Ten Wine Tasting Terminologies Used In The World Of Wine Tasting
Anyone new to the wine world may have noticed certain terminologies that are used and that they can be confusing. For instance; the term earthy may lead the taster to assume the wine may taste like dirt and berries, when it actually is referring to the how the grapes are grown in rocks. When a new wine taster learns the top ten tasting terminologies used in the world of wine tasting they will have a better dialogue with the wine maker and what flavors they really desire.
Acidity –This is term is one of the most common terms used in wine tasting. As many know acidity in certain other elements like vinegar or citrus fruit makes those things taste tart, or anything that they are in more intense. On one side if a wine lacks acidity it will tend to taste flat; and on the other spectrum if a one is too acidic it may over power all the other flavors. When a wine is not properly stored; it will have a very acidic after taste that many refer to that of vinegar.
Dry –This term can be confusing to new wine drinkers; some think of dry wines as having no sweetness. However; some wines can be dry and sweet like certain Ports. Many new wine tastes will confuse the other wine term tannins when referring to the sweet factor. The basic way to tell if a wine is dry is that it is the opposite of sweet wine, such as a Riesling.
Tannic –When you get that drying sensation in your mouth after tasting a wine that is the tannins in the wine; it mainly refers to young red wines. As a wine begins to age the tannins do fade; since the term is affiliated to a certain compound found in the skins of the grape. Some wines can seem almost astringent, creating a pucker reaction as you taste the wine.
Sweet –A sweet wine can mean a variety of things; one being the residual sugar that comes with the aging process of certain grapes. Muscat, Ports, and Sauternes are wines that are asscociated with the term sweet. On the other hand; sweet can be referred to the fruity flavors found in certain wines, which does not mean it is actually sweet with sugar but sweet with the fruit flavors.
Spicy –Wine makers like to use other ingredients along with grapes when making or blending their wines. Wines that contain hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, or clove will relate to the aromas of these spices in the wine.
Finish –Think of this term as the aftertaste the wine has on your palette. High quality wines will linger their flavors which can be detected easily. A bad finish tends to leave a bitter aftertaste, again that pucker mouth feeling after tasting the wine. Many wine tasters will remark a good wine having a smooth finish.
Velvety –Think of the texture of soft ice cream, smooth and velvety, this applies to wine as well. There some wines that can leave a gritty aftertaste due to the process of making it. Usually this term is associated with a full-bodied red wine that is complex in its flavors but has a soft and smooth mouth feel.
Oaky –As many wine lovers know this term is either loved or hated. Oaky is one of the most common wine terms in the industry and can take on many different properties of a wine, Generally, oaky wines are white wines that often lend vanilla woody aromas. Some charred oaks can even resemble the characteristics of chocolate and coffee, which are often associated with a full bodied red wine.
Corked –There is no association with the actual flavor of the cork and how it influences the wine. This is more of a technical reference that the wine has bits of cork in the wine. The wine has been flawed due being exposed to a compound known as TCA. This usually is the result of mold infecting the cork, then contaminating the wine. Some wine tasters will refer the taste to that of a wet dog, mold, or a newspaper.
Bouquet –Like the aroma of a bouquet of flowers so is the term used for the aroma of wine. Some wines have a fruity and oaky aroma while others are spicy.
Aroma –The first thing a taster will do is swirl the wine around the glass; this will release the aromas of the wine. Then they will place the rim of the glass close their face and “nose” dive in to the glass. Thus the other term closely related to the aroma is the “nose” of the wine.
There are many wine terminologies that are used beyond this top ten; however these are the most common terms that can make you understand what you want and how to ask for it. The more you taste wine; the better you will understand these terms, so drink up.
One of her most memorable moments as a chef was her month long journey in the Napa Valley. Here she discovered incredible food and wine pairings as well as interesting ways to taste wine.