Glossary: K-L

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Kabinett

One of the “pradikats” (ripeness levels, essentially) of Germany. The Oechsle scale, a measurement of specific gravity and the way growers measure ripeness levels, has certain ranges where each pradikat level falls.

 

Knights Valley

An appellation in Sonoma County known for Cabernet Sauvignon production. This valley is the extension of Napa Valley, as you pass over the county line into Sonoma. Beringer is the largest producer here.

 

Kosher wine

Wine that is produced under the supervision of a Rabbi and suitable for observing religions.

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Lactic acid  
One of the main acids found in beverages, especially wines that have a creamy or buttery mouthfeel. This becomes prevalent in wines that have gone through malolactic fermentation, the process by which a second fermentation takes place, turning the harsher malic acid (green apples) into the softer lactic acid (cream, half & half).

 

Lagar  
A winemaking term, most often associated with Portugal, for the concrete vessel that grapes or pressed (stepped on) to create the juice for fermentation.

 

Languedoc
A large region in southern France. The Languedoc is broken down into a number of sub-regions and moderate levels of quality are most prevalent. There are some producers throughout the region that make serious wines, and many who make fantastically uncomplicated wines as well.  

 

Late bottled vintage (LBV Port)
This is a style of port wine produced in the Oporto Valley, Portugal. Vintage ports are very expensive, rare and often take many years to come to maturity. LBV offers the characteristics of Vintage port without the pricetag.

 

Late harvest
A winemaking term used to indicate a process by which the grapes are left on the vine past the “optimal” harvest date in order to inhibit “passillerage”, the shriveling of the grapes and the concentration of sugars. There are many wine regions that make late harvest style wines, with Germany and France being the most historically notable countries.  

 

Laying down  
A winemaking term for storing a wine bottle on its side in order to keep the cork moist and trap sediment in the neck more effectively.  

 

Lean  
Tasting term referring to a wine that has high acidity and not much fruit.

 

Lees  
The deceased yeast cells that fall to the bottom of the fermentation vat during and after fermentation. These dead yeast cells have an oxidized and somewhat creamy aroma and flavors, and when stirred inside the vat, can give complexity to the wine. The French term for this process is called “battonage”.

 

Lieu-dit
A term most often used when describing Burgundy and Alsace. It refers to a named vineyard which does not have Premier or Grand Cru appellation.

 

Loire Valley

A major wine region in northwestern France centered around the Loire River. The historical significance of this region cannot be overstated, and the best examples of Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc hail from the subregions alongside the banks of the river valley.

 

Long or length  
A wine tasting term for time a wine lingers on the palate after taking a sip. This is a subjective measurement of quality for some, but is a nebulous description of the product for most.