Wine Terms and Wine Words
You Need to Know
Wine can be a confusing business if you don’t know the wine terms and wine words that everyone’s spitting out. From crisp to delicate to bouquet-talk, it can be difficult to figure out exactly what one of these ‘wine-O’s’ are saying to you when they’re talking shop.
Fortunately for you, we’ve listed all the wine terms you’ll need to know to get you started on your journey into the wonderful world of wine.
Memorize these wine words and you’ll look like a wine expert in no time.
Wine Terms and Wine Terminology
Acidity is used to describe the tart or sour taste of the wine.
Acetic is also known as the vinegar flavour that some wine have. Although this is relatively rare.
Age/Aged wine can sometimes also be identified by their colour. White wines look more green when older and more yellow when young. Red wines look more purple when young and more deep red when older.
Appley is used to describe a fresh ripe flavour of apples.
Aroma is the smell the wine gives off.
Astringent is used to describe wines that give a taste that makes your mouth pucker. This is usually due to the tannins in the wine.
Balanced wine is a wine that is not more acidic, fruity, spicy or oaky in flavour but balances them all.
Body means the “weight” of the wine in your mouth.
Bouquet is another word used for the aroma of the wine.
Breathe/breathing is when the wine is left in open air to mix with the oxygen.
Cigar-like describes the aroma of tobacco in wines.
Citrusy is the flavours of citrus fruit, although it is usually associated with grapefruits.
Complex expresses the many layers of flavours in a wine
Crisp wines are fresh and acid on the tongue. Generally used for white wines only.
Delicate is a mild flavour found in the wine.
Dry is a wine that has little or no sweetness.
Earthy flavours in wine are sometimes also decried as stoney or yeasty. These grapes have a dirt like flavour. But don’t be fooled as it is a wonderful taste.
Firm is usually used to describe tart flavours that attack the tongue.
Floral describes the essence of flower in the wine. Common in white wines.
Foxy is a wine that has a lot of its originally grape flavour.
Fresh is a lively and fruity taste.
Fruity is used for rich, ripe fruit flavours like apples and sweet berries.
Full-Bodied wine is wine with a lot of taste and almost feels like it “weighs” on your tongue.
Grassy is used to describe a slight vegetal undertone in the wine. Common in white wines.
Green flavours are wines made with unripened grapes.
Jam-Like is often used to describe wines like Zinfandels that are sweet and fruity tasting and little or no alcohol taste.
Lavender is used in some rich red wines.
Legs, Veins or Tears are used to describe the way wine travels back down the glass after swirling it. The more noticeable the Legs, the more alcohol content.
Length describes a long aftertaste.
Lush is often used to describe very sweet wines like a dessert wine.
Nutty is a common flavour in fortified wines and some white wines.
Oaky taste describes the taste wine is given when in oak barrels. Generally paired with a vanilla flavour.
Peppery wines are heavily spiced. These spices included pepper, cinnamon, anise, liquorish root, etc…
Rich describes a full flavoured wine. Not necessarily sweet but smooth.
Ripe also means a balanced tasting wine.
Robust also mean full bodied.
Rose essence if found in whites like Riesling.
Sharp is used to describe a crisp, hard flavour in the wine.
Smokey means a oaky or vanilla flavoured wine. Sometimes toasty is used.
Soft wines are low in acidity and tannins.
Sour wines are the opposite of soft.
Spicy is used to also express the peppery flavours.
Supple is often used for young wines.
Tannins are a naturally occurring substance in grape skins and other fruits or seeds. It is often described as the flavour that makes your checks pucker together.
Tart means a sharp and sour flavour.
Thin-Bodied wines are the opposite of full-bodied wines. They are light and sometimes watery tasting.
Vegetal’s are the earthy, yeasty flavour in a wine.
Woody is a synonym for oaky.
Ok, now you’re all wine knowledgable and stuff – go out and buy yourself a bottle, order it online or make it yourself. Every time you try a new wine, think of these wine terms and describe what you can taste in your mind – based on what you’ve read above.