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Winemaking Terms - E

Monday, April 03, 2006

I'm fiquring that most people that visit this site have a limited knowledge of making wine.  You'll hear people throwing around terms about making their wines and you have no clue what they are saying.  Hey, don't feel bad, I was in your shoes not too long ago.  So, to help you out, all of this week's posts will be on winemaking terms.

Earthy:
The unpleasant odor of damp soil that is perceived in the mouth. Most wines made from roots (beet, carrot, parsnip, rutabagas, turnip) possess an earthy quality that diminishes to neutral over time -- usually two years, but possibly more -- and should not be served until neutralized by age. Whenever perceived, it is a fault.
Effervescence
An excess of dissolved carbon dioxide in a wine. The French have a more precise terminology for degrees of effervescence than does English:
* Tranquille means a still wine
* Perlé is a lightly effervescent wine
* Pétillant is a mildly effervescent wine
* Mousseux is a sparkling wine, such as Champagne
Enology:
The science and study of winemaking, also spelled oenology.
Enzyme:
Any of numerous protein molecules produced by living organisms (including yeast) and functioning as catalysts in biochemical reactions. Despite their derivation from living materials, are not living organisms themselves. Enzymes emerge intact from the catalytic reactions they produce and are denatured (rendered inactive) by pH extremes and high temperatures. Usually, an enzyme acts only on a specific molecule (substrate), so an enzyme that acts upon pectin will not act upon starch. In winemaking, most of the essential enzymes are produced by yeast, but some are not and must be introduced by the winemaker. Some of the more important enzymes that find use in winemaking are:
* Amylase: An enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of starch into maltose and dextrin.
* Cellulase: Any of several enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of cellulose.
* Invertase: An enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of sucrose into an equal mixture of glucose and fructose.
* Lactase: An enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of lactose into glucose and galactose.
* Lipase: Any of a group of enzymes that catalyze the hydrolysis of triglycerides into glycerol and fatty acids.
* Maltase: An enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis maltose to glucose.
* Pectinase: An enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of pectin to pectic acid and methanol.
Essential Oils:
Volatile oils that impart distinctive odors or flavors which, in wine, combine with alcohol and contribute to its bouquet.
Esters:
Volatile, aromatic, organic compounds formed by the chemical interaction of the wine's alcohol, acids and other components during maturation.
Estufa:
An "oven" or heating chamber used in the estufagem process for making Madeira or Sherry.
Estufagem:
A winemaking process peculiar to the making of Madeira and sometimes used in the making of Sherry. This process consists of heating the otherwise finished wine in an "oven" (estufa) for a prolonged period. This can range from 90-100 degrees F. for a year to 140 degrees F. for 3 months, with the lower temperatures yielding a better wine. The wine is then racked into wood and aged for 1-3 years.
Ethanol:
An alcohol, C2H5OH, produced by distillation or as the principal alcohol in an alcohol fermentation by yeast. Also know as Ethyl Alcohol.
Ethyl Acetate:
An ester produced by fermentation. When ethyl acetate exists in sufficient quantity, it produces a slightly sweet, fruity, vinegary smell. Too much is considered a flaw.

Source: Jack Keller


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