Acidity: The essential natural component which gives wine freshness and prevents cloying
Aroma: The particular smell of a grape variety
Balance: A balanced wine has its fruitiness, acidity, tannin and alcohol in ‘balanced’ harmony. Balance can develop with age.
Body: A full-bodied wine fills the mouth with flavor. A light bodied wine is delicate on your palette. Full body can also be described as having weight.
Bouquet: The overall smell of a wine. You are often able to smell various aromas as the wine opens up. Try first smelling the wine, then swirling it and then smelling it again to smell how the wines aroma has opened up.
Cloying: A sickly flavor to poor sweet wines.
Complex: Just as the word describes, the wine is multidimensional often producing a mixture of tastes and smells as it travels over the tongue and as it opens up.
Corked: The bad smell and taste of wine caused by an affected cork. This is why many winemakers are moving towards the ‘rubber’ cork or the twist top.
Crisp: Fresh wine with good acidity. Usually referred to with white wines.
Finish: The aftertaste of the wine after you’ve spit it out or swallowed it. It’s the flavor that is left on your tongue.
Method Chamenoise: The method of sparkling wine used in Champagne. This method was created in Champagne, France and thus only sparkling wines made in Champagne, France can use the name Champagne. All others must use sparkling wine, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t also use the same method. Cava, for example, also uses the same method.
Nose: The smell or aroma of the wine.
Oaky: The flavor given to wine by oak barrels.
Palate: Basically, it’s your tongue. The taste and what you taste with. Although, you taste with more than just your tongue – the aroma is a huge factor in how you taste the wine. You will notice when you have a cold that food tastes different and wine is no exception.
Soft: Smooth, easy to drink, mellow wine.
Tannin: The substance in red wine which comes from the grape skins, stems and pips and gives the mouth-drying sensation. It is necessary for wine to age, but many people are not fans of high tannin wines. My husband calls it ‘grippy’, others may refer to it as a cotton mouth feeling.
Tart: When a wine has too much acidity, it is referred to as tart.
Tired: When the wine is no longer at its best.
Varietal: Describes the specific grapes used in the wine when being sold. Ex. Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay.
Vintage: The year the grape was harvested. This is not the year the wine was bottled.