Wine Tasting Terminology
Becoming a part of the wine craze demands a great amount of self education. Wine is taken seriously by wine lovers around the world and getting involved at any degree often requires getting to know some of the general terms associated with the industry. Professional wine tasters and connoisseurs use a certain vocabulary when talking about wine. For example, the term "acidity" refers to the wines tartness. When the balance is just right, acidity can give the wine a good sense of body and structure. Chardonnays and cheaper sparkling wines often have an "appley" taste associated with the malic acid present in grapes. Oaked Chardonnays do not usually possess this quality. "Balance" is the term used to refer to how well all the key aspects of the wine, such as fruitiness, tannin, and alcoholic content, harmonize with one another. "Berrylike" is a term used to describe wine with a distinct berry taste. "Body" is used to refer to the full texture and weight of the wine in the mouth. The body is formed from a combination of factors such as alcohol, sugar, and tannin. The term "aroma" is used to refer to the fruit smells coming from the wine while the term "bouquet" refers to older wines which have developed distinct smells in their bottles. Wine lovers will also throw around the term "complex" to identify vibrant wines. This term refers to a deep, rich fruit flavor that also involves acidity and oakiness. An "earthy" flavor or aroma conjures up images of the forest and other organic elements of nature. Although highly admired by some drinkers, the element remains controversial. After swallowing, the lingering aftertaste that remains on the tongue is what is referred to as the "finish." Although it is after the fact, this is still an important aspect of wine flavor. Terms such as "flowery" or "floral" are often associated with white wines and refer to a blossom aroma. The term "nose" is used as both a noun and a verb in the wine industry. As a noun, it refers to the smell of a wine. Used as a verb, the term means to smell the wine. It is also an overarching term that includes both the aroma and bouquet of the wine. "Oaky" wines tend to have too much of the aroma and flavoring of the oak barrels that they were stored in. Lastly, the term "tannin" is a wine taster's best friend when in perfect harmony with the body of the wine. However, this acidic texture can ruin a tasting and be considered a flaw.