Become a wine buff with our very simple explanation of the basic wine terms and their definitions. Our head Sommelier here at Your Wines, Adam has put together a basic cheat sheet. Master these common terms and you can confidently speak up at your next dinner or wine tasting session.
A few of the more commonly used wine terms that are thrown around are:
Body:The impression of the weight or fullness of the wine on the palate. Wine is commonly referred to as full-bodied, medium-bodied, or light-bodied.
Varietal: The type of grape that your wine is made from. From Cabernet Sauvignon to Chardonnay, varietals are the most common wine identifiers.
Tannins: A compound in wine that is derived from the grape skins, seeds, and stems. It gives the wine the dry, puckering sensation.
Oaky: One of the most well known descriptors of wine. It's used to describe when your wine has wooden undertones, usually thanks to the barrels it was aged in.
Bouquet or Aroma: The smell of wine, with close attention usually paid to the smell of the oak or bottle the wine was contained in.
Sweet vs. dry: Sweet wines are usually easier for novices to swallow than drier wines. Here, dry is not the opposite of wet. Dry wines have more tannin undertones and may make your mouth pucker. The sweeter the wine, the more you'll taste residual sugars
Light vs. full-bodied: Lighter-bodied wines go with light dinners and summertime. They usually have higher acidity and lower tannins. Fuller-bodied wines go with a steak dinner and cold winter nights. They are low in acidity and drier.
Vinification:The term for the winemaking process.
Finish: The aftertaste of wine: a measure of the taste and flavor that lingers in the mouth. Great wines are regarded as having a great finish.