LACTIC Lactic acid. Acid obtained from malolactic fermentation. This type of fermentation produces characteristic dairy aromas (butter, crème fraîche, and fresh yogurt), which make the wine more pleasant and its alcohol content less pronounced.
LATE HARVEST Regulatory term that refers to some off-dry and sweet wines in Alsace that are produced from overripe grapes that are high in residual sugars. It can be applied to Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Tokay-Pinot Gris.
LEES Deposits consisting of the dead yeast when it has finished the fermentation process. Some wines are matured sur lie (on the lees) to enrich their aromas. The lees also help stabilize the wines.
LEGS See TEARS
LIGHT Said of a wine that is not highly colored or robust, but balanced and pleasant. In general, these wines should be enjoyed when young. Beaujolais Nouveau is a good example of a light wine.
LIMPID Said of a wine that is clear and bright with no suspended matter.
LIVELY Said of a fresh, pleasant light wine with acidity that is noticeable, but not overwhelming.
LONG Used to describe a wine’s finish, or the lasting sensation it leaves on the palate after tasting.