MACABEU White grape variety grown in Roussillon that produces a wine that is pleasant when consumed young. It has a touch of acidity and aromas of pineapple and apricot.
MACERATION Stage of red wine production in which the solid parts of the grape are in contact with the juice to impart their aromas, color and tannins.
MADEIRIZED Said of a white wine that develops an amber color and oxidized flavor when aged that is reminiscent of Madeira. A madeirized wine is past its prime and considered to be defective.
MAGNUM Large bottle equivalent to two normal 750 ml wine bottles.
MALBEC Name used in Bordeaux for the Cot grape variety.
MALIC ACID Acid naturally present in many wines that is transformed into lactic acid during malolactic fermentation.
MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION The transformation of malic acid into lactic acid and CO2 , a process that makes a wine less acidic. Lactobacteria perform this operation. Fermentation is initiated automatically and sometimes takes several weeks, especially in cold climates.
MANSENG Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng are the two main grape varieties used in Jurançon and the AOCs of Southwest France. Gros Manseng produces dry, fresh whites with delicate aromas, while Petit Manseng is well suited for the production of sweet wines from overripe grapes, such as Jurançon Sweet Wines, which are known for their tropical fruit aromas.
MARC Solid matter that remains after pressing. Often distilled to obtain marc brandy in Champagne and Burgundy, which is more commonly known by its Italian name, grappa.
MARSANNE White variety that is mostly cultivated in the Hermitage region of the Rhone Valley. This variety is less acidic than Roussanne and offers intense aromas of violet, hawthorn and acacia.
MASCULINE Said of a wine that is robust, full-bodied and powerful.
MATURATION Operations that begin after malolactic fermentation and when the wine is bottled. Maturation is designed to stabilize the wine, clarify it and encourage the creation of more complex aromas that increase the quality of the wine. This maturation, which occurs in a vat or barrel, must be distinguished from bottle maturation, during which the wine continues to evolve and produce new aromas once it has been bottled.
MAUZAC White variety cultivated in Midi around Toulouse and in Languedoc that produces a delicate wine that should be enjoyed young. Its is also used to produce AOC sparkling wines in Gaillac, not far from Toulouse.
MELLOW Said of a wine, especially an older wine, in which the different characteristics blend harmoniously together to form a homogenous whole. A mellow wine is automatically well balanced, which can make tasting very difficult. It is so pleasant that it is hard to distinguish the individual aromas.
MELON Name used in Burgundy for the variety known as Muscadet in the area around Nantes. It produces a white wine that can be enjoyed young or after being aged sur lie.
MERLOT Early-ripening red variety produced in Bordeaux that is sensitive to frost and fungi, but offers velvety tannins and powerful, but well-balanced aromas of red fruit and spices that make it a valuable blending grape. Combined with Cabernet, it produces excellent wines with good aging potential, particularly in St. Emilion and Pomerol.
MÉTHODE CHAMPENOISE A technique for producing sparkling wine that is the same as that used for making champagne. This technique, which is used in many appellations, is also known in French as the méthode traditionnelle.
METHUSELAH Large bottle used in Champagne and Burgundy equivalent to 8 standard bottles. Same size as an Imperial.
MILDEW Disease caused by a parasitic fungus that attacks the foliage and stems of the grapevines.
MISTELLE Fresh grape juice that is high in sugar for which the fermentation process has been stopped by the addition of alcohol. Mistelle falls into the category of fortified wine, and the most well known examples are Pineau des Charentes and Floc de Gascogne.
MONDEUSE Red variety grown in Savoie and Dauphiné that produces a brightly colored, powerful wine with aromas of fruit and spices that can be aged for approximately five years.
MOURVEDRE Red variety grown in Provence that produces wines with the potential to age very well.
MOUSSEUX French term for sparkling wines that are designated as table wines or as V.Q.P.R.D.
MUSCADELLE White variety grown in Bordeaux that is often blended with Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc. It is susceptible to disease, but produces a sought-after wine with complex aromas if yields are kept low.
MUSCADET Another name for the Melon variety when it is planted in the Muscadet region.
MUSCATY Said of an odor that evokes musk, often found in the bottle bouquets of some Vins Doux Naturels that are made from Muscat, a highly aromatic variety.
MUSKY Said of an odor that evokes musk, often found in the bottle bouquets of older red wines.
MUST The sweet pulpy liquid extracted from the grape once the stems have been stripped away.
MUTAGE The process of interrupting the fermentation of grape must by adding vinic alcohol. It is used to create Vins Doux Naturels.
MUZZLE Wire cage that covers champagne corks.