Wine Terminology

Wine Terminology


Here are some of the most common wine-related terms:

Acidity ~ 
The presence of natural fruit acids that lend a tart, crisp taste to wine
Aroma‚Ä® ~ Smells in wine that originate from the grape
Balanced‚Ä® ~ All components of the wine are in harmony
Barrel ~ Fermented
White wine that is fermented in an oak barrel instead of a stainless steel tank
Body ~ 
The weight and tactile impression of the wine on the palate that ranges from light to heavy/full
Bouquet‚Ä® ~ Smells from winemaking, aging and bottle age
Clean ‚Ä®~ Wine without disagreeable aromas or tastes
Closed‚Ä® ~ Wine that needs to open up; aging and/or decanting can help
Cooked‚Ä® ~ Wine that has been exposed to excessively high temperatures; spoiled
Corked ‚Ä®~ Wine that has been tainted with moldy smells or other obvious flaws from a bad cork
Elegance ~ 
A well balanced, full wine with pleasant, distinct character
Finish‚Ä® ~ The final impression of a wine on the palate; ranges from short to long
Flabby/Flat ~ 
Lacking in acidity, mouth-feel, structure and/or texture
Lean‚Ä® ~ Wine is thin and tastes more acidic than fruity
Legs‚Ä® ~ Teardrop impressions of alcohol weightiness that are visible on the inside edges of a wine glass
Malolactic‚Ä® ~ Conversion of hard, malic acid (green apple flavors) in wine to soft, lactic acid (rich, butter flavors)
Nose‚Ä® ~ The smell of a wine; aroma
Terroir‚Ä® ~ French word reflecting the expression of soil, topography and climate in a wine
Vintage ~ 
Year that grapes were harvested and fermented to make a wine



Here are some of the most common wine-related descriptions:

Bitter ~ gives a drying sensation in the mouth
Rich ~ creamy flavor associated with barrel fermentation
Character‚Ä® ~ Describes distinct attributes of a wine
Chewy‚Ä® ~ Wine that has a very deep, textured and mouth-filling sensation
Complex‚Ä® ~ Layered aromas, flavors and textures
Delicate ~ 
Light, soft and fresh wine
Dry‚Ä® ~ No sugar or sweetness remaining; a fruity wine can be dry
Earthy‚Ä® ~ Flavors and aromas of mushroom, soil and mineral
Firm‚Ä® ~ Texture and structure of a young, tannic red
Fleshy ~ 
A soft textured wine
Flinty‚Ä® ~ A mineral tone, aroma or flavor
Floral ~ 
Flower aromas such as rose petals, violets, gardenia or honeysuckle
Fruity ~ 
Obvious fruit aromas and flavors; not to be confused with sweet flavors such as berries, cherries and citrus
Full-Bodied‚Ä® ~ Rich, mouth filling, weighty-textured wine
Grassy‚Ä® ~ Aromas and flavors of fresh cut grass or fresh herbs
Green ~ Unripe, tart flavors
Hard‚Ä® ~ Texture and structure that hinders flavor
Herbaceous‚Ä® ~ Grassy, vegetable tones and aromas
Light-Bodied‚Ä® ~ A wine with delicate flavors, texture and aromas
Lively‚Ä® ~ Young, fruity and vivacious flavor
Medium-Bodied‚Ä® ~ A wine with solid, but not rich weight and texture
Oak‚Ä® ~ Aromas and flavors contributed during barrel fermentation and/or aging such as vanilla, caramel, chocolate, smoke, spice or toast
Off-Dry (Semi-dry)‚Ä® ~ Very low levels of residual sugar remaining in the wine
Rich‚Ä® ~ Weighty flavors and texture
Round‚Ä® ~ Smooth flavors and texture; well-balanced
Smoky/Toasty‚Ä® ~ Aromas of smoke and toast imparted by fired barrels
Sweet‚Ä® ~ Wines that have a higher concentration of sugar after fermentation
Tannin ~ 
A drying, astringent sensation on the palate that is generally associated with heavier red wines
Thin‚Ä® ~ Wine is unpleasantly watery and lacks flavor and texture
Vegetal‚Ä® ~ Herbal, weedy aromas and flavors
Velvety‚Ä® ~ Wine is unpleasantly watery and lacks flavor and texturemod-btm-divider