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Wine Tasting Terms

Our ever-expanding list of wine tasting terms.

A

Acescence

Used to describe a sharp, sweet-sour, and vinegar-like tang in wines with increased levels of volatile acidity (acetic acid).

Astringent

A drying mouthfeel typically caused by tannins, which bind to salivary proteins, causing them to depart the tongue/mouth. It results in a rough sandpapery sensation in the mouth.

M

Minerality

A non-scientific term used to describe flavors that smell or taste like rocks or organic matter (soil). Minerality was thought to be presence of trace minerals in wine. Recent research suggests the majority of mineral-like aromas in wine are due to sulfur compounds derived from fermentation.

O

Off-Dry

A term to describe a wine that is slightly sweet.

Oxidation / Oxidized

When wine is exposed to oxygen, a chain of chemical reactions occur that alter the compounds. One obvious change is an increased level of acetaldehyde, which smells similar to bruised apples in white wine and nail polish remover in red wines. Oxidation is the opposite of reduction.

R

Reduction

When wine doesn’t receive enough air during fermentation, the yeast will substitute its need of nitrogen with amino acids (found in grapes). This creates sulfur compounds that can smell like rotten eggs, garlic, burnt matches, rotten cabbage, or sometimes positive traits like passionfruit or wet flint rocks. Reduction is not caused by “sulfites” being added to wine.

T

Typicity / Typicality

A wine that tastes typical of a particular region or style.

V

Vinous

A tasting term to describe a wine that has a freshly fermented flavor.

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