M - WineUncorked: Wine Reviews and Tips

Maceration

Part of the wine-making process where the grape juice is in contact with the grape solids such as skins, flesh, seeds and stems.

Madeira

Portuguese fortified wine given a particular character through oxidation and aging. The Duke of Clarence, facing execution in the 15th century, is said to have opted to be drowned in a vat of madeira.

Maderized

Wine having an oxidised character similar to madeira.

Magnum

A large wine bottle with a capacity of 1.5 litres, equivalent to two normal size bottles. 

Malbec

Dark purple grape grown around the world which makes robust red wines.

Malic acid

Acid which produces the sourness in fruits. In wine it adds a flavour of green apples.

Malolactic fermentation

Process by which malic acid is converted into lactic acid, making a wine smoother and creamier.

Manipulant

French term for a wine estate which both grows grapes and makes its own wine. 'Grower Champagne' is produced by the estate that grows the grapes, and the label will be marked RM for Récoltant-Manipulant.

Marc

The solid remains of the grapes once the juice has been pressed out, also known as pomace. Can also refer to the liquid extracted in each pressing.

Mas

French word for a vineyard.

Masculine

Wines with strong flavours and robust tannins are sometimes described as masculine.

Maso, Masseria

Italian terms meaning a wine-making estate.

Master of Wine (MW)

Qualification denoting significant expertise in wine and wine-making techniques.

Mature

A wine that is ready to drink. Some wines can be left to mature for longer and will continue to improve.

May wine

A German white wine infused with the herb woodruff. Served in the spring, often with pieces of strawberry floating in it.

Mead

Alcoholic drink made from fermented honey.

Medicinal

Wine tasting term indicating a combination of sweetness and bitterness like an ointment or cough mixture. Can be the result of Brettanomyces.

Medium bodied

Wines with middling body - not light and not heavy.

Médoc

Wine region in Bordeaux, on the Left Bank.

Melchior

Large wine bottle with a capacity of 18 litres, equivalent to 24 normal wine bottles. 

Melchizedek

Large wine bottle with a capacity of 30 litres, equivalent to 40 normal wine bottles. 

Meritage

Californian term for American wines made using Bordeaux grape varieties.

Merlot

Versatile blue-skinned grape grown around the world. Often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Merlot-to-go law

US wine law which allows restaurant customers to take home an unfinished bottle of wine. Also known as 'cork and carry'.

Mesoclimate

Climatic conditions in a specific small area where grapes are grown, such as a single vineyard, valley or hillside.

Méthode champenoise

Method of sparkling wine manufacture where the second fermentation, which produces the fizz, takes place in the bottle. Also known as méthode traditionelle, the traditional method or the Champagne method.

Methuselah

Large wine bottle with a capacity of 6 litres, equivalent to eight normal wine bottles.

Metodo charmat

Wine-making method where fermentation takes place under press in stainless steel vats. Also known as the Italian method (metodo Italiano).

Metodo classico/metodo tradizionale

Italian terms for sparking wine made to using the méthode champenoise.

Metodo Italiano

Wine-making method where fermentation takes place under press in stainless steel vats. Also known as the Charmat method.

Microclimate

Climatic conditions in a very small area, for example a single row of grape vines.

Micro oxygenation

Adding small amounts of oxygen to wine during fermentation or maturation, effectively speeding up the aging process.

Micro vinification

Barrel fermentation, rather than making wine in large vats.

Mid-palate

The wine flavours sensed after the initial flavour (attack) and before the finish, which are the bulk of the wine's taste.

Millerandage

French term indicating that the grapes have matured at different rates, so grapes in the same bunch vary in size and ripeness.

Millésime

French word for vintage, the year the wine was made and bottled.

Mineral

Mineral and minerality refer to salty and flinty flavours found in some wines.

Mis en bouteille au château

French phrase meaning the wine was bottled at the winery.

Mistelle/mistela

French and Spanish words for a fortified wine made by adding alcohol to partially-fermented grape juice.

Moelleux

French term for wines with middling sweetness.

Monocepage

French term for a wine made from a single grape variety.

Monopole

French term for a wine made from grapes which come from a single vineyard.

Mousey

Wine fault resulting in musky, mouse-like flavours. Can be caused by Brettanomyces.

Mousse

The bubbles in a sparkling wine.

Mousseux

French general term for sparkling wine.

Mouth feel

The feel of the wine in the mouth, as distinct from its flavours. Influenced by acidity and tannin.

Mouth filling

Wines which feel like they fill the mouth with flavour.

Mulled wine

Hot, spiced wine traditionally served around Christmas time.

Muscular

Concentrated wines with strong tannins are sometimes described as muscular.

Must

Freshly crushed grapes, including the juice, skins, flesh, seeds and stems.

Musty

Wine tasting term for wines with damp, mould-like aromas and flavours.

Mutage

Making fortified wines by adding alcohol to partially-fermented grape juice to stop fermentation while there is still some sugar in the juice.

MW

A Master of Wine.

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