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Pop Glossary

BRUT: The driest of dry champagnes, Brut champagnes are even drier than those labeled "extra dry." Make sense?

CUVÉE: A blend of many non-sparkling wines designed to become a well-balanced sparkling wine.

EXTRA DRY: Don't let its name fool you – Extra Dry champagnes are only fairly dry and have some residual sugar. They're sweeter than their Brut compatriots. Also "extra sec."

EXTRA SEC: A French term meaning extra dry.

DEMI SEC: A French term meaning "half dry," used to describe a sweet sparkling wine.

DOSAGE: Sometimes winemakers will add this syrupy mixture of sugar and wine (and – get this – sometimes Brandy) immediately before final bottling to increase the level of sweetness.

FERMENTATION: It's how grape juice becomes wine. Technically called the primary fermentation, it's a natural chain of chemical reactions where the sugars in the grape juice convert into alcohol by yeast.

FLUTE: Not a musical instrument, but rather, a stemmed champagne glass with a tall, slender, cone-shaped bowl.

MOUSSE: Pour a glass of champagne and "mousse" is the foam that forms on the surface. Not dissimilar to the head of a freshly poured glass of beer.

MUSCAT: You're likely more familiar with this grape than you realized – it's used for winemaking, table grapes, and raisins. They're noted for their musky, fresh grape flavor and sweetness and are used in Cook's Spumante and Sparkling Moscato.

RESIDUAL SUGAR: It's what you're tasting when a wine tastes sweet and is the natural grape sugar that is either left over at the end of the fermentation process or added back into the wine, as with a dosage added to a sparkling wine.

ROSÉ: Made from Zinfandel grapes and kept pale in color by quickly removing the skins from the juice after the grapes are pressed, which stops the transfer of color from the grape skin's dark pigments. The resulting color generally varies from pale to brilliant pink.

SECONDARY FERMENTATION: Not once but twice: champagne goes through a second fermentation process before the dosage is added. Spumante: Italian for "sparkling," "foamy," or "frothy".