WTF is that?!
I know wine vocabulary can seem intimidating at first, I feel ya. When you hear people talking about wine you may think to yourself: WTF is that?! In this blog I’m going to break down the most common and crucial wine vocabulary to master your next wine tasting, impress your friends at a dinner party, and rock the wine aisle!
Are you ready? Let’s do this!
#1 NOSE 👃
When we talk about the nose of a wine you may occasionally hear people say “Bouquet”. It’s not as common anymore but it still means the aromas that come off a wine or the aromas you are smelling.
These are descriptive words that are subjective, not objective. For example, when I say I smell “citrus”, I am not actually smelling lemons 🍋, there are no actual lemons in my wine. At most, I am creating a word association with the smell.
Wine vocab in terms of aromas is VERY french food-centric. At this point, it has not been very inclusive.
Want my best aroma tip? Honestly, whatever you smell is FINE. It’s about what matters and makes the most sense to YOU. It’s about building your own muscles. Developing your nose is something that takes time and is a skill. You don’t emerge fresh out of the womb being a pro at it, you gotta practice! The more you taste wine the better you’ll become at identifying key aromas!
#2 THE PALATE 👅
The palate is what we’re tasting and what is happening in the mouth.
This tends to be more objective. With the palate, we’re analyzing the structure, which can be broken down into five components:
BODY, ACIDITY, ALCOHOL, SUGAR, and TANNINS!
Let’s break these down.
This is the texture of the wine, the weight of the wine in your mouth. What it feels like, is it heavy? is it light? You can use descriptors such as light, medium, and FULL. Or even, rich, luscious, lots of different textural words to play around with.
Acidity is acidity, plain and simple. The acidity refers to the fresh, sharp, flabby, or greasy type of feel to a wine.
Can be high, medium, or low. It can be spicy or have fumes (hopefully not) 😂
This is a really important word that’s commonly misused, so listen up. Basically, sweet wine is a wine that has sugar in it. Sugar is measurable, it is objective, it is not an opinion. It is straight facts.
Oftentimes, people interchange the words sweet and fruity. When you take a whiff of wine, and it smells fruity, that does not mean it is ✨sweet✨ I repeat, does not mean it is ✨sweet✨ If you want to learn more about wine sweetness, watch this video here!
When a wine does not have residual sugar left in it, it is a dry wine! If you want to learn more about dry wine, you can watch my video here!
The “chewy” thing in wine 😉 to dive deeper into the topic, you can watch my Tannin video here!
And last, but not least, Legs (or tears) 🍷
People seem to be obsessed with this one! These are the drips that form on the side of the glass which indicates viscosity and surface tension. TBH doesn’t mean much. It could possibly indicate high alcohol or sugar levels, but most times you shouldn’t be concerned about the legs. What is it not? I can tell you that it is 100% NOT an indicator of quality in any meaningful way.
Write VOCAB in the comments below if you learnt a new word today!