The Language of Wine
Learning the language of wine will enable you to communicate your own perceptions of the wine that you are tasting while understanding the impressions of those who are participating in a similar experience. While wine tasting is a very personal experience, discovering the aromas and flavors is only half of the pleasure. Full satisfaction is derived from being able to share your perceptions, knowledge and delights while understanding the wine discoveries of other tasters alike. Learning the art of the wine language enables you to share the wine and communicate its’ wonders. Swirl, Sniff, Sip, Share and remember, wine tasting is your own personal pleasure. Enjoy!
A natural preservative of the wine that contributes to its flavor.
The art of allowing a wine to breathe. Mainly with red wines, it allows the wine to "open" and the true flavor to emerge.
An unpleasant wine that tends to be highly acidic and heavily tannic. Often a wine before its time.
Alcohol is derived from the fermentation process when yeast is added and converts sugar to alcohol. When grapes are allowed to ripen longer ("late Harvest") on the vine, the grape develops a higher sugar content and will often result in a high residual sugar in the wine. Hence, in a sweeter wine this is a desirable effect such as in popular dessert wines and Rieslings, but not necessarily in Cabernet's and other reds.
Barrels made form American oak used for the aging of primarily red wines.
Just that. (e.g. cloudy, clear, deep purple). Cabernet's tend to have a deep rich color while a Cabernet Franc may have a lighter, transparent appearance.
An appellation in the United States is defined by the FDA and the Department of Agriculture as an American Viticultural area. This is a designated Region for growing grapes. For example, both Napa Valley and Sonoma County are comprised of number Appellations such as, the Russian River Valley, The Alexander Valley, Howell Mountain and the Stag's Leap district to name a few. To claim that a wine is from a particular appellation, 85 percent of the grapes used to make the wine must be grown in that region.
The feeling and taste your mouth will experience from an aggressive wine.
A well balanced, full-bodied wine.
Blanc De Blancs
White wines ("White from White") made of all white grapes. Many sparkling wines, including French champagnes are made from white grapes.
Blanc De Noirs
White wines made from red grapes ("White from Black") The wines retains a pale or rose color because it is not fermented with the skin of the grape. The skin gives red wine its ruby color.
The structure and complexity of the wine on the palette.
The aroma of the wine, which develops with age.
A smooth texture and buttery flavor often found in Chardonnay.
Taste derived from casks used in the aging process of red wines.
Full-bodied, heavily tanned wines.
Cloudiness can be an attribute of both older and Young wines. In older wines it is most likely from the Sediment while in younger wines it could be a sign of a poor wine.
A bad cork or an improperly corked bottle can turn a good wine bad often leaving a dry and bitter aftertaste.
A blend of a variety of grapes.
Slowly pouring the wine from the bottle into a Decanter so to separate the wine from its sediments.
A lighter bodied wine that is softer on the palette yet, delightful. Try Clos Pegase's Claret and Lang & Reed's Cabernet Franc.
Moderately sweet champagne or sparkling wine.
Describes the array of flavors, fullness and body of the wine. More commonly referred to as the complexity of the wine.
A dry wine has trace amounts of residual sugar not noticeable to the palette.
Flavors that the grapes derive from the minerals in the soil. Often pleasant and aromatic.
A spectacular, well balanced wine.
Grapes grown from vineyards in the same appellation That are owned by the estate.
The completion and lingering flavor left on your palette. The longer the finish the more sophisticated the wine.
More commonly characteristic of Whites, a flavor and a roma reminiscent of flowers.
The traditional wood for wine barrels.
A bold, crisp, fruity wine found in most younger wines.
A simpler, less complex flavor.
A grassy earth tone found in some Whites that Enriches the wine when delicately balanced.
A robust red wine full of flavor.
Higher alcohol content.
An herbal quality of both taste and smell. More often found in Whites where it is most desirable.
Grapes that are left to ripen on the vine harvested later than the regular crop to produce a sweeter style wine such as dessert wines.
A wine lacking flavor and depth.
A term coined for blends of California red and white wines.
Refers to the aroma of the wine.
There are a variety of "oaky" flavors derived from the aging process of the wine in wood casks. The oak flavor can overpower a good wine or it can provide a more subtle, elegant flavor.
A wine that is somewhat sweeter than a dry wine.
Characteristic of floral, aromatic white wines.
The sugar content that remains after fermentation.
A full-bodied, deep and complex wine.
A smooth more balanced wine that has the feeling of rolling on your tongue.
A wine that is soft to the taste with less minerals and acid.
A quality often found in red zinfandels and other more Complex wines. Hints of spice are noticeable to the taste. A good wine with food.
Tannin is a mineral found in the skin of the grape or derived from wood casks during aging. Tannins are usually found in the finish of the wine and evens the flavor. Tannins also help to mature the wine.
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