top of page

Glossary: C

California
A state in The United States of America famous for its wine production. California has a long history of wine production from the sacramental to the supremely expensive, with Napa Valley being the premier wine growing region in the U.S.  

 

Catalonia

A wine region located around the area of Barcelona, Spain. Mainly known for Garnacha and other indigenous grapes grown in the region.

 

Carbonic maceration  
Process widely used in Beaujolais where uncrushed grapes are allowed to begin fermentation in a protective atmosphere of CO2. This process produces a style of wine that is low on tannin and high on fruit flavors.

 

Cava  
Spanish sparkling wine made using the traditional method. The production center is located in Catalonia; however, cava can be made in a number of regions in Spain.

 

Cellaring
This refers to the process of ageing a wine before consumption. This can take place in the winery, in a restaurant cellar or in a private home. 

 

Cépage  
French term for grape variety.

Chaptalization  
Winemaking term for the addition of sugar to the fermenting grape must in order to increase alcohol and glycerin levels.  

 

Chile
A country in South America that is famous for its wine production. Bordeaux grape varieties (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, etc.) thrive in this maritime climate, with many famous European and American producers setting up an outpost there.

 

Claret  
Old-fashioned English term for red wines from the Bordeaux region. Sometimes used on wine labels in the new world to represent a blend of some or all of the Bordeaux grape varieties.

 

Clarification  
The removing of solid matter out of the wine before bottling.

 

Classified Growth  
This refers to the classification process that certain regions, namely in France, undergo to assess quality and pricing levels. It should be noted that the classification level of a wine is not always an exact barometer of quality. Specifically, the phrase was coined when Napoleon III commissioned the ranking of the properties on the left bank of the Gironde estuary in 1855 for the Paris Expedition. 

 

Clean  
A wine which doesn't have any off-flavors or taints is called 'clean'. Most wines on the market these days are 'clean'

 

Clonal selection

Agricultural term for the production of specific clones of each grape variety, choosing the characteristics that are the most advantageous to a specific region or area and increasing the likelihood of those characteristics through genetic engineering.

 

Closed  
A wine tasting term. This represents a wine that is not showing its full aroma or flavor potential or expectations.

 

Columbia Valley, Washington

An AVA in Washington State known for its red wine grape growing. The area is enormous, with a size that's close to Rhode Island, and every popular red wine grape in America is grown there in some fashion. The area is actually a desert, with agriculture only possible from the irrigation that the Columbia River provides. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot blends have made the biggest impression, with the Syrah based wines not far behind. Columbia Valley is a great place to recommend wine from for those new world drinkers who want to try something a little drier, and old world drinkers who want something with a touch more fruit (but not as much as California!).

Corked  
A wine tasting term that describes trichloroanisole (TCA). This chemical compound is most often found when cork forming and cleaning chemicals with mold, creating the foul aromas associated with TCA, or “corked” wines.

 

Cosecha
Spanish word for vintage.

 

Côte
A “côte” is a slope or hillside (France) that usually has a geographical or climactic impact on the wine. Otherwise, it is just a geographical indication.

 

Coulure
One of many maladies that the grapevine faces during its lifecycle. Once the vine has flowered, there should develop a small fruit (grapes) in place of each flower. A “failed” fruit set in this way is coulure.

 

Crémant

Crémant is a term used to describe sparkling wines produced in specific regions of France using the traditional method, also known as méthode traditionnelle or méthode champenoise. These wines are made using the same traditional method as Champagne, where the second fermentation that creates the bubbles occurs in the bottle. However, Crémant wines are produced in regions outside of Champagne and are often more affordable alternatives to Champagne while still maintaining high quality.

Crémant wines can be made from various grape varieties, depending on the region in which they are produced. Each Crémant-producing region has its own set of regulations and grape varieties allowed, resulting in a diverse range of styles and flavor profiles. Some of the key Crémant-producing regions in France include:

  1. Crémant d'Alsace: Produced in the Alsace region in northeastern France, Crémant d'Alsace is typically made from a blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Chardonnay. These wines are known for their fresh acidity, floral aromas, and fruit-forward character.

  2. Crémant de Bourgogne: Hailing from the Burgundy region, Crémant de Bourgogne is made primarily from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. These wines often exhibit finesse, elegance, and a balance between fruitiness and minerality.

  3. Crémant de Loire: Produced in the Loire Valley, this style of Crémant can be crafted from a variety of grape varieties, including Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc, and Chardonnay. Crémant de Loire wines are known for their vibrant acidity, fruitiness, and sometimes floral or herbal notes.

  4. Crémant du Jura: From the Jura region in eastern France, Crémant du Jura is made using local grape varieties like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Poulsard. These wines often display a unique combination of fruity and savory characteristics.

  5. Crémant de Limoux: Produced in the Languedoc region, Crémant de Limoux is known for its high-quality Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Mauzac-based sparkling wines. These wines offer a balance of citrusy fruit and lively acidity.

  6. Crémant de Savoie: From the Savoie region near the French Alps, this Crémant is crafted from a variety of grape varieties, including Jacquère, Altesse, and Chardonnay. These wines can exhibit Alpine freshness and elegance.

Crémant wines are valued for their affordability compared to Champagne while still offering a similar production method and quality. They often provide a delightful alternative for those seeking well-made sparkling wines from different French regions. Crémant's versatility, approachability, and diversity of styles make it a popular choice for celebrations, pairings with various foods, and everyday enjoyment.

 

Crianza
An ageing term used in Spain indicating a younger wine that has seen little additional ageing processes.

 

Crossing (viticulture)
A “crossing” is the result of breeding two Vitis vinifera plants. A “hybrid” which involves using American vines.

 

Cru
This term can indicate a vineyard or a classified wine.

 

Cru Artisan

A classification in Bordeaux, France. This designation has existed for 150 years, denoting the smaller producers in the Medoc areas of Bordeaux. In 1989, a resurgence of this classification led to the designation being revived, and as of 1994 can be printed on the label for export.

Cru Bourgeois
A classification in Bordeaux, France. While this designation dates back hundreds of years, it was only in 1932 that the designation was revived, with new regulations coming in 2010. These properties tend to be in the outlying areas of Bordeaux and are recognized by industry professionals in the region.

Cru Classé
The higher level of classification for wine in Bordeaux, France.

 

Crust
The somewhat hard and “crusty” cap that forms on the top of a fermentation vat. It is the solid matter from the process that has settled to the top.

 

Cryo-extraction
A process by which grapes (or juice) is frozen to concentrate the sugar levels and produce a sweeter wine.

 

Cuvaison
The period when the solid matter (grape skins, pips, etc.) is left to macerate in the wine during fermentation in order to extract color, flavor and tannin.

bottom of page