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Wine Tasting Guide: Wine Tasting Terms Explained

“The wine sports a floral bouquet, velvety texture, fruity flavor and a full-bodied aftertaste.”

Wine enthusiasts have their own language when it comes to describing the aromas and taste of wine. Many newcomers to the world of wine find these terms confusing. A wine tasting guide opens communication among wine drinkers of all levels and the merchants who serve them. A grasp of wine terminology is especially helpful for those who buy wine online.

Basic Wine Tasting Terms

Dry wine – A dry wine contains relatively little sugar as compared with a sweet wine. Choose a Zinfandel if you have a sweet tooth, but buy Pinot Gris wine online if you prefer a dry wine.

Aftertaste – Aftertaste is the flavor of the wine lingering in the mouth after the swallow or spit. A fine wine has a long-lasting, pleasant aftertaste lasting 30 to 45 seconds or more. Riesling often sports a crisp and refreshing 30-second aftertaste while a great Bordeaux wine can linger for a minute.

Finish – The finish of a wine is a more vivid description of the aftertaste. Some experts and enthusiasts judge a wine by its finish. A good wine has a long finish that leaves pleasing flavors and sensations in your mouth that tempt you to take another sip. A poor finish is short-lived and leaves bitter, astringent or otherwise unappealing aftertaste.

Balance

Acidic – Wine relies on its natural acidity for a lively flavor, but too much acid makes wine taste sour and tart. Wines made during hot years tend to be lower in acidity than are those made during chillier growing seasons.

Tannin – Extracted from grape skins and stems, tannin gives wine its structure. Tannin acts as a natural preservative and is responsible for the drying, slightly astringent action of some wines. Red wines have more tannin than do white wines, so some young red wines can be quite tannic. Tannin tends to fade with age, becoming soft and velvety in texture.

Balance – Balance is a state of wine where acidity, fruit, sugar and tannins have reached equilibrium. Balanced wines have a pleasant and long-lasting aftertaste, and they age well. The finest Amarone wines exquisitely balance a sturdy tannin structure with robust amounts of alcohol and rich, intense flavors.

Full-bodied – This term describes wines that are rich in extract, alcohol and glycerin. Extracts are everything in a wine other than water, sugar, alcohol and acidity. Wine makers refer to glycerin as the “finishing formula” because it sweetens, adds body, mellows and smooths wines. When you buy Rhône wine online, you will receive a full-bodied spirit.

Bouquet – The bouquet is the aroma of a wine. Wines often develop berry, herbal or floral bouquets and flavors even though grapes are the only fruit in most wines. Many enthusiasts refer to the bouquets to describe various wines. Floral bouquets are common in white wines while many red wines have a fruity bouquet.

Once you have a working knowledge of basic wine tasting terminology, you can read reviews and buy wine online with confidence.