Glossary of Wine Tasting Terms

Acidity The quality of tartness or sharpness in the taste of wine due to the presence of natural acids. Not to be confused with sourness, dryness, or astringency.

Balance A balanced wine is one whose components -- sugar, fruit, tannin, acid, alcohol, wood and so forth -- are evident, but do not mask or dominate one another.

Bouquet The various fragrances noted by smell, created by the development of wine from the fermentation and aging process, whether in barrel or bottle.

Complexity The various elements that make up bouquet, aroma and taste in a wine. When a wine is described as having the aroma of fresh peaches or apples, it is displaying some of its complexities.

Corked Describes an unpleasant musty odour (mushrooms) or flavour imparted to wine by a defective (mouldy, poor, soft, or disintegrating) cork or by chemicals used in the processing of corks.

Cryomaceration A wine making procedure used in making white wines that holds the skins and the crushed grapes at extremely low temperature prior to fermentation, enhancing the fruit and other flavours.

Dry A wine with little or no noticeable sugar, usually containing less than 0.2 percent sugar. On champagne and sparkling wines, dry often refers to faintly sweet -- not as dry as brut.

Finish The tactile and flavour impressions left in the mouth while a beverage is being swallowed. Some beverages finish harsh, hot, and astringent, while others are smooth, soft and elegant.

Full-Bodied A term relating to the body or mouth-filling capacity of a wine. Additionally, it applies to wines that are robust, intensely flavoured, and comparatively high in sugar, or alcohol content.

Generic Wine "Place-name" - wines that are named after European wine-producing districts such as Burgundy, Chablis, Champagne, Port, Rhine, Sauternes, Sherry and so forth.

Maturity The stage in the aging of wines when they have developed all of their characteristic qualities to full perfection.

Oaky The odour and/or flavour of wines aged in small oak barrels. Some oak barrels impart a toasty or spicy vanillin odour and taste which is desirable in moderation but undesirable if exaggerated.

Proprietary Wine Wines carrying a made-up name originated by a specific winery or proprietor.

Tannin A bitter compound found in the seeds, stems, and skins of grapes, and is extracted from wooden barrels. It is quite astringent and causes a puckering sensation in the front of the mouth.

Varietal Wine The name of the dominant grape used in a wine -- Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Grigio and Sangiovese. Varietal wines require that at least 75 percent of that grape variety is used.

Vintage The year that the grapes were picked or harvested for the making of wine, with the date shown on the label.

[A growing collection of terms that will be added to over time from various sources.]


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Nardone Baker Wines

PO Box 386, McLaren Vale, South Australia, 5171, Australia.

10 Gray Street, Kilkenny, South Australia, 5009, Australia
Phone +61 8 8445 8100 
Fax +61 8 8445 8200

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