Wine Lingo - Words 4 Wine.

The reason wine “lingo” was created was to assist in the description and discussion of wine. Or maybe it was created to sound pretentious or part of a secret society. Either way, using these words helps others understand your interpretation of the wine. Keep in mind, it is not necessary to use any prescribed language. You can describe a wine in any terms you want. As you may have noticed, SIP makes up wine words all the time. Think of wine tasting terms as those that describe how the wine smells and those that describe how it tastes or feels.

The following are a few basic tasting terms you may have heard:

Acidic: A sharp, tart taste. Strict like SIP's 5th grade teacher, Mrs Pepper.

Aftertaste: Do we really need to tell you what that means?

Aromatic: A term used to describe the wine’s bouquet. The smell. It's fun to compare what you think you smell and to the winemaker's notes to discover what you should smell. Hmm...really?

Bitter: This describes a taste not how you feel. Usually associated with younger wines, therefore a good term to remember when describing the Beaujolais nouveau or how Sip feels about women younger than me. Not all the time, just sometimes :)

Body: How the wine feels in the mouth. Light, medium or full depending on the wine’s alcohol and extract. Wine can be as thin like water or thick like milk.

Clean: A wine that doesn’t taste funny, which is a good thing.

Closed: Used to describe the taste of a wine that’s been opened before it’s time. The flavor is somewhat incomplete. With wine often a dose of patience is required.

Dry: A less sweet white, the opposite of brut.

Fruity: Used to describe a flavorful, bouquet of fully ripened grapes.

Legs: Ring around the collar for wine. The liquid residue left on the side of the glass, when tilted back and forth. Thicker, slower moving legs denote higher alcohol content or residual sugar.

Musty: Wine that smells like grandma’s hope chest or the wet beach bag you forgot to unpack. Usually denotes dirty barrels. Yuk.

Nose: A pretentious way to describe how the wine smells. Sounds snobby, doesn't it?

Soft: Much like cashmere, soft is always good. For wine it denotes a well-rounded flavor derived from mature tannins.

Tannic: A dry, astringent taste and mouth-feel from the skins, pits and stalks.

Keep tasting and remember, you are the only wine critic that really matters.
Drink what you like.

(Art Credit: Joe Holland)


Anonymous said…
You can describe wines in any terms you want.

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