“It may all be summed up by saying with Seneca, and with Flaccus before him, that we must write just as the bees make honey, not keeping the flowers but turning them into a sweetness of our own, blending many very different flavors into one, which shall be unlike them all, and better.” Petrarch to Boccaccio, 1365 (photo snapped in August at the Ca’ del Bosco winery in Franciacorta).
“Such is the fate of hapless lexicography,” wrote the great 19th-century English lexicographer Samuel Johnson in the preface to his 1755 dictionary, “that not only darkness, but light, impedes and distresses it; things may be not only too little, but too much known, to be happily illustrated.”
I’ve been reminded of this all-too-true observation as I continue to expand my Italian wine terms glossary (see the updated and revised version below).
Many have written me expressing their support for the project while others have rightly pointed out oversights and errors.
Like translation, lexicography is an inexact science and I apologize for my inadvertences in the hope that the overarching spirit and intent of my work eclipse my shortcomings. But, alas, I am only human — all too human.
This most recent version includes revisions and notes from my friend Maurizio Gily, one of Italy’s greatest wine writers (imho) and consulting enologists.
Justifiably, he nudged me to revise my entries for giropoggio and ritocchino (see below). There are no precise English renderings of these terms (at least as far as I can find). But I did discover that ritocchino may have Tuscan origins and that it most probably derives from the Italian china (KEE-nah) or slope.
Another revision worth noting was suggested to me by both Maurizio and Finnish winemaker Jarkko Peränen who lives and works in Chianti Classico: alberello, which, as both of them correctly observed, should be rendered head-trained bush vines (see the revised entry below).
Not that it has any bearing here, but my research led me to this wonderful entry in UNESCO’s “intangible cultural heritage” list on the “head-trained bush vines” of Pantelleria (worth checking out).
As I continue to expand, revise, and edit the project, I encourage everyone in our community to offer suggestions, corrections, and observations. It is a work in fieri and its hypertextual nature is what makes it so valuable (for me personally and, I hope, for our community at large).
I only ask you to be gentle in your disapprobation for I am only a man of modest intellectual means who is trying to see through both the darkness and the light.
Post scriptum: a hand-list of sparkling wine terminology is also forthcoming.
|a giropoggio||vines planted across a slope (along the contour of the slope; compare with a ritocchino)|
|a ritocchino||vines planted up and down a slope (from peak to valley, as it were; compare with a giropoggio)|
|acciaio [inossidabile]||stainless-steel [vat/tank]|
|acinellatura||millerandage [alt.: shot berries, hens and chicks, or pumpkins and peas]|
|alberello||head-trained bush vines|
|arresto di fermentazione||stuck fermentation|
|barrique||barrique [small French oak cask]|
|bâtonnage||stirring on the lees|
|botte||traditional large cask|
|Cabernet [Sauvignon]||Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Cabernet Franc||Cabernet Franc|
|capo a frutto||fruit cane|
|cappello sommerso||submerged cap maceration|
|cordone speronato||cordon-trained spur-pruned [vines]|
|cru||vineyard designation/single vineyard|
|délestage||rack and return|
|diradamento||pruning/thinning grapes/dropping fruit|
|diserbante termico||weed torch/weed flamer|
|DOC||DOC [designation of controlled origin]|
|DOCG||DOCG [designation of controlled and guaranteed origin]|
|DOP||PDO [Protected Designation of Origin]|
|doppio capovolto||double-arched cane [training]|
|esca||esca [alt.: black dead arm or black measles]|
|escursione termica||[diurnal] temperature variation|
|fermentazione arrestata||stuck fermentation|
|flavescenza dorata||grapevine yellows (flavescence dorée)|
|galestro||galestro [a marl- and limestone-rich subsoil unique to Tuscany]|
|giropoggio||vines planted across a slope (along the contour of the slope; compare with a ritocchino)|
|grappolo spargolo||loosely clustered grape bunch|
|IGP||PGI [Protected Geographical Indication]|
|IGT||IGT [typical geographical indication]|
|lievito naturale||native/ambient/indigenous/wild yeast|
|lievito selezionato||cultured yeast|
|macchia mediterranea||Mediterranean maquis [shrubland]|
|maestrale (vento di maestrale)||north-westerly wind|
|monovitigno||single-grape variety [wine]|
|oidio||oidium [powdery mildew]|
|peronospora||peronospora [downy mildew]|
|pied de cuve||pied de cuve [native yeast starter]|
|pirodiserbatore||weed torch/weed flamer|
|ritocchino||vines planted up and down a slope (from peak to valley, as it were; compare with a giropoggio)|
|sabbia/sabbioso||sand/sandy [sandy soil]|
|Sauvignon [Blanc]||Sauvignon Blanc|
|scacchiatura||shoot-thinning and disbudding|
|sistema di allevamento||training/trellis system|
|sovescio||cover crop/green manure|
|spargolo (grappolo spargolo)||loosely clustered (grape bunch)|
|spollonatura||disbudding and suckering|
|stress idrico||hydric stress|
|sulle bucce||skin contact [macerated on the skins]|
|sulle fecce nobili||lees aged [aged on its lees]|
|sur lie||lees aged [aged on its lees]|
|svinatura||racking (devatting, drawing off)|
|tignola della vite||vine moth [Eupoecilia ambiguella]|
|tufo||tufaceous subsoil [porous limestone]|
|vento di maestrale||north-westerly wind|