Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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rancio, imprecise tasting term used in many languages for a distinctive style of wine, often fortified wine or vin doux naturel, achieved by deliberately maderizing the wine by exposing it to oxygen and/or heat. The wine may be stored in barrels in hot storehouses (as for some of Australia’s topaque and muscat), or immediately under the rafters in a hot climate (as for some of roussillon’s vins doux naturels), or in glass bonbonnes left out of doors and subjected to the changing temperatures of night and day (as in parts of Spain). The word rancio has the same root as ‘rancid’ and the wines which result have an additional and powerful smell reminiscent of overripe fruit, nuts, and melted, or even rancid, butter.