How many times has this happened to you? You’re at a fancy adult dinner. Your host passed out the wine and cheese. You lift the glass to your lips, take a delicate sip, make a yummy sound and open your mouth to describe the experience. Words fail you. Well! Not anymore.
Wine vocabulary, like all the amazing wines in BC, is complicated and rich. So we’ve compiled a list of some basic wine tasting terms so you show off with the best of em (once it’s safe to drink with other people of course). In the meantime, feel free to keep on sippin’ and try this epic vocab out on your cat.
When you go to taste a wine, start by giving the glass a swirl. Not only does this make you look super cool and cultured, but it also agitates and aerates the wine. Next, raise the glass to your nose and take a whiff to appreciate the bouquet (we’ll be getting to that in a moment), then swirl again, and take a sip. Allow the flavours and structure of the wine to flow over your taste buds.
As you savour and take in the complexity of the tasting experience, give the glass one last swirl. You’ll see the small streams running down the glass; these are the legs of the wine and are usually related to the alcohol content.
It’s the soil, weather, rocks, seasons/temperatures, geological profile, and so much more. At the end of the day, it is everything in wine, anything that affects the growing of the grape and the taste of the wine.
A natural component found more prominently in red wines and coming from the grape seeds, skins, and stems. To truly experience tannins, try steeping a very strong cup of tea and take a sip.
Contained in all wines, acidity plays a major role in the cultivation of a great wine. From weather to the ripening of the grapes and the ultimate flavour and finish a glass of wine delivers. Many things affect acidity levels and determine whether it’s a simple (straightforward and fruity) or a complex (multiple unravelling flavours) bottle of wine.
The aroma is the combination of smells produced by the fruit. As you would guess, it’s determined by the grape and specific varietal.
The bouquet is the smell given off by the finished wine as a result of pretty much everything from barrel ageing to ingredients and even barrel type. Of course, the bouquet primarily comes from the fermentation and ageing process. (Imagine bringing up that bouquet on your next date? Talk about fancy.)
Many factors combine to create the body of a wine; including acidity, tannins, colour, and alcohol content. Outside of personal choice, the body of wine will also be one of the key factors in determining a great food pairing. On the red wine scale, full-bodied wines will typically have higher alcohol content, darker/richer colour, lower acidity, and more tannin. It’s the reason something like cabernet sauvignon blends terrifically with steaks and dishes like lamb chops with frizzled herbs. The firm tannins, or full body taste, of these wines, refresh the palate after every bite.
The dryness of wine can be synonymous with the sweetness of the wine and the amount of sugar left in the wine. Most people have a preference when it comes to how dry their wine is (whether they know that or not). Typically, a Riesling or Gewurztraminer resides on the sweeter end of the spectrum while cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese land on the dry side.
How did it make you feel? What impression did the wine leave you with? Wine has so many possibilities and stories to tell, from light to full-bodied, dry or sweet, young or mature, flowery, fruity, earthy, spicy, and so much more…finish is exactly what it sounds like, it’s the final impression.