Wine Glossary

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There are currently 16 names in this directory beginning with the letter G.
Gamay (gam-may)
The grape of the Beaujolais region of France. It produces a light styled red wine. While this grape variety is found on the labels of some California wines, it is probable that the grape is not actually Gamay, but a light Pinot Noir clone or even the easily forgotten Valdiguie of southern France.

Garnacha (gahr-nah'-shah)
The Spanish name for the grape referred to in France as Grenache. Very popular in Spain, it is the grape responsible for Sapin's best known red wine, Rioja.

Gavi (gah'-vee)
One of Italy's best known white wines. Made from the Cortese grape around the town of Gavi, in the northwestern part of the country, the Piedmont.

Gewurztraminer (geh-vairtz'-tra-mee'-ner)
One of the great white wine grapes of the world, often overlooked in the US. The name means "spicy" traminer (traminer being a related type of grape). The pungent aroma of the grape can be delightful, and because of the name of the grape, the nose is referred to as "spice." The use of the word "spice" without qualification, there are many types of spice, is reserved for discussions of Gewurztraminer. Often made in a sweet style, except in Alsace, France, where they make wines rich and full, rather than sweet.

Gironde (jee-rohn'd)
The French Department (similar to a State in the US) which contains the wine making region of Bordeaux. Named for the river formed by the confluence of the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. The two river meet just north of the city of Bordeaux, and many of the best known Bordeaux properties overlook the Gironde river.

One of the alcohols found in wine as a result of fermentation. Sometimes referred to as glycerin, this can be misleading. Glycerin is marketed as a sweet, and syrupy liquid, used for soap making and adding viscosity to some liquors. The amount of glycerol found in wine is too small to make the wine thick (in fact, dry wines are slightly less viscous than water). It can contribute to the sweetening effect of the alcohol, since glycerol is much sweeter than most sugars, but again, it is only found in very small amounts (less than 1/10 of the alcohol found in wine). It has nothing to do with the formation or quantity of tears or legs found on a glass of swirled wine.

Gout de Terrior (goo-de-tare-wah)
A much used, little defined French term. Literally it means "taste of the soil." Often used to describe the earthy flavors found in some wines. Just as often used to describe or attribute the conditions of soil, climate, and perhaps even vineyard management, to the particular taste of a wine or region.

Gran Reserva (grahn reh-zehr-vah)
A red wine that has been aged for a minimum of five years (with at least two in wood) before being released. For whites and rose, it is 4 years, and 6 months in wood.

Grand Cru (grahn crew)
The French term for "Great Growth." In the Burgundy and Alsace region this signifies the highest designation for a vineyard. In the Champagne region the term refers to the villages which may sell their wines for 100% of the asking price.

Grand Cru Classe (grahn crew clah-say)
French for "great classed growth." Found on the label of wines of St.-Emilion, Graves, Medoc and Sauternes regions of Bordeaux.

Grand Vin (grahn van)
French for "great wine" this term has no legal meaning and is often used on wines that are not particularly great.

Graves (grahv)
One of the wine producing regions of Bordeaux, France. The city of Bordeaux itself has largely encroached on the area, making for an almost urban vineyard setting. The word literally means "gravel" and so important is gravel for drainage in vineyards, that the region is named for this notable feature. Red and white wines are produced here, with the best known producer being Ch. Haut Brion. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc are the chief red grapes, and Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon for white wines.

A wine tasting term for wines made from under ripe grapes. The wine will have the smell of vegetation and be highly acidic.

Grenache (greh-nah'sh)
A red wine grape of the Rhone Valley of France, and elsewhere (especially Spain). In the southern Rhone Grenache replaces Syrah as the most important grape (Syrah being more important in the north). It is also the grape of Lirac and Tavel, two of the arguably best rose wines (also from the Rhone). Grenache is also responsible for the exceptional, and rare, fortified wine, Banyuls.

Grosslage (gross'-lah-guh)
German for "large vineyard." In German wine law it is a collection of individual vineyards (Einzellagen) that share common traits. This allows the wines to be marketed under either their vineyard name, or the often better known Grosslage name.

Gruner Veltliner (groo'-ner felt-lee'-ner)
A wine grape grown almost exclusively in Austria where it produces a light and simple wine. Recent marketing and production advances have lead to a worldwide surge in popularity of these wines.

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