Friday, September 21, 2012

How-To: Talk About Wine

Wine reviewers, sommeliers, shop-owners...we all tend to use the same sort of language when talking about wine. We've talked about this before when discussing our rating system, but it's important to keep in mind what some of these common descriptors mean, to better understand what other people think about wine (if that's important to you) and also allow you to better describe what you are looking for.

Crisp: High in acid, these wines often taste of citrus.
Sweet: High in sugar, these can wines can have a wide range of flavors, from sweet fruits, to honey, to flowers. This is pretty easy to detect.

Fruity: When the pure flavor of fruit outweighs everything else, this is a common descriptor used. The full range of fruit flavors apply here, from berry to tree fruit to citrus. Can often be confused with "Sweet" but there is a distinct difference.

Earthy: "Dark" smells and flavors are represented here; flavors and smells like dirt, forest floor, and stone.
Herbal: Savory flavors, like fresh herbs or grass.
Spicy: Usually from high levels of tannins from time spent in wood or natural tendencies of the varietal; flavors of black pepper, or other spices.
Full Bodied: An overall descriptor, to express a wine with big, powerful flavors.

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