• Memorizing wine terms can be boring, but curiosity and the desire to fit in when discussing wine can overcome the predisposition one might have towards not memorizing the boring wine terms.

    Blind Tasting: When one tastes a wine without any knowledge of the wine (i.e. vintage, producer, varietal)

    Breathing: Adding oxygen to a wine through decanting or swirling. Letting a wine breathe softens the tannic structure of a wine that is more aggressive allowing the wine to become more approachable.

    Bouquet: The bouquet is the conglomeration of aromas that wafts to your nose when swirling a wine in your glass.

    Chewy: When a wine is chewy it is because the wine itself is thick and one has a propensity towards actually wanting to chew even though there is really no physical substance needing to be chewed. This sensation is typically from wines with a higher alcohol and glycerin content.

    Complex: A complex wine is a wine with many facets. It has a bouquet that gives aromas reminiscent of many fruits, herbs or earthy qualities. It also has acidity, tannin (in red wines), and a lengthy finish that causes a thought provoking reflection on the wine.

    Earthy: When a wine exhibits qualities in the aromas or on the palate that are earthy in nature. For instance most Burgundian reds have a dusty quality to them whereas some Italian reds have hints of brick.

    Flabby: When a wine is over-extracted, allowed to overripen to the point of losing too much acidity, it becomes monochromatic thus lacking in character or complexity.

    Jammy: Is a wine with concentrated fruit flavors and characteristics. When the wine has such a ripeness and intensity of fruit it is reminiscent of jam or fruit preserves thus making it jammy.

    Lees: The yeast after fermentation is often left in the wine to add flavor and aroma

    Noble Rot: Botrytis cinerea otherwise known as Noble Rot is a fungus that causes the grape skins to become permeable allowing moisture to be released and thus causes the grape to become super concentrated because through this dehydration. It is naturally occurring usually when sunny weather and moisture alternate, but is often sprayed on grapes to guarantee its occurrence. This super concentrated juice is very high in sugars creating a dessert wine when fermented.

    Nose: Often synonymous with bouquet in that it is the aromatics that a wine releases, although bouquet is typically used on more complex wines.

    Oenophile: Me

    Off: When a wine is flawed or spoiled. When its characteristics aren’t what they should be based on prior tastings of the same wine.

    Oxidized: When a wine has breathed for too long. The intake of too much oxygen causes a flat wine that tastes stale and undesirable.

    Vertical: A vertical is when there are multiple vintages of the same wine present for a tasting or on a wine list.

    Know your wine terms, and the rest can follow. Wine exists in everyday life for nearly everyone I know. If you want to be able to talk about what you’re tasting then learn the basics of the wine language…


    It makes everything so much easier.