R

Racking
“Soutirage” in French. The process of drawing wine off the sediment (such as lees) after fermentation by moving it from barrel to barrel. The purpose of this process is to clarify the wine.
Raisiny
A tasting term for a wine that reminds you of raisins. A common description for wines produced from overripe grapes (it can be negative if it is exaggerated).
Rancio
Spanish and French term for a fortified wine that has been madeirized on purpose.
Raspo
Italian word for the grape stalk. The woody part in a cluster of grapes.
Recioto
Wines made with grapes that have been dried on traditional straw mats or on racks to concentrate their juice (Veneto region, Italy). There are basically two different styles: a dry red wine (Amarone) and a sweet red wine (Recioto della Valpolicella).
Red fruit
A tasting term for the aromas and flavors which are reminiscent of strawberries, red cherries, raspberries, etc.
Reduction
A wine showing “reduction” is a wine where its sulphur compounds interacted with hydrogen. This interaction causes very unpleasant smells in the wine.
Remontage
French winemaking term for “pumping over”. The process by which the wine is pumped from underneath the cap of grape skins and then returned back over the cap. Its main purpose is to increase the extraction of color and phenolic compounds found in the skins and pips of the grapes that form the cap.
Rémuage
French word for “riddling”. The process by which the bottles of sparkling wine (produced by Méthode Champenoise) are successively turned and gradually tilted. The purpose of this process is to drive the sediment into the necks of the bottles.
Réoboam (Rehobaum)
Wine bottle with a capacity of 4.5 liters (or 6 bottles).
Reserva
These Spanish wines are produced only in better than average vintages. Red wines must be aged for at least three years (including some period in oak) prior to release. White and rose wines have to be aged for at least two years (6 months in oak).
Reserve
A term that is used to indicate American wines of higher quality, but unfortunately, it bears no legal meaning.
Residual sugar
After fermentation is over, the amount of sugar left in the wine. It is measured by grams of sugar per liter of wine. Due to the unfermentability of certain types of sugars, it is rare to find wines with a level of less than 1 g/L.
Resveratrol
It is a natural compound present in red wines (also found in white wines, but generally in less significant quantities) that is linked to a number health benefits, such as anti-cancer, antiviral, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory.
Retrogusto
Italian word for aftertaste. The taste left on the palate after the wine has been swallowed (or spat). Also known as finish.
Rich
A tasting descriptor for wines that have abundance of flavor and a lush texture. It is used for both dry and sweet wines.
Riddling
Remuage in French. A process invented by Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin (Veuve Clicquot) in which Champagne bottles are rotated (either manually or automatically in “giropallets”) in order to direct sediment toward the cork.
Ridotto
Italian word for reduced. A wine showing “reduction” is a wine where its sulphur compounds interacted with hydrogen. This interaction causes very unpleasant smells in the wine (rotten eggs, rubber).
Ripe
A positive tasting descriptor for wines that are made from grapes that have achieved its optimum level of maturity.
Riserva
Italian word for “reserve”. The name used for wines that have been aged for a period o time.
Roble
Spanish word for oak. Tree from the genus Quercus (synonyms Lepidobalanus and Leucobalanus). It is widely used to produce barrels. The tastes yielded by French and American species of oak are slightly different, with French oak being subtler, while American oak gives stronger aromas.
Robust
Same as full-bodied. Wines that give the impression of being heavy in the mouth.
Robusto
Italian word for robust. Same as full-bodied. Wines that give the impression of being heavy in the mouth.
Rognage
French word for thinning (a vine or vineyard).
Ronco
Italian word for hill (plural “Ronchi”). It is used specially in the northeast part of the country (Friuli-Venezia Giulia).
Rootstock
The use of rootstocks is most commonly associated with Philloxera. The roots of Vitis labrusca (American) are resistant to this plague and were/are used to replace (by grafting) the Vitis vinifera (European) that were/are attacked by the small insect . However, since a vine doesn’t need to grow from its own roots, this practice is also used when a producer wants to replace the type of grape in his vineyard. Let’s say that chardonnay went out of fashion and that the producer wants to have Sauvignon Blanc planted instead. By using the existing rootstock, that vineyard will be productive again much earlier than if he/she has to start from scratch.
Rosado
Spanish word for pink. As in vino rosado (rosé wine).
Rosato
Italian word for pink. As in vino rosato (rosé wine).
Rosé
French for “pink,” (“Rosato” in Italian). The most common way (these wines can also be made by blending a small amount of red wine with white wine) of producing these wines is with a short maceration. Red-skinned grapes are crushed and the skins are allowed to remain in contact with the juice for a short period. The grapes are then pressed, and the skins are discarded shortly after rather than left in contact throughout fermentation as with red wine making. Because the skins contain much of the tannins and other compounds, it makes the wine taste more like a white wine. The longer the skins are left in contact with the juice, the more intense the color and the more it tastes (and feels) like a red wine.
Rosso
Italian word for red, as in vino rosso (red wine).
Rotondo
Italian word for round. A tasting term for a wine that is mellow and soft on the palate.
Rotten eggs
The bad smell of wines that suffer from reduction (a wine where its sulphur compounds interacted with hydrogen.).
Rouge
French word for red, as in vin rouge (red wine).
Round
A tasting term for a wine that is mellow and soft on the palate.
Rovere
Italian word for oak. The tree from the genus Quercus (synonyms Lepidobalanus and Leucobalanus). It is widely used to produce barrels. The tastes yielded by French and American species of oak are slightly different, with French oak being subtler, while American oak gives stronger aromas.
Rubbery
The bad smell of wines that suffer from reduction (a wine where its sulphur compounds interacted with hydrogen.).
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