wine words.....talk to me man!
Do you ever get tongue tied? I mean have you ever tried to think of the right word to explain something? Everybody has...especially us older guys! Well, it's the same when tasting wine. There's that one word that could express exactly what your experiencing. I call them WINE WORDS. Just like anything in life, there's a list somebody made up about something. So... you're in the tasting room enjoying a taste of a 15.8% , big, jammy but somewhat hot Zinfandel. What in heck did he say? You'll come across people in tasting rooms using this type of vino lingo all the time. There are several words used to express the sensations one gets when tasting wine. Below are "some" of these terms and words. OK, I know, the type is small. But I needed the room!! Remember, not everybody will get the same sensations and thusly might express themselves differently. Also, guess what? Talking with others, and using the ol' WINO101 lingo, will spark more conversation. Maybe even change your mind as to what you were thinking about that wine!
Acidic : A wine with a noticeable sense of acidity.
Aftertaste : The taste left on the palate after wine has been swallowed. "Finish" is a synonym.
Aggressive : A younger wine with harsh and pronounced flavors. The opposite of a wine described as "smooth" or "soft." See robust below.
Alcoholic : A wine that has an out of balanced presence of too much alcohol.
Astringent : An overly tannic white wine.
Austere : A wine that is dominated by harsh acidity or tannin and is lacking the fruit needed to balance those components.
Baked : A wine with a high alcohol content that gives the perception of stewed or baked fruit flavors.
Big : A wine with intense flavor, or high in alcohol.
Bitter : An unpleasant perception of tannins.
Body : The sense of alcohol in the wine and the sense of feeling in the mouth.
Bouquet : The layers of smells and aromas perceived in a wine.
Bright : When describing the visual appearance of the wine, it refers to high clarity, very low levels of suspended solids. When describing fruit flavors, it refers to noticeable acidity and vivid intensity.
Cassis : The French term for the flavors associated with black currant. In wine tasting, the use of cassis over black currant typically denotes a more concentrated, richer flavor.
Cedarwood : The woodsy aroma of a wine that has been treated with oak.
Charming : A wine with a range of pleasing properties but nothing that stands out in an obvious fashion.
Chewy : The sense of tannins that is not overwhelming. It is not necessarily a negative attribute for wine.
Cigar-box : The tobacco aromas derived from oak influence.
Citrusy : A wine with the aromas and flavor from the citrus family of fruits.
Clean : A wine that is not demonstrating any obvious faults or unwanted aromas and flavors.
Clear : A wine with no visible particulate matter.
Closed : A wine that is not very aromatic.
Cloves : An aroma associated with oak treatment that gives the perception of cloves.
Cloying : A wine with a sticky or sickly sweet character that is not balanced with acidity.
Coarse : A wine with a rough texture or mouth feel. Usually applies the perception of tannins.
Coconut : Aroma perception of coconut derived from treatment in American oak.
Compact : Opposite of "open knit". A wine with a dense perception fruit that is balanced by the weight of tannins and acidity.
Complex : A wine that gives a perception of being multi-layered in terms of flavors and aromas.
Concentrated : Intense flavors.
Cooked : Fruit flavors of a wine that seem like they have been cooked, baked or stewed.
Corked : A wine that has cork taint
Creamy : A warm, creamy mouth feel. The perception of creaminess is generally picked up at the back of the throat and through the finish of the wine.
Crisp : A pleasing sense of acidity in the wine.
Definition : A wine that not only is well balanced but also gives a clear expression of its grape variety or place of origin.
Delicate : A wine with a range of subtle notes but nothing that stands out in an obvious fashion. See charming above.
Depth : A wine with several layers of flavor. An aspect of complexity.
Dirty : A wine with off flavors and aromas that most likely resulted from poor hygiene during the fermentation or bottling process
Dried up : A wine that has lost some of its freshness or fruitiness due to extended aging.
Dry : A wine that is lacking the perception of sweetness.
Easy : A wine that is simple and straightforward without much complexity but still enjoyable to drink. See approachable above.
Edgy : A wine with a noticeably level of acidity that heightens the flavors on the palate. Maybe synonymous with "nervy"
Elegant : A wine that possess finesse with subtle flavors that are in balance.
Expansive : A wine that is considered "big" but still accessible.
Expressive : A wine with clearly projected aromas and flavors.
Extracted : A wine with concentrated flavors, often from extended skin contact, trading a rougher youth for enhanced age-ability.
Fat : A wine that is full in body and has a sense of viscosity. A wine with too much fat that is not balanced by acidity is said to be "flabby" or "blowzy"
Finesse : A wine of high quality that is well balanced.
Finish : The sense and perception of the wine after swallowing.
Firm : A stronger sense of tannins.
Flabby : A lacking sense of acidity.
Fleshy : A wine with a noticeable perception of fruit and extract.
Fresh : A positive perception of acidity.
Fruit : The perception of the grape characteristics and sense of body that is unique to the varietal.
Full : Wine with heavy weight or body, due to its alcohol content. It can also refer to a wine that is full in flavor and extract
Hard : Overly tannic wine.
Harsh : Similar to "coarse" but usually used in a more derogatory fashion to denote a wine that has unbalanced tannins and acidity.
Heavy : A wine that is very alcoholic with too much sense of body.
Herbaceous : The herbal, vegetal aromas and flavors that maybe derived from varietal characteristics or decisions made in the winemaking process-such as harvesting under-ripened grapes or using aggressive extraction techniques for a red wine fermented in stainless steel.
Hollow : A wine lacking the sense of fruit.
Hot : Overly alcoholic wine.
Inky : A wine's dark coloring and opacity.
Jammy : A wine that is rich in fruit but maybe lacking in tannins.
Lean : The sense of acidity in the wine that lacks a perception of fruit.
Leathery : A red wine high in tannins, with a thick and soft taste.
Lemony : The tangy acidity of a wine with fruit flavors reminiscent of lemons.
Liveliness : A wine with slight carbonation and fresh, bright acidity.
Luscious : Similar to "voluptuous" but more commonly associated with sweet wines that have a rich, concentrated mouthfeel.
Mature : A wine that has aged to its peak point of quality.
Lean : A wine without sufficient fruit to balance the tannins and/or acidity of the wine, making it unbalanced and unpleasant to drink.
Meaty : A wine with a rich, full body (and often pronounce tannins and extract) that gives the drinker the impression of being able to "chew" it.
Mellow : A wine with a soft texture that is nearing the peak of its maturity.
Midpalate : The feel and taste of a wine when held in the mouth.
Nose : The aroma, smell or bouquet of a wine.
Oily : A generally full bodied wine with a viscous mouthfeel. If the wine is lacking acidity, this term may be used in conjunction with flabby.
Old : A wine which has been aged too long. Often, the fruit vanishes, leaving behind overly thin, earthy and oxidized wine.
Opulent : A rich tasting wine with a pleasing texture mouthfeel that is well balanced.
Peak : The point where a wine is at its most ideal drinking conditions for an individual taster. This is a very subjective determination as for some tasters a wine will be at its peak when the fruit is still fresh and young while for some tasters the peak will arrive when a wine has matured in flavor.
Peppery : A wine with the aromas and flavors reminiscent of the fruit from the Piper family of plants such as black peppercorn associated with Syrah and Grenache based wine or the aroma of crushed white pepper associated with Gruner Veltliner.
Perfume : A generally positively used to describe an aspect of a wine's aroma or bouquet.
Plummy : A wine with the juicy, fresh fruit flavors of plum
Polished : A wine that is very smooth to drink, with no roughness in texture and mouthfeel. It is also well balanced.
Rich : A sense of sweetness in the wine that is not excessively sweet.
Robust : An older, mature wine with harsh and pronounced flavors.
Round : A wine that has a good sense of body that is not overly tannic.
Sharp : The acidity of a wine though it can refer to the degree of bitterness derived from a wine's tannin.
Short : A wine with well developed aromas and mouthfeel but has a finish that is little to non-existent due to the fruit quickly disappearing after swallowing.
Smooth : A wine with a pleasing texture. Typically refers to a wine with soft tannins.
Soft : A wine that is not overly tannic.
Sour : A wine with unbalanced, puckery acidity. Often applies to mistreated wines with excessive acetic acid, giving a vinegar-like bite.
Spicy : A wine with aromas and flavors reminiscent of various spices such as black pepper and cinnamon. While this can be a characteristic of the grape varietal, many spicy notes are imparted from oak influences.
Supple : A wine that is not overly tannic.
Sweet : A wine with a noticeable sense of sugar levels.
Tannic : A wine with aggressive tannins. Tannins come from the stems and skins during the fermination process.
Tar : A wine with aromas and flavors reminiscent of Tar. Barolo wines often exhibit such characteristic.
Tart : A wine with high levels of acidity.
Thin : A wine that is lacking body or fruit
Tight : A wine with a significant presence of tannins that is restraining the other qualities of the wine, such as fruit and extract, from being more noticeable. A "tight wine" is expected to age well as the tannins soften to reveal these other qualities.
Toasty : A sense of the charred or smoky taste from an oaked wine.
Transparency : The ability of a wine to clearly portray all unique aspects of its flavor—fruit, floral, and mineral notes. The opposite would be a wine where flavors are diffused and thoroughly integrated.
Undertone : The more subtle nuances, aromas and flavors of wine.
Unoaked : Also known as unwooded, refers to wines that have been matured without contact with wood/oak such as in aging barrels.
Upfront : A wine with very perceivable characteristics and quality that do not require much thought or effort to discover.
Vanilla : An oak induced characteristic aroma reminiscent of vanilla.
Vivid : A wine with very expressive ripe, fruit flavors.
Voluptuous : A wine with a full body and rich texture.
Warm : A wine with noticeable but balanced alcohol as opposed to a wine with excessive alcohol that maybe described as "hot". It can also refer to a creamy texture derived from oak treatment.
Watery : A wine that is excessively "thin" in body and fruit.
Young : Wine that is not matured and usually bottled and sold within a year of its vintage.
Zesty : A wine with noticeable acidity and usually citrus notes.