WINE TASTING TERMS BRIEFLY EXPLAINED**
(at least, what I'm looking for when I taste wine...)
** work in progress, but for now, here are some basics.
What I SEE.
- Color- Ruby/Red/Brick/Purple
- Viscosity - How "thick" is the wine? Does it seem light, or syrupy?
- Rim Variation - Does the color of the wine go all the way to the edge?
- Opacity - Can I see through the wine?
What I SMELL.
- How intense is the smell?
- What types of fruit?
Red fruits (strawberries, raspberries, etc) vs purple fruits (plums) vs stone fruits (peaches, apricots) vs tropical (pineapple, mango) vs citrus (lemon, lime, grapefruit) vs orchard (apples).
What I TASTE...but this sense is still very much driven by smell as far as flavors go. (see smell)
What is most important here is structure:
- ACIDITY - How much ACID is in the wine. Does it make my mouth water, especially under my tongue? Typically you'll have HIGH acidity in cooler climates. Think tart!
- BODY - Consistency or "mouth feel." Light, Medium, Full bodied. You can think of this in terms of milk... Skim milk = light bodied, 2% Milk = medium bodied, Whole Milk = Full bodied. Cream = VERY full bodied. BODY is also typically associated with how much alcohol is in the wine.
- ALCOHOL - Does it make my throat burn?
- TANNINS - What makes your mouth feel dry. Many people say this makes their mouth pucker (VERY different than acidity). Tannins come from the grape skins, stems, seeds, and also oak barrels.
- DRYNESS - This is probably the most confusing of all wine-tasting terms. When people say a "DRY" wine, all it means is HOW MUCH SUGAR/HOW SWEET the wine is... This is NOT THE SAME as FRUITINESS! A wine can have NO RESIDUAL SUGAR (RS) [left over sugar after fermentation] but it can be very fruity. MOST wines are DRY (especially red wines). I rarely will mention DRYNESS unless it is "off-dry" which means it is a little sweet.