Whether you’re picking out a winner from the in-law’s wine cellar before dinner, or attending a wine tasting with some superiors from work and are looking to impress, life’s too short to be behind the eight ball when it comes to wine.
Anyone can enjoy a drop of vino, but few have the vocab to back it up when the situation calls for it. We’re not advocating for a pretentious vocal wine tasting summary every time you’re out for a session with your mates, but rather ensuring you nail the basics of the subject every well-educated man should be familiar with.
You might need to add in notes of smokiness after the recent stock leftover from the Australian bushfires.
Best Wine Tasting Terms
Wine from first glance…
Appellation – This refers to the area which the grapes were grown. Quite often a wine from the Hunter Valley may source some grapes from elsewhere in the country to pair in the fermentation process.
Blend – A wine made from more than one grape variety, often to marry the attributes of grapes that are commonly known to complement each other, such as a Cabernet Merlot.
Importer – The company or distributor responsible for bringing an overseas wine into the country. Importers tend to stick to a similar style of wines, so if you like one of them you may like multiple in their portfolio.
Varietal – Despite giving the impression it implies multiple grape varieties, varietal actually means that a wine is made up of at least 75% of a single grape. I.e to be called a Shiraz, the percentage ratio should be no less than three-quarters of the Shiraz variety compared to others.
Vintage – The year of harvest, but not necessarily the year of production and bottling.
When giving your thoughts on the drop…
Acidity – Higher acid levels trigger a sharper and crisper taste. All grapes contain acid, though this is usually offset to some degree by adding alcohol and sugar.
Aroma – A wine’s aroma can be determined by nosing the glass before drinking. By doing this you’re smelling the aroma of the grapes before fermentation. Often called the “nose” of a wine.
Balance – Recognising a wine’s balance is one of the most difficult things to do when wine tasting. This is because you must account for alcohol, acidity, fruitfulness, tannins, sweetness as a collective experience – how do they harmonise as one final product?
Body – Not synonymous with quality but rather the physical presence a wine leaves in your mouth. Is it bold and heavy with many flavours on the palate? In this case it could be described as “full-bodied.”
Complexity – A valued characteristic of a wine. If a wine boasts complexity, the depth of flavours, nuances on the palate and layers of tastes are intriguing and compelling.
Finish – One of the most important ways to determine a wine’s quality, the finish is how the taste of the wine lingers in the mouth.
Mature – A wine that has reached its aging peak. How long a wine is to be aged for is dependent on a variety of factors. Alternatively, young wines are made to be drunk right away. They’re usually crisp and low in tannins.
Texture – How to describe the way a wine feels in your mouth, often compared alongside a wine’s body. I.e smooth, chewy, silky.
Other handy terms to verse yourself in…
Aeration – Purposefully allowing a wine to breathe. This can be done by transferring the wine to a decanter, or by simply letting it sit in the glass for a moment before drinking. Swirling the glass isn’t just a pretentious show, either, as it aerates all the elements of the wine and enhances the nose.
Corked – A wine that’s corked has usually had a build up of mold on the cork, or it has begun to disintegrate, tainting the wine and often making it very difficult or unpleasant to drink.
Oxidised – A wine that has been opened and exposed to air for too long. Most wines have a maximum of 48 – 72 hours after opening before they go off.
Sediment – Found in wine that has been aging for a considerable number of years. Floating tannins or colour pigments that settle on the bottom of a bottle usually occurs in darker red wines. This is not a bad thing, although may need to be decanted if there’s a sizeable amount.
Tannins – Phenolic compounds found in plants – in wine’s case the stems, skins and seeds of grapes. Wines that are high in tannins are considered “dry”.
Order the goods online now to ensure you have enough to chat about over the coming months.