Wine Terms

You'll always know how to choose and describe wine with these common wine-related terms:

  1. Acidity

    The presence of natural fruit acids that lend a tart, crisp taste to wine

  2. Aroma

    Smells in wine that originate from the grape

  3. Balanced

    All components of the wine are in harmony

  4. Barrel Fermented

    White wine that is fermented in an oak barrel instead of a stainless steel tank

  5. Body

    The weight and tactile impression of the wine on the palate that ranges from light to heavy/full

  6. Bouquet

    Smells from winemaking, aging and bottle age

  7. Clean

    Wine without disagreeable aromas or tastes

  8. Closed

    Wine that needs to open up; aging and/or decanting can help

  9. Cooked

    Wine that has been exposed to excessively high temperatures; spoiled

  10. Corked

    Wine that has been tainted with moldy smells or other obvious flaws from a bad cork

  11. Elegance

    A well-balanced, full wine with pleasant, distinct character

  12. Finish

    The final impression of a wine on the palate; ranges from short to long

  13. Flabby/Flat

    Lacking in acidity, mouth-feel, structure and/or texture

  14. Lean

    Wine is thin and tastes more acidic than fruity

  15. Legs

    Teardrop impressions of alcohol weightiness that are visible on the inside edges of a wine glass

  16. Malolactic

    Conversion of hard, malic acid (green apple flavors) in wine to soft, lactic acid (rich, butter flavors)

  17. Nose

    The smell of a wine; aroma

  18. Terroir

    French word reflecting the expression of soil, topography and climate in a wine

  19. Vintage

    Year that grapes were harvested and fermented to make a wine


Wine Descriptions

  1. Astringent

    Bitter; gives a drying sensation in the mouth

  2. Buttery

    Rich, creamy flavor associated with barrel fermentation

  3. Character

    Describes distinct attributes of a wine

  4. Chewy

    Wine that has a very deep, textured and mouth-filling sensation

  5. Complex

    Layered aromas, flavors and textures

  6. Delicate

    Light, soft and fresh wine

  7. Dry

    No sugar or sweetness remaining; a fruity wine can be dry

  8. Earthy

    Flavors and aromas of mushroom, soil and mineral

  9. Firm

    Texture and structure of a young, tannic red

  10. Fleshy

    A soft textured wine

  11. Flinty

    A mineral tone, aroma or flavor

  12. Floral

    Flower aromas such as rose petals, violets, gardenia or honeysuckle

  13. Fruity

    Obvious fruit aromas and flavors; not to be confused with sweet flavors such as berries, cherries and citrus

  14. Full-Bodied

    Rich, mouth filling, weighty-textured wine

  15. Grassy

    Aromas and flavors of fresh cut grass or fresh herbs

  16. Green

    Unripe, tart flavors

  17. Hard

    Texture and structure that hinders flavor

  18. Herbaceous

    Grassy, vegetable tones and aromas

  19. Light-Bodied

    A wine with delicate flavors, texture and aromas

  20. Lively

    Young, fruity and vivacious flavor

  21. Medium-Bodied

    A wine with solid, but not rich weight and texture

  22. Oak

    Aromas and flavors contributed during barrel fermentation and/or aging such as vanilla, caramel, chocolate, smoke, spice or toast

  23. Off-Dry (Semi-dry)

    Very low levels of residual sugar remaining in the wine

  24. Rich

    Weighty flavors and texture

  25. Round

    Smooth flavors and texture; well-balanced

  26. Smoky/Toasty

    Aromas of smoke and toast imparted by fired barrels

  27. Sweet

    Wines that have a higher concentration of sugar after fermentation

  28. Tannin

    A drying, astringent sensation on the palate that is generally associated with heavier red wines

  29. Thin

    Wine is unpleasantly watery and lacks flavor and texture

  30. Vegetal

    Herbal, weedy aromas and flavors

  31. Velvety

    Wine is unpleasantly watery and lacks flavor and texture