Wine Terminology

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Here are some of the most common wine-related terms:

Acidity ~ 
The presence of natural fruit acids that lend a tart, crisp taste to wine
Aroma
 ~ Smells in wine that originate from the grape
Balanced
 ~ All components of the wine are in harmony
Barrel ~ Fermented
White wine that is fermented in an oak barrel instead of a stainless steel tank
Body ~ 
The weight and tactile impression of the wine on the palate that ranges from light to heavy/full
Bouquet
 ~ Smells from winemaking, aging and bottle age
Clean 
~ Wine without disagreeable aromas or tastes
Closed
 ~ Wine that needs to open up; aging and/or decanting can help
Cooked
 ~ Wine that has been exposed to excessively high temperatures; spoiled
Corked 
~ Wine that has been tainted with moldy smells or other obvious flaws from a bad cork
Elegance ~ 
A well balanced, full wine with pleasant, distinct character
Finish
 ~ The final impression of a wine on the palate; ranges from short to long
Flabby/Flat ~ 
Lacking in acidity, mouth-feel, structure and/or texture
Lean
 ~ Wine is thin and tastes more acidic than fruity
Legs
 ~ Teardrop impressions of alcohol weightiness that are visible on the inside edges of a wine glass
Malolactic
 ~ Conversion of hard, malic acid (green apple flavors) in wine to soft, lactic acid (rich, butter flavors)
Nose
 ~ The smell of a wine; aroma
Terroir
 ~ French word reflecting the expression of soil, topography and climate in a wine
Vintage ~ 
Year that grapes were harvested and fermented to make a wine

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Here are some of the most common wine-related descriptions:

Astringent
Bitter ~ gives a drying sensation in the mouth
Buttery
Rich ~ creamy flavor associated with barrel fermentation
Character ~ Describes distinct attributes of a wine
Chewy
 ~ Wine that has a very deep, textured and mouth-filling sensation
Complex ~ Layered aromas, flavors and textures
Delicate ~ 
Light, soft and fresh wine
Dry
 ~ No sugar or sweetness remaining; a fruity wine can be dry
Earthy
 ~ Flavors and aromas of mushroom, soil and mineral
Firm
 ~ Texture and structure of a young, tannic red
Fleshy ~ 
A soft textured wine
Flinty
 ~ A mineral tone, aroma or flavor
Floral ~ 
Flower aromas such as rose petals, violets, gardenia or honeysuckle
Fruity ~ 
Obvious fruit aromas and flavors; not to be confused with sweet flavors such as berries, cherries and citrus
Full-Bodied
 ~ Rich, mouth filling, weighty-textured wine
Grassy
 ~ Aromas and flavors of fresh cut grass or fresh herbs
Green ~ Unripe, tart flavors
Hard
 ~ Texture and structure that hinders flavor
Herbaceous
 ~ Grassy, vegetable tones and aromas
Light-Bodied ~ A wine with delicate flavors, texture and aromas
Lively
 ~ Young, fruity and vivacious flavor
Medium-Bodied
 ~ A wine with solid, but not rich weight and texture
Oak
 ~ Aromas and flavors contributed during barrel fermentation and/or aging such as vanilla, caramel, chocolate, smoke, spice or toast
Off-Dry (Semi-dry)
 ~ Very low levels of residual sugar remaining in the wine
Rich
 ~ Weighty flavors and texture
Round ~ Smooth flavors and texture; well-balanced
Smoky/Toasty ~ Aromas of smoke and toast imparted by fired barrels
Sweet
 ~ Wines that have a higher concentration of sugar after fermentation
Tannin ~ 
A drying, astringent sensation on the palate that is generally associated with heavier red wines
Thin ~ Wine is unpleasantly watery and lacks flavor and texture
Vegetal ~ Herbal, weedy aromas and flavors
Velvety ~ Wine is unpleasantly watery and lacks flavor and texture

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