There are many words that can be used to describe wine's character. From a bottle of wine, you can get distinctive flavours, aromas, body type and style.
Professional wine tasters use these words to give wine a detailed character description. You can do the same.
Knowing these words and what they mean can be useful when discussing, describing, or buying wine.
- used to describe flavours and aromas in young wines
- used to describe flavours and aromas in wines that have been aged
- can be light, medium, full, rich, bold, fruity
- used to describe residual sugars in wine, can range from very dry to very sweet. Residual sugars are a by product of the wine making process, not added sugar as found
in common soft drinks. Wine makers control the amount of residual sugar by controlling the fermentation process.
Some of the more common sweetness types in wine
brut, x dry - most common in sparkling wine styles,
dry - most common in white and red still wines and some sparkling styles,
medium dry, medium - most common in white still wine styles commonly known as an "off dry style". These wines have a bit of sweetness to them. Can also be found in some sparkling styles, rose styles,
and some red still wines. Medium dry is considered less sweet than medium.
sweet, very sweet - most common in dessert wines, wines labelled as sweet or very sweet are commonly paired with sweets, desserts, fruit pies, custards. And, depending on the
wines' notes, red sweet wines can be paired with beef like hamburgers. Sweet wines are also paired with many styles of cheese, both red and white wine types.
- sense of sweetness but not excessive
- lots of tannins in the wine - like black tea taste
- not overly tannic
- not overly tannic
- soft tannins, pleasing texture
-good sense of body, not too tannic
- coarse texture, usually young tannic wine
- red wines, high tannins, thick and soft taste
- overly tannic wine
- strong sense of tannins
- unpleasant tannins
- white wines that are overly tannic
- fruity rich but lacks tannins
sense of grape character
Intense flavours or lots of alcohol in the wine
- lacks sense of fruit
-not balanced with acidity
- pleasing acidity
- good acidity
- high acidity
- too much fat, not balanced by acidity in the wine
- lacking acidity
- unbalanced acidity, excessive acetic acid
- aromas and flavours vegetarian
- vegetal notes, reds with bell pepper or herbal notes, unripe grapes used
- mowed grass, lemon grass
- aromas like herbs
- herb and herbal from the grape variety character
- aromas and flavours - earth, forest, mushrooms and can be dry on palate
Oaking and Malolactic Fermentation
- from malolactic fermentation, gives buttery texture
- has been oaked, has flavours of vanilla, sweet spice(nutmeg), creamy body, smoky, or toasted flavour
aromas of vanilla found in wine oak aging
Eugenol - Isoeugenol
Spice and clove notes from oak aging
Furfurral - Methylfurfural
Caramel and sweet aromas from oak aging
Guaiacol - Methulguaiacol
Charred and smoky aromas from oak aging
- sense of charred or smoky taste from oak aging
-various spices: black pepper, cinnamon, from grape varietal, and some from oak influences
- wine oxidatively matures, and gives flavours of nutty, biscuity, butteriness, and spicy notes.
- usually red wines, use of overripe grapes
- not much aromas or bouquet character, perhaps because a young wine
- overly alcholic
- high quality wine, well balanced
- has finesse and subtle flavours that are balanced
- good aromas and flavours
- textured wine, complex wine, several flavours in wine
- the final taste of the wine, aka - the finish, longer finishes imply better quality and complexity of the wine; wines 10 sec - good, 20 secs - best.
- ability to taste the wines terroir; place where wine grapes were grown- the soil, the climate, what makes the wine unique to its vineyard.
- too much exposure to oxidation, sherry like odor
- harsh vinegar aroma result of acetic acid
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to learn more about the types of white and red wines, wine grapes, wine regions and winemaking.
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