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Wines 101: The Language
Wine as a second language: The first step is understanding the lingo.
Have you heard a wine connoisseur talk about wines? It’s like listening to a whole new language. Here’s a crash course on the vocabulary frequently used for wines.
Acidity Gives wine its lift and intensity. Wines become flat without acidity, but too much can make wine bitter or lean.
Aroma Usually referred to as the “nose,” it’s basically what the wine smells like when sniffed.
Balance Alcohol, fruit, secondary flavours, structure etc. are involved when referring to the balance. Wine has the perfect balance if all characteristics are equal; nothing overpowering the other, every characteristic is in harmony.
Body Body refers to the feeling of wine once it hits your palate or your mouth. Full-bodied wine feels thick or big in your mouth, while light-bodied wine goes through your palate lightly, softly and without weight.
Bouquet It is also the smell or aroma of a wine.
Brix Is the sugar content level, a unit of measuring how ripe and ready grape juice is to begin harvesting.
Brut A very dry champagne or sparkling wine.
Deep It’s the complexity of the flavour of the wine and usually opens up with oxygenation.
Dry A wine that has a dehydrated feeling in the mouth.
Dull A wine that’s flat or lacklustre, liveliness and acidity is inadequate.
Earthy The aroma or flavour of soil or earth.
Fine A wine that shows quality in flavour, aroma and other positive characteristics.
Finish Also called the aftertaste that stays in the mouth after swallowing or spitting wine.
Flowery The aroma that suggests hints of flowers.
Fruity The aroma of wine that comes across as sweet, hints of apples, cherries, citrus, currants, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries and others.
Full-bodied A wine that indicates the flavour and alcohol.
Honest A wine that has unfavourable characteristics. It is usually described as simple and clean.
Legs The syrupy liquid that’s visible inside a wine glass after wine has been swirled in it.
Length The lingering taste in the mouth after sipping, swallowing or spitting wine. Lively A wine that is fresh, vibrant and crisp.
Mature A wine that is fully developed and ready to drink.
Muscular A wine with a bold and fruitful quality.
Musty Wine that has either a stale or a pungent smell.
Nose Like aroma. It is the scent of the wine.
Oxidized A wine with a stale or flat taste due to over exposure to air.
Rich A full-bodied wine with pleasing taste, aroma and finishes with complex falvours.
Robust A wine with a big and full-bodied quality.
Round A wine with perfect structure of flavours that includes acidity, tannin, alcohol and sweetness.
Sharp A wine that evokes intense taste on the side of the tongue due to the acidity.
Soft A wine that is sweet, with the acidity and tannins toned down.
Smoky A wine that is either oak-aged or wines that have hints of wood smoke.
Sommelier A person who is in charge of wines at clubs or restaurants.
Sparkling Wines, which are bubbly like champagne.
Supple A wine that is not rough or harsh, but have more of a soft flavour and texture.
Sweet Wine with fruity taste, hints of sugary remains noticeable at the tip of the tongue.
Tannin Usually found in the seeds, skin and stems of grapes; it’s a natural substance that produces the ageability, structure and texture of most red wines.
Terroir Originally French, terroir is a word used to describe the unique region where the grapes are grown.
Thick A quality that is dense and heavy in texture.
Thin A wine that lacks character in the body and flavour.
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