Wine Tasting Terms - All You Need To Know

Wine tasting, like many other subjects, has its own vocabulary. These are some common terms:


Too much acid in the wine produces an effect on the palate similar. This is what people are referring to when they say a wine is too Sour.


The wine tastes and smells of vinegar. This is as a result of a Bacterial defect.


The smell of the wine.


The right combination of sugar and acid in the wine, in the same, that any ripe, fresh fruit contains a pleasing balance of sugar and fruit acid. 


Unlike the aroma, this is a complex smell that comes from wine as it matures. It may include a woody scent that comes from barrel aging or it may contain elements that you would never think to associate with grapes- such as tar, leather, violets, cedar, pepper, etc.


The weight of the wine in the mouth, mostly resulting from the Alcohol. A full-bodied wine is usually between 12 and 14%  Alcohol. The higher the alcohol, the heavier the wine will feel on Palate.


The opposite of sweet.


Pleasing, fragrant perfume in white wines.


A descriptive term for aroma and taste of fruit in the wine. Some confuse fruity with sweet, but wine can be both fruity and very dry at the same time.


Used interchangeably with aroma and bouquet. Also used as a verb “to smell” the wine, e.g., “The wine writer nosed the wine.”


Wine exposed to too much air becomes darker in colour, and nutty and flat in flavour. Desirable in some sweeter wines.


A term often used to describe an individual’s complete sense of taste. It is more specifically the final result from the tongue, teeth, gums, nasal cavity and checks when tasting wine.


The flavor of sugar in the wine.


A component in young wines and especially red wines that fades slowly with bottle aging. It gives the same taste and gritty feeling as tea that is too strong.


Terms on a sparkling wine label include:

Extra Brut: A very rare sparkling wine without any sweetener and less than 0.6% sugar.

Brut: Normally the driest of sparkling wine.

Extra Dry: Also dry but not as dry as brut, and with a slightly softer feel on the plate.

Cuvee: A blend of wines used to make the style each champagne house wishes to sell.

Blanc de Blancs: White wine from white (Chardonnay) grapes only.

Blanc de Noir: White wine from black grapes (Pinot Noir and/or Pinot Meunier). By removing the skins immediately after pressing, the juice remains white.

Rose: By leaving the black grape skin in with the juice a short time during fermentation, a pale red colour is added to the wine. A small amount of red wine may be blended into the cuvee.

Crackling Wine: Less intense sparkle due to less pressure in the bottle.

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