There is food talk and cheese talk so why not wine talk? Here’s a list of terms you will often hear a wine connoisseur use
Many people are bewildered or even laugh at the silly sounding lingo that wine experts use to describe a wine. Experts who have a very developed a keen sense of smell and taste are often able to pick up hints and nuances in a wine that most of us may not be able to. And of course, their extreme love and passion for wine makes their language even more eloquent while talking about a wine. I always try and use slightly easier terms while talking to people about wine, most of them are used to describe food. After all wine does comprise more than 200 chemical compounds, many of which are identical or similar to those found in fruits, vegetables, spices, herbs, etc. For example molecules that give bananas or chocolates their taste, are there in wine too. So nothing extra or artificial is ever added to a wine. These descriptions are of molecules that naturally show up in a wine and keep developing flavours throughout its life, right from the vineyard to the bottle.
So now that food flavour descriptions have been explained, there are still a few more wine terms that need explaining. Here you go, these terms are not all that confusing after all. But behind all this wine talk is just a bottle of wine, waiting to be cooled down and cracked open with friends who want to chat and be happy.
- Acidity- Is that mouthwatering, citrus feeling in the wine
- Aroma- Smell of the wine
- Barrel fermented- These wines are fermented in oak barrels instead of stainless steel tanks, thus giving the wine a more oaky flavour.
- Body- The weight of the wine or the heaviness of it on your palate — which ranges from light, medium to full.
- Bouquet- Compilation of smells in a wine that are derived from wine making techniques, barrel aging and bottle aging.
- Character- Pertains to the attribute of the grape variety used in the wine. For eg: The characteristics of a chardonnay are distinctly different from a riesling grape variety.
- Complex- Complimentary term used for a wine that displays layered aromas, flavours and textures.
- Cooked- A wine that has been stored in extreme temperatures spoils. So then it’s a cooked wine.
- Corked- A wine that is off tasting and has been ruined by mouldy smells from an infected cork.
- Dry- Is the opposite of sweet. A dry wine has no level of sweetness in it.
- Finish or length- The after taste of a wine. The lingering flavour of a wine on your tongue after it has been swallowed. It can be a short finish or long finish.
- Legs- The long, thin lines of clear liquid visible inside the glass as it coats the wine glass and drips down after you have swirled the wine in the glass.
- Méthode champenoise- French term for the traditional method of making French champagne.
- Tannins- Found only in red wine. Is more something you feel in your mouth rather than taste. It’s a puckering feeling on the sides or back of your mouth. Same feeling when you drink strong tea.
- Terroir- French term for combination of climatic and soil conditions for grape growing.
- Vintage- The year on the bottle, which denotes the year in which the grapes were harvested.
- Viticulture- The study, science and practice of grape growing.
Category: Food & Drink