Acidity; All wines contain some level of acid. The acid level needs to be in a proper balance with the other components and fruits in the wine so that you should be able to taste the crispiness and liveliness of the wine. This acidity is also vital in the aging process of the wine.
Aftertaste; This is the impression of flavor that you will get once you have swallowed the wine. It is also called the "finish" of a wine.
Aroma; The smell of wines, especially that of young wines.
Aromatic; This is a term that this used for wines that have a distinct aroma, especially those with herbs and spices in them.
Astringent; This term is used when the tannin level in the wine dries out the mouth.
Austere; A somewhat hard tasting wine, where the character and fruitiness have been restrained.
Big; A full bodied powerful in aroma wine.
Bitter; This is usually considered as a fault bit it is also a characteristic of certain Italian wines.
Body; The weight and texture that is found in wines. You can describe a wine as light bodied or full bodied.
Bouquet; The intermingling of aromas that fine aged wines produce.
Breed; This is the term that is referred to as the bloodlines of the wine grapes. It is also used when noting the soil, the grapes and the techniques that are used to produce a good quality wine.
Chewy; This term is used to describe wines that have an unusual thick texture to the wine. It feels like you need to chew the wine before you swallow it.
Clean; Fresh wines that seem to have no defects. This term also refers to the aroma, appearance and flavor of the wines.
Complete; A mature wine that has a satisfying feel and a great aftertaste on the palette.
Complex; This is where you will find a combination of flavors and aroma elements in various types of wines.
Corked, corky; The wines smell like cork rather than wine. This is because it was bottled in correctly.
Deep; A wine that has many layers of taste that slowly reveals itself.
Delicate; A light fragrance, body and flavor in the wine.
Distinctive; An elegant and refined character in the wine that sets it apart.
Dry; There is a little amount of sugar in the wine.
Earthy; You can detect this in certain wines. The smell and flavor is bit like the earth or soil.
Elegant; A refined charactered wine. This is usually to describe a stylish and quality wine.
Extra dry; You can find this term on champagne bottles as they describe the wine.
Fat; A wine that is full of flavor and body.
Fine; A distinguished wine.
Flat; A wine that is lacking in liveliness. Also a wine with an insufficient amount of acid.
Flavor; Describing how the wine tastes.
Full; Describes a wine that has a rich body
Green; A tart wine that is created from unripe grapes. Features a lack of fruit flavoring.
Grip; Firmness of structure and flavor.
Hard; Stiff and undeveloped.
Heady; High in alcohol and very full bodied.
Herbaceous; Aromas that are reminiscent of fresh grass or hay. It can also be a characteristic of some wines like Cabernets.
Honeyed; You will find a taste or smell that is like honey.
Intricate; The interweaving of subtle flavors and aromas within a wine.
Legs; The rivulets of wine that you see running down the sides of the glass after swirling or sipping the wine.
Length; The lingering aftertaste that you get from a wine.
Light; This refers to wines that are light in alcohol, weight and texture. The feeling that you get in the mouth when you drink the wine is also described as light.
Lively; A fresh wine that has vitality and crispness.
Mature; A fully developed, ready to drink wine.
Meaty; This is a wine that is firm in structure with a chewy, fruity taste.
Mellow; A smooth, soft wine that has no harsh characteristics.
Noble; Wines that have a great balance and a harmonious expression. The wines that are created from these types of grapes are considered as the finest wines in the world. You can find Merlot and Cabernet among this lot.
Nose; The smell that comes from the wine. You can get "good nose" or a "bad nose". A term used to detect faults in the wine.
Nutty; A nutlike aroma that develops in some wines.
Oak, oaky; This is the flavor and aroma that comes from aging the wine in oak casks or barrels. The taste is a mixture of vanilla, spices, smokiness and cloves.
Open; You can get the full character from the wine.
Oxidized; Flat, stale wines. Wines that have a sherry like and flavor and aroma. The state where wines becomes spoiled due to exposure to air.
Petillant; A light sparkle that can be seen in the wines.
Rich; A full, opulent wine with good body and aroma.
Ripe; Mature, fully ripe fruit.
Robust; A powerful, full bodied and heady wine.
Sharp; Biting or acidic.
Smoky; The aroma and flavor that a wine can get from being aged in an oak barrel or casket.
Sparkling; This is used where there are bubbles that are detectedable in the wine.
Spicy; A wine that has the characteristics of spices like cloves, mint, pepper and cinnamon.
Structure; The way that a wine in made with regard to its proportions and composition.
Supple; A wine that is yielding in flavor and is ready to drink.
Sweet; This usually indicates the presence of grape sugar that have not been completely converted to alcohol.
Tannin; This is a natural substance that is found in the skins, stems and seeds of certain grapes. This substance is also a major component in the structure of red wines.
Tart; A sharp wine that is acceptable to drink if it is not acidic.
Thin; Lacking in body and flavor.
Tired; Where a wine is past its peak flavor development. Old.
Vanilla; You will get this scent from the aging process of oak caskets.
Velvety; Smooth and very rich in texture.
Vigorous; A wine with a firm, strong body and flavor and a lively fruitiness.
Vinegary; Having the smell of vinegar.
Watery; Thin and lacking in any flavor.
Weedy; You will get the flavors and aromas of grass or hay. This scent becomes unpleasant only in excessive amounts.
Weighty; Forceful, strong, full bodied and powerful - terms to describe wines.
Woody; The aroma that comes when wine has been over aged in barrels or casks.
Yeasty; A bread smell that can be sometimes found in wines that have gone through a secondary fermentation process like champagne. Can be appealing if it is not excessive.
Young; Simple fine wines that have yet to become mature. Still undeveloped.
By: Muna wa Wanjiru
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