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Term Definition

Pronounced: San-jee-o-vay-zee

A red grape that produces a variety of wines, with flavours as varied as prunes to meat. It is the most planted grape in Italy and is used to produce one of the country's most famous wines: Chianti. A clone of Sangiovese is Brunello, which is used to produce Montalcino (pronounced Mont-al-cheeno). Another clone, (Vino Nobile) is used to produce Montepulciano (pronounced Mont-a-pull-char-no). Bad examples of Sangiovese are light and tart.

Sauvignon Blanc

Pronounced: So-vin-yon Blon

A white grape which produces refreshing wines with crisp acidity and aromatic flavours of green fruits and grass. These wines are best drunk young and without any oak ageing.

Sauvignon Blanc prefers to be grown in cooler regions, with the best examples coming from Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume (Loire, France) and Marlborough (South Island, New Zealand). When grown in too hot a climate, the freshness, acidity and aromas are lost. It is rarely oaked as this also causes the grapes' characteristics to be lost.


A German term which means harmoniously dry which must be of a single grape type, from a single vineyard, from a single year/vintage, with a certain level of alcohol and a minimum level of ripeness. Oh, and from one of the best vineyards in Germany (see 'Einzellage').


Pronounced: Sem-ee-yon

This thin-skinned white grape is particularly susceptible to botrytis and is the majority grape in Sauternes and Barsac sweet wines - where it is blended 4:1 with Sauvignon Blanc (and a small proportion of Muscadelle).

It also produces dry wines in Graves (Bordeaux, France), Hunter Valley (Australia), South Africa. The dry wines are produced using grapes that have been picked very early so as not to be sweet.

Sémillon wines are rich, full-bodied, with flavours including figs and citrus fruits.


Pronounced: Sheer-raz

Another name for the Syrah grape. While Syrah is a French term, countries such as Australia have made the Shiraz name very well known. See Syrah for more details.


German term for Pinot Noir. Notable producer is Assmannshausen (in Rheingau). Typically, these wines are light-bodied with aromas of strawberry, leather, toast, vanilla, clove and nutmeg.


A term for a wine made from fully ripened grapes. Spätlese means 'Late Harvest' referring to the fact that the grapes are harvested 7 days after the normal harvest. It is the lowest level of the late-harvest wines, but is above Kabinett in terms of ripeness.It may be dry ('Trocken') or sweet. The subsequent levels are (in inreasing ripeness): Auslese, Beerenauslese, Trockenbeerenauslese.


Usually the first taste sensation picked up due to the taste receptors responsible for sweetness being at the tip of the tongue. Sweetness can only be experienced through taste; sweetness cannot be picked up from smelling a wine (however much you think it can, it can't!)


Pronounced: Tsi-ra

Also known as Shiraz (in the New World), this grape is best known from Rhone Valley wines.

This grape produces two distinct styles of wine. The first (usually from New World countries such as Australia) are big, muscular, flavour-full wines (with blackberry, vanilla - due to oak ageing - and black pepper).

The other style is from Old World regions (esp. Rhone Valley, France),


Süßreserve literally means "sweet reserve". It refers to unfermented grape must which can be added to a wine as a sweetening component. This may be used when a wine has not naturally achieved the sweetness required. The method also reduces the alcohol level in the wine (because süssreserve is unfermented it is non-alcoholic). Each country will have rules allowing or forbidding the addition of süssreserve.

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