When it comes to wine, with as many varieties of wines there are available, there are even more ways to describe these wines! Wine terminology can be confusing, as the definition can change based on the person using the term, but understanding the basics of wine jargon will definitely help you shop better and enjoy wine more. After you wrap your head around this wine terminology you'll be able flex and impress with your new found knowledge.
Preserving the notes and aromas
Before you study up on wine terminology, we need to discuss proper wine storage. Properly storing wine ensures that you will taste your wine at its optimal condition, allowing you to pick up even the most subtle notes and allow you to use these sophisticated descriptors.
The most important factors in wine storage are steady temperature, minimal exposure to UV light, and ideal humidity. We discuss the top five factors that ruin a wine as it ages here. The most affordable means to achieve this ideal wine storage environment is using a wine refrigerator. We developed Tru-Vino technology to ensure the most consistent temperature and humidity during storage. Learn more about Tru-Vino technology in our detailed article here.
Not only is preserving your wine important but serving it at the right temperature will ensure you experience all the notes and aromas that your wine has to offer. Wine refrigerators will also maintain your wines at the perfect serving temperature, preserving the subtle notes that will be lost or destroyed if stored incorrectly. Now that you know how to preserve the precious notes in your wine, you can learn how to describe all your complex flavors with these basic terms.
The ABC's of Wine
Fruit-forward wines tend to have string notes of sweet fruits, such as, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, or gooseberries. This descriptor is often used when the fruit flavor is dominant and is often used with the term, jammy.
Similar and sometimes used in conjunction with fruit-forward, jammy wines have a deeper and richer fruit flavor. Often used to describe dark fruits or dried fruit flavors, which have a richer flavor and a sweetness. Often notes of berry, cherries, apricot, and other jam fruits are found in these wines.
Often used to describe the finish of a wine, dry wines leave your mouth feeling dry after finishing a sip. Dry wines tend to be very low in sugar This dry finish is often desired when pairing a wine with rich foods, which allows the wine to help balance and complement the flavors of the food. Dryness is described on a scale from 1 to 3: dry, off-dry, or sweet.
Quite the opposite of dry, you will often hear this term to describe some white wines. Buttery wines have a richer mouthfeel, leaving a cream-like texture on your palate. Wines that are described as buttery are often less acidic and a smooth finish.
Basically any notes that aren't fruit or sweet, earthy notes are can be bitter, spicey, and literally notes that taste like flint or chalk. While this doesn't sound the most appealing, these notes balance out the sweetness and fruitiness in some wines.
This term refers to the mouthfeel and viscosity of your wine. This is the feel and weight of the wine on your palate. This complex term is a culmination of several different characteristics that create the body of your wine. Oftentimes, high alcohol content or sweetness will give the impression of a fuller bodied wine.
The amount of tannins in a wine vary depending on the style of the wine. Tannins are small particles of residue left over from the winemaking process. Some ones contain so much that you will see some residue left over in your glass. These tannins contribute greatly to the body and taste of your wine. They often have a very astringent and bitter note, sometimes coating the inside of your mouth.
Referring to the sensation in your mouth after each sip, the finish of a wine can completely change your tasting experience. Typical finish descriptors are tart, bitter, sweet, smoky, dry, etc.
The nose of your wine is pretty self-explanatory, it refers to the initial aromas of your wine. Essentially, when you stick your nose into your glass, the notes you smell are the nose of your wine. To fully enjoy your wine, you'll want to take a big whiff of it as you're drinking it.
Naturally occurring in all wines, the acidity of a wine refers to the perceived sharpness in the flavor of the wine.
Used to describe the notes pulled from the oak barrels that the wine is stored in, oaky wines have woody aromas and flavors. Butter, popcorn, and toast notes also fall under the oaky category.
Used to describe wines with a very smooth mouthfeel and finish.