Many of us are used to see wines in grocery store shelves, and cannot help but turn our heads at those high-end wine stores in an attempt to understand the difference between grocery wine and the real thing. Some are curious and just want to comprehend what people are talking about, when they use terms such as tannin, earthy, body and finish. It almost sounds like the parts of a novel, and well, that’s because it kind of is. Every wine tells a story, which is why we`ve put together this list of nine terms everybody who drinks wine should know:
Most people have heard this one, at least the fruit part. We all know wine is made of fermented grapes, but here’s the interesting part, a wine is called fruit- forward when its primary flavors are sweet fruits. That means, when strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, cherry or even gooseberry flavors dominate the taste of the wine. And contrary to general belief, this isn’t always the case. Other flavors, that might sound odd, can be found in wine; like leather or graphite. Hence, if you enjoy sweet flavors, wine from California, Washington, Argentina, Spain, Australia and the South of Italy is what you’re looking for.
Unlike the taste of a fruit-forward, sweet wine; clove, spices, chocolate, rocks, cured meats or even beeswax’s flavors are known as earthy or savory. These can be found especially in red wines, and although fruits mighty play a part there, they won’t be as sweet. So, sour cherry, black currant and wild cherry are the most common fruits in these wines. Therefore, if you are a “no cream-or-sugar-in my coffee-person” earthy Chilean, French, Austrian, New Yorker or Oregonian are your kind of wines.
In wine lingo, when we refer to body, we are talking about the weight of the wine in your mouth. It might sound weird, but it’s just a set of characteristics, like high alcohol levels or sweetness. When wines are sweeter, they give the impression of a fuller body.
When a wine is not sweet, we call it dry- this doesn’t mean that it has evaporated! Actually, most wines that are not form a box, taste fruity or chocolaty, are dry. In wine aficionado terms, they are either dry, off-dry (a bit sweet), or plain sweet.
Let’s get something straight, tannins are not the cause of your “next-day-headaches”- that’s a myth. But they do provide taste and body to red wine. What we‘re talking about is that dry, bitter, prickly sensation on your mouth. And as you know, that sensation can vary from wine to wine. This is because wine might have low, medium, or high tannin content.
The sensation a wine leaves after you take a sip, is known as its finish. Wines might have a sweet, bitter, smoky, or tart aftertaste, or a combination of these.
This might sound crazy, but this term refers to how much wine tastes like the region it was grown in. That’s how many people differentiate the high-end from low-end wines. You can try a Malbec form Argentina, but it will never taste the same as one form Chile. It’s kind of like traveling, but with our taste palates.
Complexity is not hard to explain, it refers to how many different flavors a wine has. Although, in order for a wine to be complex or layered, and have multiple tastes, it has to be made with high-quality grapes, most, if not all first-class wines have this characteristic- and the good part is that they don’t have to be expensive to present this attribute.
Finally, you can`t go wrong with this one; just ask for a crowd-pleaser, a wine that is known to be liked by many people. This kind of wine is usually fruity, full-bodied and have a ripe aftertaste, which means it’s good stuff.