Glossary of Wine Terms
MADERIZED — Turned amber in color as a result of oxidization and possessing an aroma and flavor like that of Madeira, indicating that a white wine is past its prime.
MAGNUM — The equivalent of two regular bottles or 1.5 liters (50.7 oz.)
MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION — A secondary fermentation process which transforms malic acid, found in many fruits, into lactic acid (and releases carbon dioxide), producing a wine milder, less tart and, to some, more complex.
MEATY — Describes wine which is chewy; fleshy.
MELLOW — Smooth; not hard; sometimes used for reds that aren’t fully dry.
MERITAGE — A portmanteau term (“merit” plus “heritage”) developed in the 1980s because of U.S. government labeling regulations to categorize red and white wines blended from traditional Bordeaux grape varieties. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec for red wines; Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle for whites. There are no percentage or Bordeaux varietal rules for the blending formula except that no grape may represent 75 percent of the total blend (in which case the varietal name takes precedence).
MÉTHODE CHAMPENOISE — Classic method of producing Champagne and sparkling wines by inducing a secondary fermentation after bottling, which releases the carbon dioxide that creates bubbles.
METHUSELAH — Oversized Champagne bottle equal to eight regular 750 ml bottles, or 203 oz.
MICROCLIMATE — An area where soil conditions and such factors as altitude, inclination/slope, drainage, and exposure to the sun influence the quality and distinctiveness of the wine produced. A few feet of distance can mean a different microclimate and suitability for a grape variety.
MILDEW — A fungus that is extremely detrimental to vines and grapes, controllable to some degree through the use of powdered sulfur or copper sulphate.
MOUTH-FILLING — Describes wines that have a high concentration of fruit extract and alcohol; chewy.
MUST — Crushed grapes or grape juice ready to be fermented into wine.