Wine terms

Acidity – A naturally occurring component of every wine; the level of perceived sharpness; a key element to a wine’s longevity which helps the overall balance

Aerate – Introducing air into a wine

Aroma – Scents that are components of the nose

AVA – American Viticulture Area; a designated wine region in America

Balance – The combination of acidity, tannins, fruit, etc. that is more based on individual preference over a scientific view

Barrel Fermentation – A process by which wine (usually white) is fermented in oak barrels rather than in stainless steel tanks that creates a richer, creamier, oakier style of wine

Body – general weight, fullness, or overall feel of a wine in your mouth

Breathe – The process of introducing air to open a wine up

Color – A key determinant of a wine’s age and quality. White wines usually grow darker with age while reds become a brownish orange

Corked – What happens when a wine cork becomes tainted by TCA (trichloroanisol.) The wine has flavors and aromas of mushrooms and mustiness

Decant – The process of transferring wine from a bottle to another holding vessel. The purpose is generally to aerate a young wine or to separate an older wine from any sediment

Dry – A wine that has less than 0.2 percent unfermented sugar

Earthy – aromas and flavors that have soil-like qualities

Finish – the aftertaste, how long the flavors last until they fade, the textural impact

Horizontal – A tasting of a group of wines from the same vintage or representing the same style of wine

Legs – wine that sticks to the glass after drinking or swirling

Mouthfeel – Sensation of the wine in the mouth

Nose – The wine’s aromas

Oxidized- A wine that is no longer fresh due to too much exposure to air

Residual Sugar – The sugar remaining after fermentation stops, or is stopped, but it can also result from the addition of unfermented must or ordinary table sugar

Silky – A wine that has a smooth mouthfeel

Tannins – Compounds that exist in most plants. In grapes, tannins are found primarily in the skins and pits, and tannins are astringent while providing structure to a wine. Over time tannins die off, making wines less harsh

Terroir – The combination of soil, climate, and all other factors that influence the ultimate character of a wine

Texture – the mouthfeel or tactile sensation on the palate

Varietal – Wines made from just one grape type and is named after it

Vertical – A tasting of one wine through different vintages

Vintage – A specific year or harvest in the wine industry

These are some of the most common wine terms used when tasting wines. I plan on doing a few more posts about wine varietals and their history, along with what types of glasses and pairings go with them.

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