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Wine Terms Starting With The Letter 'C'

C.A.
Abbreviation seen on Spanish wine labels meaning Cooperativa Agrícolaor local co-operative.
C.S.
An Italian abbreviation for Cantina Sociale that appears on wine labels denoting that the wine has been made by a local cooperative.
C.V.
Abbreviation for the French termC oopérative deVignerons that may appear on wine labels to denote that the wine has been made by a local cooperative.
Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is a variety of red grape mainly used for wine production, and is, along with Chardonnay, one of the most widely-planted of the world's noble grape varieties.
Cane pruning
Cane pruning is when one or two canes from a vine's previous year's growth are cut back to six to fifteen buds which will be the coming growing seasons grape producers.
Canopy
The green foliage of a grapevine is called the canopy. The canopy can be trimmed or thinned to manage the amount of air and sun reaching the fruit, improving fruit quality, increasing yield and controlling disease.
Cap
The thick layer of skins, stems and seeds that forms at the surface of fermenting red wine. Cap management, or breaking up the cap to increase contact between the skins and the liquid, is important since red wines extract color and flavor from the skins.
Cap Classique
South African wine term for a sparkling wine made according to the traditional method
Capsule
The metal or plastic protective coating that surrounds the top of the cork and the bottle. Before pulling out the cork, at least the top portion should be removed to expose the cork and the lip of the bottle.
Carbonic Maceration
Most frequently associated with Beaujolais, this is a method of producing light-bodied, fresh and fruity red wines. Instead of crushing the grapes and releasing the juices to be fermented by yeasts, whole grape bunches are placed in a tank and the oxygen is displaced by carbon dioxide. Fermentation starts on an intracellular level inside the berry, producing some alcohol as well as fruity aromatics. In practice, the weight of the grapes on the top crushes the grapes on the bottom and yeasts ferment the juice; the wine is partly a product of carbonic maceration and partly of traditional yeast fermentation.
Carbonic maceration
Whole, uncrushed grapes are fermented in a sealed vat containing a layer of carbon dioxide. This results in fruity, soft and distinct red wines. These wines have little tannin and are immediately drinkable. This is the method used throughout France's Beaujolais region.
Cascina
Italian term for a farmhouse or wine estate
Case
A case of wine in the United States typically contains 9 liters or 12 standard 750ml bottles of wine. The size of wineries is most frequently measured in the number of cases produced annually.
Casein
A dairy-based protein used in the fining process. Casein is particularly effective at clarifying cloudy or off-colored white wines.
Cask
A wood barrel or storage vessel, often made from oak, that is used in winemaking for fermentation and/or aging
Cask Number
A term sometimes used to designate special wines, as in Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23, but often applied to ordinary wines to identify a separate lot or brand. Synonymous with bin number.
Casta
Portuguese term for a grape variety
Caudalie
Unit of the persistence of the wine's finish in seconds. Derived from the word caudal (tail). A wine can have a caudalie of 8 or more seconds.
Cava
Spanish term for sparkling wine made using the traditional méthode Champenoise.
Cave
See wine cave
Cedary
Denotes the smell of cedar wood associated with mature Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends aged in French or American oak.
Cellar door
The area of the winery where point of sale purchases occur. This can be a tasting room or a separate sales area.
Cellared By
Means the wine was not produced at the winery where it was bottled. It usually indicates that the wine was purchased from another source.
Cerasuolo
Italian term for a cherry-pink colored wine
Chai
A wine shed, or other storage place above ground, used for storing casks, common in Bordeaux. Usually different types of wine are kept in separate sheds.[5]The person in charge of vinification and ageing of all wine made at an estate, or the chais of anégociant, is titled aMaître de Chai. The New World counterpart to the chai may be called the barrel hall.
Champagne flute
A piece of stemware having a long stem with a tall, narrow bowl on top.
Chaptalization
The addition of sugar to juice before and/or during fermentation, used to boost sugar levels in underripe grapes and alcohol levels in the subsequent wines. Common in northern European countries, where the cold climates may keep grapes from ripening, but forbidden in southern Europe (including southern France and all of Italy) and California.
Charmat
A less expensive, mass-production method for producing bulk quantities of sparkling wine. The second fermentation takes place in a pressurized tank, rather than in a bottle, decreasing lees contact and producing larger, coarser bubbles. The wine is filtered under pressure and bottled. Also known as the bulk process or tank method. Wines made this way cannot be labeled méthode Champenoise.
Chewy
Describes highly extracted, full-bodied and tannic wines that are so rich they seem as if they should be chewed, rather than simply swallowed.
Chiaretto
Italian term for a very pale or light colored rosé
Château
Generally a winery in Bordeaux, although the term is sometimes used for wineries in other parts of the world, such as the Barossa Valley.
Cigar Box
Aroma frequently associated with mature Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet blends, this descriptor refers to the cedary and tobacco leaf scents associated with cigar boxes.
Clairet
A French term for a wine that falls between the range of a light red wine and a dark rosé
Claret
The British term for red wines from Bordeaux. Originally the wines were quite pale or nearly clear in color, giving rise to the term clairet.
Clarity
Referring to the amount of suspended particulate matter in a wine, clarity is described in terms of the wine’s reflective quality; brilliant, clear, dull or hazy. A pronounced haziness may signify spoilage, while brilliant, clear or dull wines are generally sound.
Classic
German classification category for dry wine
Classico
An Italian term for the historical or "classic" center of a wine region — sometimes located in the heart of a DOC.
Clean
Fresh on the palate and free of any off-taste.
Cleanskin
In Australia, wine bottled without a commercial label, usually sold cheaply in bulk quantities.
Climat
French term for a vineyard site defined by its micro-climate and various other aspects of terroir. The term is most commonly associated with Burgundy.
Climate
The long-term weather pattern—including temperature, precipitation and hours of sunshine—in a specific region. In contrast, weather is associated with a specific event, such as a hailstorm.
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Clonal Selection
Vineyard management term for a technique by which dead or under-performing vines are replaced with new vines grown from a single superior vine, or mother vine.
Clone
A group of vines originating from a single, individual plant propagated asexually from a single source. Clones are selected for the unique qualities of the grapes and wines they yield, such as flavor, productivity and adaptability to growing conditions.
Clos
A French term used to describe a walled vineyard, such as Clos du Vougeot in Burgundy.
Closed
Describes wines that are concentrated and have character, yet are shy in aroma or flavor. Closed wines may open up to reveal more flavors and aromas with aging or aeration.
Cloudiness
Lack of clarity to the eye. Fine for old wines with sediment, but it can be a warning signal of protein instability, yeast spoilage or re-fermentation in the bottle in younger wines. Cloudiness may also represent a deliberate choice by the winemaker not to filter a wine.
Cloying
Describes ultra-sweet or sugary wines that lack the balance provided by acid, alcohol, bitterness or intense flavor.
Coarse
Usually refers to texture, and in particular, excessive tannin or oak. Also used to describe harsh bubbles in sparkling wines.
Coates Law of Maturity
A principle relating to the aging ability of wine that states that a wine will remain at its peak (or optimal) drinking quality for as long as it took to reach the point of maturity. For example, if a wine is drinking at its peak at 1 year of age, it will continue drinking at its peak for another year.
Cold Duck
A mixture of red and white sparkling wine that has a high sugar content.
Cold Stabilization
A clarification technique that can prevent the formation of crystals in wine bottles. Prior to bottling, the wine's temperature is lowered to approximately 30° F for two weeks, causing the tartrates and other solids to precipitate out of solution. The wine is then easily racked off (separated from) the solids.
Colheita
Portuguese term for a harvest
Commercial wine
A mass-produced wine aimed for a wide market of consumers made according to a set formula, year after year. These wines tend to emphasis broad appeal and easy drink-ability rather than terroir or craftsmanship.
Commune
French term for village.
Complexity
An element in all great wines and many very good ones; a combination of richness, depth, flavor intensity, focus, balance, harmony and finesse.
Compte
Classification system used in the Armagnac and Cognac region based on the age of the spirit ranging from 00 for a newly distilled spirit to 2 for a VS ("Very Special"), 4 for a VSOP Reserve, 6 for a Napoleon XO (extra old) and 10 for a the longest aged XO.
Consorzio
Italian term for a trade organization of wine producers. Often members of individual consorzio will have their wines packaged with a specific neck label that identifies their membership in the consorzio.
Cooked
Describes a dull, stewed flavor associated with wines adversely affected by excessive heat during shipping or storage.
Cooperage
The facility where wine barrels are made.
Cooperative
Winemaking organization that is jointly owned by a number of growers who pool their resources and vineyards to produce wine under one label
Cordon training
A method of vine training. Unlike cane pruning where the trunk itself is the only permanent, inflexible piece of the vine, cordon trained vines have one or two woody arms extending from the top of the trunk. These are then spur pruned.
Cork
A wine bottle stopper made from the thick outer bark of the cork oak tree.
Corkage Fee
The fee charged by restaurants when guests bring their own bottle of wine rather than ordering from the wine list.
Corked
Describes a wine having the off-putting, musty, moldy-newspaper flavor and aroma and dry aftertaste caused by a tainted cork.
Corkscrew
A tool, comprising a pointed metallic helix attached to a handle, for drawing Corks from bottles.
Coteaux
French term for the hillside or slopes of a hill region that is not contiguous.
Coulure
During flowering in the spring, wind and rain as well as chemical deficiencies can keep grapevine flowers from being properly fertilized, causing these flowers to drop off the cluster. This dropping of flowers is called coulure, or shatter. Since each flower is responsible for a grape, the cluster of grapes that eventually forms is loose and missing grapes. If the improperly fertilized flower stays attached, it produces a puny, seedless grape called a "shot" grape. Although the yield is reduced, there is a corresponding benefit—loose clusters that allow for increased air circulation are less susceptible to rot in humid conditions.
Country Wine
A quality level intermediate between table wine and quality wine, which in France is known as vin de pays. Also a synonym for Fruit wine.
Country wine
A quality level intermediate between table wine and quality wine, which in France is known as vin de pays and in Italy as Indicazione Geografica Tipica(IGT) . Also a synonym forFruit wine.
Crianza
One of Spain’s quality classifications, it requires that reds are aged for two years, with at least a year in wood, and whites a total of six months.
Crisp
Describes a wine with moderately high acidity; refreshing and bright with a clean finish.
Cru
Meaning "growth" or "vineyard" in French, this term is often used in quality classifications. In Bordeaux, the highest quality wines are called Premiers Crus and in Burgundy, Grands Crus.
Cru Artisan
Bordeaux estate classification below that of Cru Bourgeois
Cru Classé
A French term for an officially classified vineyard or winery.
Crush
Harvest season when the grapes are picked and crushed.
Crémant
French sparkling wine not made in Champagne region.
Cult wines
Wines for which committed buyers will pay large sums of money because of their desirability and rarity.
Cuvaison
The French term for the period of time during alcoholic fermentation when the wine is in contact with the solid matter such as skin, pips, stalks, in order to extract color, flavor and tannin.
Cuve
A large vat used for fermentation.
Cuvee
A blend or special lot of wine.
Cuverie
French term, along with cuvier that refers to the building or room where fermentation takes place. Essentially, the room, building, grange, barn, garage or shed, or other building, used for "making wine." When the grapes are first picked, they arrive at the cuverie.
Cuvée
A blend or special lot of wine.
Cépage
French term for grape variety.
Côtes
French term for the hillside or slopes of one contiguous hill region.

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