Wine Glossary: L to N


Lean — Wines that are thin and simplistic, lacking body and complexity.

Lees — Solid residue, such as the remains of yeast, pulp, pips and skins, that are present in the cask. In order to keep some wines from oxidizing and to improve their textures and complexity, these wines are “kept on their lees” for a longer time. In this way, the addition of less sulfur is possible, but great care and expertise is important to prevent the creation of undesirable aromas.

Legs — The “streaks” that form on the inside of a wineglass bowl, a technique used to evaluate the alcohol concentration present. The higher the alcohol content, the more pronounced the legs. Also, a term used to define the balance and complexity of a wine; a wine may have “good legs.”

Length — The lingering aftertaste that evolves in the mouth. The length is regarded as the most reliable indicator of the quality of the wine. (See Aftertaste, Finish)

Light-Bodied — A wine with delicate flavors, texture and aromas

Lively — Young, fruity and vivacious flavor


Malolactic — A secondary fermentation; malic acid is converted into less tart lactic acid and carbon dioxide. This process comes after alcoholic fermentation, essential in red wines. It is a process used by vintners in hot regions because their grape crops are generally low acidity. (See acidity) (See also Primary Fermentation)

Medium-Bodied — A wine with solid, but not rich weight and texture

Middle Palate — How wine overall affects the mouth; the tasting experience after the nose of the wine and its finish.

Mouth Feel — The physical, tactile affect of a wine in the mouth.

Must — Unfermented grape juice; in the process of being fermented into wine.


Nose — The smell of wine. (See Aroma or Bouquet)

Notes — The specific, identifiable aromas of wine such as fruity, floral, nutty, chocolaty, earthy, mineral, of leather.  (See Oaky, Bouquet)