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Cantina (It.)


Winemaking cellar, winery.

Carbon dioxide (CO2)


Gas generated during fermentation. Normally most is allowed to escape into the atmosphere. For sparkling wines the CO2 is trapped in the bottle and is responsible for the bubbles. Winemakers often use CO2 to protect juice and wine from oxygen at various stages in the winemaking process.

Carbonic maceration


Special winemaking process in which whole, uncrushed grapes are placed in a sealed tank. Fermentation takes place within the berries, leading to extraction of fruit and colour but minimal tannin, resulting in a soft, early drinking style. Particularly used in Beaujolais and for many vins nouveaux and vins primeurs.

Cats pee


Pungent, even aggressive, aroma found particularly in some Sauvignon Blanc wines.

Cave (Fr.)


Cellar, winery.

Cedar, cedary


A spicy smell of cedar wood, particularly in Cabernet Sauvignon wines.



Literally an underground room. Much winemaking was traditionally done underground, though the term cellar is now used to indicate anywhere that grapes are processed and wines stored and aged. Also, a collection of wine, again not necessarily underground.

Cepage (Fr.)


Grape (vine) variety.

Chambre (Fr.)


At room temperature. In fact most red wines benefit from being served slightly cooler (15-17C) than modern, centrally-heated rooms.

Chaptalization (Fr.)


Enrichment of grape juice with sugar or concentrated must. It is authorised (within limits) in cooler regions where grapes do not achieve adequate natural ripeness.

Charmat method


Technique for producing sparkling wines by second fermentation in tank. Cheaper and easier than bottle fermented, it is generally used for less expensive wines.

Chateau (Fr.)


Castle; wine-producing estate (even if it doesn't have a real castle).

Chocolate, chocolatey


A rich, warm chocolate-like aroma and taste, particularly in red wine.

Classed growth


English translation of the French 'cru class', meaning a wine-producing estate that has been ranked in an official classification (particularly in Bordeaux).

Classico (It.)


Label term appended to several Italian wine names, to indicate the original heart of the zone (e.g. Chianti Classico is the centre of the larger Chianti region).



Sub-variety within a vine variety (grape variety). There are different clones of Chardonnay for example, and clonal selection results in the choice of the clone most suited to local conditions and the vinegrower's requirement for yield, disease resistance, and so on.



A wine with many different layers of flavours and sensations. Complexity is one of the hallmarks of a great wine, as opposed to the one-dimensional simplicity of an easy-drinking wine.

Consejo regulador (Sp.)


Spanish regulatory bodies (there is one for each region), which police the rules of the DO(appellation).

Consorzio (It.)


Consortium of producers whose job is to regulate production within a region, or promote the sales and marketing of its wines.

Co-operative (co-op)


Group of vinegrowers who commonly share winemaking equipment and cellar facilities. Large co-ops often employ a team of winemaking and sales professionals. The vinegrowers bring their grapes to the co-op for processing, are paid according to the quantity they deliver, and later share in the profits generated by sales. The system is particularly useful in regions where there are many growers with small vineyard holdings, and it is not economically viable for each to have winemaking facilities.



Bark of the cork oak tree, and the substance traditionally used to stopper wine bottles. Natural cork stoppers have excellent qualities of elasticity, keeping the wine in the bottle while not allowing air to intrude. It is only quite recently that synthetic substitutes have been developed to try to combat the problem of corked wine.

Corked, corky


Fault in wine caused by a contaminated cork. Corked wine is easier to recognise than to describe: it is woody, mouldy, stale and mouth-puckering.

Cote (Fr.)


Hill. Some of the finest vineyards are found on hillsides rather than on the plain. The term forms part of many French (and some foreign) regional names.

Cremant (Fr.)


Sparkling wine, bottle fermented, produced in France but outside Champagne.

Crianza (Sp.)


Aged. Normally a DO wine must fulfil certain minimum ageing requirements (in barrel and or bottle) before it can be so described.



A wine with a lively, refreshing acidity.



In viticulture, a vine variety bred from two varieties of the same species (usually Vitis vinifera). Not to be confused with a hybrid (two different species).

Cru class (Fr.)


Classed growth. Top level of classification in the Bordeaux region. Wines of the Mdoc and Sauternes were classified in 1855, and the top wines were divided into league tables from First Growth (the best, or rather the most expensive) down to Fifth Growth. The classification has scarcely altered since, and so some Second Growths, for example, rival their First Growth neighbours (in quality if not in price).

Cru (Fr.)


Growth. Used to indicate a particular vineyard site, particularly in Bordeaux.



Machine used to gently crush grapes after they arrive at the winery, breaking the skins and allowing juice to escape.

Cuve close (Fr.)


Charmat method.

Cuve (Fr.)


Vat, tank.

Cuve (Fr.)


Particular lot of wine. The top wine of an estate, for example, is sometimes referred to as the prestige cuve.

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