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Wine Terms Starting With The Letter 'P'

PH
A chemical measurement of acidity or alkalinity; the higher the pH the weaker the acid. Used by some wineries as a measurement of ripeness in relation to acidity. Low pH wines taste tart and crisp; higher pH wines are more susceptible to bacterial growth. A range of 3.0 to 3.4 is desirable for white wines, while 3.3 to 3.6 is best for reds.
Palate
The flavor or taste of a wine; also referred to as different sections of taste in the mouth. As the wine travels through the mouth, it first contacts the front palate, then the midpalate and finally the back palate, all which can process different tastes, such as sweet, sour and bitter.
Passe-Tout-Grains
A red Burgundy made from Pinot Noir blended with Gamay.
Passito
An Italian term literally translated as "sweet," passito is used in Italy to describe wines that have been made from dried grapes, in the appassimento method. Drying the grapes concentrates the sugars, and the process can be used to make both sweet dessert wines like Recioto as well as dry reds such as Amarone and Sforzato.
Peak
The time when a wine tastes its best - very subjective.
Perfumed
Describes the strong, usually sweet and floral aromas found in some wines, particularly white wines.
Petillant
A French term for lightly sparkling.
Petit château
ABordeaux wineestate that doesn't have any official designation ofclassification.
Ph
A chemical measurement of acidity or alkalinity; the higher the pH the weaker the acid. Used by some wineries as a measurement of ripeness in relation to acidity. Low pH wines taste tart and crisp; higher pH wines are more susceptible to bacterial growth. A range of 3.0 to 3.4 is desirable for white wines, while 3.3 to 3.6 is best for reds.
Phenolics
Tannins, color pigments and flavor compounds originating in the skins, seeds and stems of grapes. Phenolics, which are antioxidants, are more prevalent in red wines than in whites.
Phylloxera
Tiny aphids or root lice that attack Vitis vinifera roots. The vineyard pests were widespread in both Europe and California during the late 19th century, and returned to California in the 1980s.
Pierce's Disease
This bacterial disease, frequently spread by insects such as glassy-winged sharpshooters and blue-green sharpshooters, kills vines within a few years of infestation; there are no known preventatives (other than quarantine) and no known cures. It is a problem in California; both grapegrowers and government organizations are working to find solutions to stop the disease from spreading to healthy vineyards.
Pigéage
French term for punch-down.
Pip
Another term for a grape seed.
Piquant
French term for a simple, quaffing white wine with pleasing fruit structure and balance of acidity.
Plafond Limité de Classement
An allowance within the French AOC system that allows producers to exceed the official maximum limit on yields by as much as 20% in warm weather years. Critics such as wine writerTom Stevens on describes this loophole (also known as "PLC") as "legalized cheating"
Plan Bordeaux
A proposal for enhancing the economic status of the wine industry in Bordeaux.
Plateau
The time during which a wine is at its peak.
Plonk
British English slang for an inexpensive bottle of wine. The term is thought to originate from the French word for white wine, "blanc".
Podere
Italian term for a small wine estate
Polyphenol
Chemical compounds found in plant life. In grapes, polyphenols are responsible for skin pigment, tannins and flavors—all of which fall under the category of flavonoids—as well as resveratrol, the compound associated with many of wine's health benefits, and which falls under the much smaller polyphenol category of non-flavonoids. Pertaining to wine, grape skins, seeds and stems contain the highest concentrations of polyphenols.
Polyphenolic Ripeness
Also known as physiological ripeness, is the concentration of polyphenols in grape skins, seeds and stems, in contrast to the traditional form of measuring ripeness based on sugar content (Brix, Baumé, Oechsle). It has become a trend among vintners to rely more on polyphenolic ripeness than on sugar levels in recent years, as polyphenols are the source of wine's color, flavor and mouthfeel. As grapes mature, particularly in warmer climates, sugar levels frequently rise faster than polyphenol concentrations. Leaving grapes on the vine longer to achieve polyphenolic ripeness has led to an increase in alcohol levels due to higher sugar contents, particularly in California.
Pomace
The mass of grape solids—skins, stems and seeds—remaining after pressing (for whites) and after the wine has been drained from the fermentation vessel (for reds).
Port
A sweet fortified wine, which is produced from grapes grown and processed in the Douro region of Portugal. This wine is fortified with the addition of distilled grape spirits in order to boost the alcohol content and stop fermentation thus preserving some of the natural grape sugars. Several imitations are made throughout the world.
Potassium sorbate
A wine stabilizer and preservative.
Potent
Intense and powerful.
Pourriture noble
Italian term for noble rot
Premier cru
French term for a "First growth". Used mostly in conjunction with the wines ofBurgundyandChampagnewhere the term is regulated.
Premium wines
Higher quality classification of wine above every day drinking table wines. While premium wines maybe very expensive there is no set price point that distinguishes when a wine becomes a "premium wine." Premium wines generally have more aging potential than every day quaffing wines.
Press
After fermentation, the mixture of red grape juice, skins, lees and other solids is pressed to separate the juice from the solids. Because extended skin contact is undesirable for white wines, white grapes are pressed before fermentation.
Press Wine (Or Pressing)
The juice extracted under pressure after pressing for white wines and after fermentation for reds. Press wine has more flavor and aroma, deeper color and often more tannins than free-run juice.
Press Wine (or Pressing)
The juice extracted under pressure after pressing for white wines and after fermentation for reds. Press wine has more flavor and aroma, deeper color and often more tannins than free-run juice. Wineries often blend a portion of press wine back into the main cuvée for added backbone.
Primary aromas
The aromas in wine derived from the grapes themselves and are considered part of the varietal character or typicity of the grape variety. This is opposed to the secondary aromas which come from the fermentation and maturation process and the tertiary aromas which come from aging processin the bottle.
Private Reserve
This description, along with Reserve, once stood for the best wines a winery produced, but lacking a legal definition many wineries use it or a spin-off (such as Proprietor's Reserve) for rather ordinary wines. Depending upon the producer, it may still signify excellent quality.
Produced And Bottled By
Indicates that the winery crushed, fermented and bottled at least 75 percent of the wine in the bottle.
Produttore
Italian term for a wine producer.
Propriétaire
French term for the owner of a wine estate.
Protected Designation of Origin/PDO
Wine labeling term introduced to the European Union in 2009 to replace the Quality Wines Produced in Specified Regions(QWPSR) designation. Used to denote a wine from a region with more specification and regulations than a generic Geographic Indication(GI)
Protected Geographical Indication/PGI
Wine labeling term introduced to the European Union in 2009 to replace the "Table Wine" designation. Used to denote a wine with lower specification and regulation than that with a PDO or GI designation.
Pruning
The process of trimming the vine. Determining how many buds to leave on the vine, the grower decides the number of bunches and the maximum quantity of fruit each vine can bear in the coming year.
Pruny
Having the flavor of overripe, dried-out grapes. Can add complexity in the right dose.
Prädikatswein
German quality classification indicating wines with distinction and including Germany’s best wines. Prädikatswein is divided into six classes of ascending ripeness at harvest: kabinett, spätlese, auslese, beerenauslese, eiswein and trockenbeerenauslese. Sugar is never added to these wines. The Prädikatswein classification was formerly known as Qualitätswein mit Prädikat.
Puckery
Describes highly tannic and very dry wines.
Pump-Over
Also known as remontage, the process of pumping red wine up from the bottom of the tank and splashing it over the top of the fermenting must; the purpose is to submerge the skins so that carbon dioxide is pushed to the surface of the must and released.
Punch-Down
Also known as pigéage, the process of breaking up the thick layer of skins, stems and seeds that forms at the surface of fermenting red wine and submerging it during fermentation to extract color, tannins, flavor and aromas from the grape solids.
Puncheon
A wine barrel that holds approximately 84 U.S. gallons (318 litres).
Pungent
Having a powerful, assertive smell linked to a high level of volatile acidity.
Punt
The dimple or indentation in the bottom of a bottle, originally meant to strengthen hand-blown glass containers; now mostly for show, except in sparkling wine bottles. Bottles for Champagne and sparkling wines, which must withstand extra pressure, have especially deep punts.
Puttonyos
In Hungary, the measurement of sweetness levels for Tokajiranging from 3 Puttonyos, which contains at least 60 grams/liter of sugar, to 6 Puttonyos containing at least 150 g/l of sugar.
Pétillant
French term for a lightly sparkling wine

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