Whether you’re an expert Sommelier or a casual wine drinker, having some common wine terms up your sleeve is an impressive party trick and can help make your wine drinking experience more dynamic. Here’s a short list of some of the most common wine terms we’re using at Wander + Ivy. Read through em, memorize your favorites, and give them a go at your next wine party or gathering!
Acidity: How tart the wine is, acid is a tart flavor and one of the descriptors that we often use when describing both white and red wine.
Aeration: The act of exposing wine to oxygen. The saying, “you gotta let it breathe”, that’s to aerate the wine. There are a lot of wines that are even lovelier after aeration, they tend to open up with the exposure to oxygen and become even more delicious.
Appellation: Different wine brands have different appellations that they source their grapes from. The appellation refers to a specific geographic region where the wine comes from.
Blend: Multiple varietals blended together!
Body: How full or heavy the wine feels in your mouth. A really nice big flavor in red wine may be described as a full-bodied red. Light, medium, or full-bodied are descriptors used. Generally, whites can be described as lighter in body with reds tending to be described as fuller in body.
Bouquet: We’re not talking flowers here ;). The bouquet is the smell that comes from aging wine. Essentially how the wine smells before tasting!
Cuvée: The champagne production refers to the best-pressed juice that you will get from the grapes as cuvée. It can also be used on a label as a descriptor. It’s a very complex fancy word!
Decanting: Tied to aeration, decanting is the act of pouring wine into a decanter to expose it to oxygen.
Earthy: Used to describe a flavor, specifically in red wines, people will say the wine smells and tastes earthy or fruity.
Fermentation: The process where yeast turns sugar into alcohol during the wine making process. More on that here!
Finish: One of our favorite parts of tasting, the finish! This refers to the period after you swallow your sip of wine, and wait a beat to see what flavor lingers in your mouth — that’s the finish. “Oh wow that had a really long finish”, you may say when the wine stays in your mouth for a long time. Additionally, new flavors can emerge on the finish!
This is not an exhaustive list of ALL wine terms, but these are some of the most common words that we use, and that our partners use. And now words that you can use too! Cheers everyone!
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