Be a pro on your next wine tour by using words such as 'bouquet', 'toasty', and 'Aromatic'...
Acetic Taste - A sour tasting acid (vinegar) that occurs during fermentation of some white wines. It is also what is created when a wine is exposed to air for a long time. Wines that have gone bad are often called acetic.
Aromatic - Descriptive term for wines of markedly flowery, spicy or grapy character.
Beefy - Term for reds meaning solid or chunky.
Body - A term used to describe a wine, i.e. light bodied, full bodied. Body is most effected by alcohol (the higher the alcohol the more "full bodied" the wine) and the amount of fruit extract in the wine. Example: Port is very full bodied. It has lots of extract and is high in alcohol, while Pinot Noir is generally a lighter bodied wine.
Bouquet - How a wine smells.
Chewy - Wine with a lot of tannin and strong flavor.
Complex - Depth of flavor and nuances; an interesting wine that reveals lots of different aromas and flavor characteristics.
Crisp - Has generous amounts of acidity; generally a fresh, clean wine in a lighter style.
Deep - Term for full-flavored reds and whites, often applied to wines still not at their peak.
Dry - Has no residual sugar or sense of sweetness.
Estate Winery - Winery license classification from the 1980s. Click here to find out more.
Robust - Akin to "big" as a description for a full-bodied, full-flavored wine, but perhaps even more so.
Rose - Pink wine, traditionally made not by blending red and white juice (although some inexpensive wines do this), but by using red grapes and removing the skins from the fermenter before they have had time to impart much color. Also sometimes labeled "Vin Gris" ("VaN Gree," literally "gray wine") and "blush."
Sulfites - Sulfites occur naturally in all wines to some extent. Sulfites are commonly introduced to arrest fermentation at a desired time, and may also be added to wine as preservatives to prevent spoilage. Click here to find out more.
Tannins - Tannin - One of the major components of red wines. It is quite astringent and can be found in the seeds, skins and stems of grapes. During the wine-making process, the longer the wine stays in contact with these parts of the grape, the more tannin there is. It helps to age red wine, but of course should be in balance with the fruit. Wood aging has also been known to add tannin to red wine.
Tannin is not really a taste, but is described as more like a sensation; a similar sensation can be felt on your palate when drinking very strong tea.
Tart - Green, unripe wine. Can be desirable in light, dry whites.
Tartrate Crystals - The most common crystals found in wine are tartrate crystals (specifically potassium hydrogen tartrate), and these are often found adherent to the underside of the cork, or in free suspension. Click here to find out more.
Terroir - the specificity of place, which has come to include not only the soil in a region, but also the climate, the weather, the aspect of the vineyards and anything else that can possibly differentiate one piece of land from another.
Toasty - This term is usually associated with dry white wines; it indicates a hint of wooden barrel.
Tough - Usually implying too much tannin.
Wine Diamonds - a fanciful name for tartrate crystals.