber, garlic or onions. If perceived in the wine, it is a very serious fault.
Meritage
California wines (both red and whites) produced in a Bordeaux style (blend of the same grapes used in the French region).
Méthode champenoise
A method where the secondary fermentation of a wine (for the production of Champagne or other sparkling wines) occurs in individual bottles instead of in large tanks, as in the Charmat (or bulk) method.
Methoxypyrazines
A class of complex organic compounds that produce odors. These odors may be desirable on undesirable, depending mainly on the concentration found in the wine. It has extremely low detection thresholds, typically near 2 parts per trillion (1 ng/L) and is responsible for the bell pepper and grassy odors of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.
Microclimate
The climate of a very specific part of a vineyard. In other words, it refers to the climate in the immediate area around the vine.
Midpalate
A tasting term for a wine’s taste and feel on the palate. The perception that a wine gives in the mouth after the “attack”.
Millésime
French word for vintage or year.
Mineral
A tasting term for wines said to have aromas and/or flavors of wet stones, flint, etc.
Moelleux
French word for a wine that is sweet.
Monopole
The French term for a vineyard that is owned by only one winery/estate.
Monoterpenes
Group of organic compounds responsible for the floral aromatics of varieties like Gewürztraminer, Riesling and Muscat. Some examples are geraniol and linalool.
Morbido
Italian word for soft. Generally it refers to the mellow fruit in delicate wines.
Mosto
Italian word for “must”. The grape juice about to go or going through fermentation.
Mousse
On a sparkling wine, the foam formed at the surface.
Mouth feel
It is the physical and chemical interaction of a wine in the mouth.
Muffa nobile
Noble rot (botrytis cinerea) in Italian. A mold that causes grapes to shrivel and sugars to concentrate, resulting in sweet, unctuous wines.
Must
Grape juice about to go or going through fermentation.
Must weight
The measure of the amount fermentable sugars in the grapes (or in the must) and the resultant alcohol content if all the sugar are converted to alcohol (ethanol). It is constantly measured for the best determination of the harvest date(s). The most known systems to measure the must weight are Brix, Baumé and Oechsle.
Musty
A negative tasting descriptor for wines that don’t seem to be totally clean. The causes are poor conditions of storage at the winery (dirty barrels for example) or a cork infected by TCA.
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