Ever wondered what all the random words mean that are often used within the wine world?
Or who decided that these little bottles of magic need their own vocabulary?
And if they didn’t have their own dictionary, would learning about wine be less intimidating?
Here is a list of widely used terms with the mystery removed!
Swirl some wine around in a wine glass, then look for the streams that run down the side of the glass… These are legs! The more legs you see, the more full-bodied the wine is.
The body of a wine refers to the weight and fullness a wine feels on your palate. Wine can be light, medium or full-bodied, with light-bodied being referred to as easy-drinking and full-bodied being high in alcohol and extract.
Have you ever drank a wine and it felt as though your cheeks have been hoovered out because of the drying feeling?... then you have met tannins! Tannins are naturally occurring compounds found on grape skins, stems and pips, they act as a natural preservative to help the wine age and develop.
On the opposite side of tannins, sits acidity and it is responsible for the mouth watering sensation that some wines have on our mouths. Grapes contain many natural acids and the main ones are tartaric, malic and citric. They give the wine it’s tart and sour taste and acts as a buffer to preserve the wine.
When talking about wines, bouquet refers to the characteristic smell of a matured wine. Young wines produce aromas, but complex bouquets take a longer time to develop, which is why this term is only used on matured wines.
A varietal wine is named after the specific type of grape it is made from. In order for a winemaker to be able to list a wine as a variety of the grape, they have to meet certain percentage requirements of the grape’s use.
When a wine is oxidised, it will often have a flat or stale taste, and this is usually a result from excessive exposure to air. In other words, you’ve taken too long to drink it!
A French term referring to all of the elements that have an impact on wine styles. Terroir is often referred to as the “marriage” as it’s this combination of region, climate, air, grape and soil that makes each wine individually unique.
A vintage wine doesn’t always mean old – its one made from grapes that were all or mostly produced in a single year. A non-vintage wine comes from grapes that were harvested over two or more years. Champagne is typically non-vintage (NV) for consistency’s sake.
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