In the world of wine there are technical terms for tasting: each association has its own and holds on to them. And then there is a lyrical language, which mixes those same concepts with the desire to speak in a more free and creative way. If Luigi Veronelli is credited with adopting an emotional, cultured and poetic oenological lexicon, it is not always easy to grasp all the nuances of the descriptions of wine offered by experts. Also because it often thrives on the re-semantisation of very particular terms in another context, to create a language of great charm. We have collected the wine concepts we think you need to know, to speak like an expert sommelier.
The figure of the sommelier is central to us: it is thanks to these experts that we can find gems from niche wineries from all over the world.
From their experience we have drawn a small glossary of 20 + 3 concepts to know, to understand sommeliers but above all wine : we will update it if you give us other curious words. Because non-technical terms are welcome, and welcome if these also help non-experts to express themselves on wine. Which is not easy at all!
Wine concepts to know
It is said of a slightly sweet wine, that is, it has a small residual sugar. If the sensation of sweetness is marked it is called amiable .
It generally describes a red wine and an important red wine, rich in body and tannin . It tends to have a negative nuance, in the sense of excess body and tannin. Synonym of severe .
Drinking is the very act of tasting. It is used to indicate a wine, generally in the expression "ready to drink", or a wine ready to drink, i.e. mature. It also takes on a nuance of an undemanding wine. Drinker , indeed.
Rather immediate: it indicates the gustatory analysis of a wine, that is, all the sensations you have on the palate while tasting it.
- Read also: how to taste wine
A wine that is unable to best express its potential, generally either because it needs to be oxygenated or because it is still too young and therefore not ready.
6. Complex or broad
It indicates a wine that expresses many types of aromas , it is a quality whereby these aromas are in good balance with each other. In particular, it is intended to possess both primary aromas (those typical of the vine, intrinsic in the starting grape) and secondary aromas (i.e. the aromas that the wine acquires during processing and which enrich the wine with floral, fruity and vegetal notes) , and tertiary, i.e. those acquired with aging (spicy, vanilla, toasted, animal, ethereal notes...).
Wine with concentrated tannins . It is a positive characteristic only if it is not related to an excessively bitter taste.
It concerns the structure of the wine and is linked to the presence of solid substances ( alcohol, glycerine, sugars, acids, tannins and mineral salts). The opposite of structured (or full-bodied) is drinkable.
- Read also: what is meant by full-bodied wine
An alternative to crunchy is " greedy ", as if it were a firm, not overripe fruit. It is used to indicate a wine that communicates sensations of freshness, fruity and floral.
10. Fresh or wine with "nice acidity"
Acidity is an essential component in wine and therefore in the gustatory analysis: it is recognized because it makes you salivate. Wine that has strong acidity is called "fresh". “Nice acidity” indicates an optimal level, with the acidity in good balance with the softness. A wine with good acidity gives a fresh and pleasant sensation. However, if it is excessive, the wine will be harsh , raw , pungent .
Remembering the fruit is the basic condition for quality wine. The word indicates the olfactory and gustatory sensations that bring to mind those of whole, ripe fruits .
The first sensation that opens the tasting is rarely used for the olfactory phase and more commonly to indicate the gustatory one.
It is said of a wine whose flavors and aromas remain long after being swallowed. The more technical term is persistent (its opposite is short ).
- Read also: what is persistence in wine
Intuitive: the set of sensations that a wine gives to the sense of smell , breathing it.
- Read also: never again a silent scene when smelling a wine
15. I like it
A term much loved by sommeliers. It indicates a very rounded wine but acquires a slightly negative nuance, to say that it is a wine made to be loved , a wine that perhaps has undergone processing or refinement that made it quickly available.
It indicates a wine first and foremost without defects, therefore fine and elegant , but also fruity and fresh.
The geometric shape is unmistakable: it indicates a wine without sharp edges, that is, full , soft, not too tannic and with not excessively strong acidity. Balanced.
Synonym of salty . Indicates a wine rich in anions of organic and inorganic acids which gives saline sensations, in fact.
It refers to a wine lacking in acidity, too evolved and weak: it should have been uncorked first. It is clearly an irreversible defect.
Indicates a wine with little body, delicate, low in alcohol. If the wine is balanced and the objective was not to make it a full-bodied wine, this is a positive characteristic.
Synonym of blend . It is the set of grapes of different varieties that contribute to the production of a certain wine.
Not a simple concept. Indicates a wine characterized by aromatic purity and precision . A wine that is what it should be. Vertical wines are those that do not wink at international taste, which traditionally tends instead to love fuller and more rounded flavours.
It may seem hilarious to call a wine “winy”, but that's the way it is. The term is used to express two concepts: high alcohol content or, much more often, a scent reminiscent of must . In this second case, the reference is above all to young reds.
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