Wine 101: The Vocabulary of Wine

As much as we love a good glass of vino, we admit that discussing wine can be, at times, a bit intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Half the battle of describing wine is knowing what terms to use.

We’ve put together of terms that every budding oenophile should know. You don’t have to be a Master Sommelier to enjoy wine, but you can sound like one.


ACIDIC: Having a sharp tart or sour taste.

AGGRESSIVE: A harsh unpleasant taste or texture caused by too much acid or tannin.

APPEARANCE:  a wine’s clarity. (ex. clear, bright, cloudy or hazy)

AROMA: the wine’s smell derived from the grape.

BALANCED: when no one element dominates.

BITE: A marked degree of acidity or tannin.

BODY: The mouthfeel or weight of a wine on the palate. Described as full-bodied, medium-bodied, or light-bodied.

BOUQUET: The smell of a wine developed after it has been bottled and aged.

CORKED: Wine that has been contaminated with the taste of cork.

DECANTING: Separating the sediment from a wine before drinking by slowly pouring the wine from its bottle into another container.

DRY: Having no taste of sugar.

FINISH: The taste or flavors that linger in the mouth after tasting. Also called aftertaste

HERBACEOUS:  the taste and smell of herbs in a wine.

LEGS: The droplets that form and flows down the sides of the glass when the wine is swirled.

OAKY: Flavors or aromas imparted to a wine by the oak barrels or casks in which it was aged. Often used with terms like toasty, vanilla, or charred.

ROBUST: Means full-bodied, vibrant and intense.

SPICY: indicates the flavors of spices such as anise, cinnamon, cloves, mint, or pepper.

TANNIN:  Derived primarily from grape skins. Red wines tend to have higher tannins than white wines.

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