Here are some technical wine terms to help you navigate the wine and food festivals of the world with as much gusto as the connoisseur general. Start memorizing.
Acid/Acidity:Stuff that makes wine taste sharp. Also contributes to the bouquet and brilliance. Can have too much or too little.Acrid:Describes a wine with overly pronounced acidity.This is often apparent in cheap red wines.
The process of letting a wine “breathe”.
The taste or flavors that linger in the mouth after the wine is tasted, spit, or swallowed.
To let get older under controlled conditions in order to improve flavor.
All wine is aged from a few weeks to many decades.
Aging in barrels is a very slow oxidation, and the barrels can impart flavors to the wine: bottle aging allows the wines to soften and various components within the wine
to harmonize. After a certain point all wine will decline in the bottle.
The whole point. The part of wine that makes you drunk.
Any wine drunk before eating, ostensibly to induce appetite, but in fact as an excuse to start drinking early.
Defines the area where a wine’s grapes were grown such as Bordeaux or Burgundy.
Smell ( Next Question )
A lighter style, fresh , easy to drink wine.
A tasting term, states whether the fruit, acid, wood flavors etc. are in the right proportion.
The art and science of mixing wines and/or spirits.
French word for white.
Hmmmmm……Sort of the oomph a wine has.The flavor( or perhaps the character )
per unit volume.
A liqueur distilled from wine aged in wood.
French word for dry.
Associated with some white wines, notably California Chardonnays. It refers to both flavor and texture or “mouthfeel.”
Fermentation of whole, uncrushed grapes in a carbon dioxide atmosphere.
Any lightish, whitish wine that is sparkling ( ie:fizzy )
The finest of all Brandies aged in oak vats for a minimum of 3 years.
A combination of richness, depth, flavor intensity balance, finesse, and lots of other fancy words that let you know this is a really good wine.
A tasting term, denotes a fresh, young, wine with good acidity.
Slowly and carefully pouring the wine from the bottle.
A tasting term referring to the maturity of a wine.
Not sweet, in the same way that “cold” means not hot…
Describes a wine that tastes of the soil in which it was grown. Red wines most often have this characteristic.
Don’t believe everything you read. What this really denotes is a sweet Champagne.
The process that turns the lowly grape into wonderful wine.
Used to describe the fragrance or taste of some white wines,especially a White Bordeaux. If you can remember what flint smells like when struck with steel you’ll have an idea of this characteristic.
More alcohol !
Having the taste of fruit.
Tasting of un-ripe fruit. Not a bad thing really especially in a Riesling.
Used to describe the smell of a wine high in alcohol.
The taste and smell of herbs in a wine.
- Late harvest:
Wines made from grapes that were allowed to hang on the vine until their sugar content was very high, thus the wine is sweet.
Sediment remaining in a barrel during and after fermentation.
The droplets that form and ease down the sides of a glass when the wine is swirled.
Sweet flavored alcoholic beverage distilled from rum, brandy, or whisky.
During fermentation, the steeping of the grape skins and solids in the wine, to extract color and aroma from the skins.
A secondary fermentation process which occurs naturally in most wines.
Ready to drink.
The method by which real Champagne gets its bubbles.
How a wine feels in your mouth and against the tongue.
The beneficial mold on grapes that causes the grapes to shrivel, concentrating the sugars and flavours.
Generally used to describe a wine without any outstanding characteristics, but with no particular bad ones, either.
Smell again !
New, bottled as soon as possible.
Aroma & Taste of Oak
The feel and taste of wine in the mouth.
Strong, Intense, Powerful
Describes a wine that has a good balance of fruit and tannins, with good body as well.
Term for a wine which does not remain on the palate after swallowing – see ‘finish.’
Used to describe a wine that has few characteristics which follow the initial impression. Not necessarily a disparaging term, it’s often used to describe inexpensive, young wine.
Smoky:Term used to describe a subtle wood-smoke aroma and also some wines that seem
to pick up a smoky aroma from the earth in which they are grown.
- Soft: Term to describe a wine with low acid and gentle tannins.
Term to describe flavors that are spicy.
Describes a wine with well-balanced tannins and fruit characteristics.
Adds dryness and astringency.
Often used to describe a white wine with a nice hint of the wooden barrel in which the wine was stored. Sweeter wines are rarely described this way