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Decoding the wine list

For those not in the know, a wine list can serve up some bemusing terminology, we help you decode some of the most common terms

Biodynamics A viticultural system inspired by the theories of Rudolf Steiner in which soil treatments are intended to respect the land and planting schedules are determined by the astrological calendar. The growing number of biodynamic producers insist the practice enhances clarity and staying power in the resulting wine.

Natural wines Made without chemical or non-biological intervention, these wines are generally not treated with the antioxidant and preservative sulphur dioxide, nor are they clarified or filtered, so that the whites in particular may look hazy, bitty and off-coloured. The term has no legal definition, meaning that producers can set their own parameters.

Orange wine An ancient method of making wine by leaving the fermenting juice of white grapes in contact with the skins, thereby acquiring deeper colour, more complex flavours and some tannins. Orange wines can taste heavier and coarser than white wines that have had the skins removed at pressing.

Pét-nat Short for pétillant-naturel, these wines have their fermentation interrupted so that a slight fizz is left in them, as well as some natural sugar. 

Coravin A preservation tool invented in 2011 that allows wine to be poured from a bottle without removing the cork and used by many restaurants for serving more exalted wines by the glass.

 

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Published December 2019