Wine Glossary

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There are 24 names in this directory beginning with the letter L.
La Tache (lah tah'sh)
One of the Grand Cru vineyards of Burgundy, France. The red wine made from this vineyard is one of the most sought after Pinot Noirs in the world. Situated in the commune of Vosne-Romanee, the entire vineyard (just less than 15 acres) is owned by the Domaine de la Romanee-Conti (D.R.C.). Less than 2,000 cases of this wine are made a year.

Labrusca
One of the species of grape native to North America. The Concord grape is the best known example. Most wine grapes come from the species "vinifera".

Lafite-Rothschild, Chateau (la-feet rot-sheeld)
One of the Bordeaux, France properties designated a First Growth in 1855. Situated in the commune of Pauillac, this is one of the most famous, and expensive wines in the world. The wine is made from Cabernet Sauvignon with a small amount of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. Designed for long term aging, this wine is the benchmark for many Cabernet producers. Aproximately 25,000 cases produced annually.

Lafleur, Chateau (lah-fluh'r)
A tiny, but exceptional property located in the Pomerol commune in Bordeaux, France. Since Pomerol was overlooked in the 1855 Classification, Lafleur has no official ranking. Only about 1,000 cases are made each year.

Lage (lah'-guh)
The German term for vineyard. Hence "einzellage" and "grosslage."

Lambrusco (lam-broos'-co)
A lightly sparkling wine, made from the grape of the same name. It is from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Produced both in a dry or slightly sweet style, it is best know in the US as the brand Riunite (which is one of the sweetest examples made). In Italy, it is easier to find the drier styles, and they are a great match for the rich foods of the region. Lambrusco is made just west of Bologna, which is considered to be the capital of Italian gastronomy.

Late Bottled Vintage Port
A style of Port created originally for restaurants. Since Vintage Port throws a great deal of sediment, it can be difficult for a restaurant to deal with. The solution was to age the Vintage Port first in barrels, between four to six years. This allows the wine to be ready to drink when released. Vintage Port may require decades of aging before it is at its best. As well there is little to no sediment for the restaurant or consumer to deal with. This style of wine is delightful, but is no substitute for actual Vintage Port. Often abbreviated as LBV.

Late Harvest
By harvesting later, the grapes are riper, and sweeter. This is appropriate for making sweet, dessert style wines. Some Late Harvest wines are almost dry, opting for increased alcohol and intensity rather than sweetness, as in the Alsatian "vendange tardive" (French for late harvest). In the US the term usually refers to a lightly sweet wine. Select Late Harvest refers to a sweeter wine, and Special Select Late Harvest to a very sweet wine. This is consistent with the German terms Auslese, Beerenauslese, and Trokenbeerenauslese.

Latour, Chateau (la-toor)
A First Growth Bordeaux (France). This property, situated in Pauillac is one of the best known and respected in the world. Like its neighbor Chateau Lafite-Rothschild, this wine is primarily composed of Cabernet Sauvignon. Also like Lafite, Latour is made to age. It has been said that Latour is the longest lived of all Bordeaux wines. Around 23,000 cases are made each year.

Latricieres-Chambertin (lah-tree-s'yair shahm-bair-tan)
A Grand Cru red wine vineyard in Burgundy, France. Situated adjacent to the Chambertin vineyard (also a Grand Cru) it is allowed to append the name of its more famous neighbor to its own.

Lees
The sediment from young wines while still in the barrel, tank or vat. Racking is the process of removing the wine and leaving the lees behind. Some white wines, such as Chardonnay, are often aged in contact with the lees in order to give the wine more flavor (see "sur lie").

Legs
A much over used and meaningless wine tasting term. It refers to the streams that are seen on the side of the glass after swirling (also called tears). While too many so called experts explain this as being related to the body, or the amount of glycerin in the wine, it is actually a function of the evaporation rate of alcohol (the Marangoni Effect), and has no relation to the quality of the wine at all.

Leoville Barton, Leoville Las Case and Leoville Poyferre (leh-oh-vell bar-tohn, lahss cahz, p'wah-feh-ray)
Three Second Growth Bordeaux, France vineyards from the commune of Saint-Julien. Often considered to be better than other wines of their class (especially the first two). Cabernet Sauvignon based, these wines are made for aging. As one may suspect, the three were one until 1826.

Liebfraumilch (leeb-frao-milsh)
One of the best known German wines. The name means "Blessed Mother's Milk." Prior to the enactment of the German wine laws in 1971 the term was used to mean almost any German wine from the Rhine region. Since the laws have gone into force, along with an update in 1983, the term now is used to designate wine made from a strictly delimited area of one of four regions. The region's name must also appear on the label. While the great grape of Germany, Riesling, can be used, it is rarely found in Liebfraumilch. In order to keep the costs down, and production up, most Liebfraumilch is made from Muller-Thurga, Sylvaner and Kerner. Liebfraumilch tends to be lightly sweet, simple, and very inexpensive.

Light
The opposite of heavy. A wine without much tannin in the balance. The wine may still be complex, and full of flavor. Such wines are often enjoyable young, but rarely age. Uncharacteristically there is a legal meaning for Light Wines in the US. They must be less than 14% alcohol. This is the same alcohol limit for all table wines in the US, making the legal definition of Light Wine somewhat redundant.

Limousin (lee-moo-zan)
A forest in central France that is a major source of oak for wooden barrels. The barrels made from Limousin oak imparts a stronger oak taste than other French sources, and so has somewhat fallen out of favor around the world. More common now for making Cognac (brandy) than fine wines.

Limpid
Literally this word means transparent, as in pure water. Used in wine tasting to imply a wine that is clear and bright. Occasionally misused by those who associate the homonym "limp" with the word, and assume it must mean something negative. It may be best to avoid this term, using "clear" instead.

Liqueur
A sweet, flavored, alcohol based drink. Used in the world of wine to mean something completely different. In the champagne method of making sparking wines "liqueur de tirage" is the mix of sugar solution and yeast added to the wine, to create the secondary fermentation, which will in turn produce bubbles. Again in sparkling wine production, the term is also used as "liqueur d'expedition" which is the sweeting agent added to the finished sparkling wine, which will determine the final style (from Extra-Dry, which is sweet to Brut, which is dry). Liqueur is also used in Sauternes, the dessert wine making region of Bordeaux, France, to refer to the sweetness of the wine. Finally, also from France, there is the occasionally used term "vin de liqueur," which refers to a wine made sweet by adding spirits to stop the fermentation process. This type of wine is more often called "Vin Doux Naturel."

Liquoreaux (lee-co-ruh)
A French term for a sweet white wine, such as Sauternes or Coteaux du Layon, that has retained residual sugar without the addition of spirits (as opposed to "Vin Doux Naturel").

Liquoroso (lee-kwoh-roh'-so)
An Italian term for a dessert wine that is made sweet by adding spirits to stop the fermentation process while there is still sugar left unfermented. The English term is "Fortified Wine."

Lirac (lee-rack)
A wine producing village in the Rhone valley of France. In my opinion some of the world's finest rose wines come from this town, and its neighbor to the south, Tavel.

Lodge
A warehouse in Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal, used for storing and aging Port. In Bordeaux, France the equivalent word would be "chai" and in the Sherry producing town of Jerez, Spain, the term is "bodega."

Loire (l'wahr)
The Loire Valley is one of the major wine producing regions of France. Most of the wines tend to be light and enjoyed young. A notable exception is my favorite sweet wine, Coteaux du Layon which ages for decades. The principal white grape is Chenin Blanc, and further to the east, Sauvignon Blanc. Less red is produced, and it is often made from Cabernet Franc (also used for rose wines in the region). Because of the beauty of the country side, many castles (Chateaux) have been built along the Loire river and its tributaries, making this a popular, and delightful, tourist destination. This is a huge area with many different types of wine.

Lombardy
A principal wine producing region of Northern Italy.


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