Learn How to Talk “Wine”

Glass of Wine

A wine glossary to help you to enjoy your wine better.

If you’re not a wine connoisseur but you’ve gone wine tasting, you’ve probably experienced the utter confusion when people start swirling and sniffing their wine before they slurp it and stare into nothingness. That’s right, wine tasting is more than just saying jay or nay to a cultivar.

It’s all about the fragrances, acidity, colour and tannins. If you have no idea what we’re talking about, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’ve created a glossary of the most important “wine words” that you’d need if you want to hang out with your wine-knowing friends.

Wine glossary:

Accessible:

When a wine is easy to drink early on, we say that the wine is accessible.

Acidity:

All wines naturally contain some acids. One of the goals when making wine is to pick the grapes when there’s a perfect balance of sugar and acid content. The acidity of a wine refers to the level of sharpness you perceive when you drink it, so an unbalanced wine with a high level of acidity can taste sour.

Balance:

This refers to the level of harmony between acidity, tannins, fruit, oak, and other elements in a wine.

Blanc de blanc:

Simply speaking, a white wine made from white grapes. A blanc de blanc champagne is made out of Chardonnay grapes only. Most important in Champagne, where a blanc de blanc is 100% Chardonnay.

Blanc de noirs:

When the juice of red grapes is quickly removed from the skins to make a white wine, it’s called a Blanc de Noir.

Body:

This describes the weight and fullness of wine in the mouth due to a combination of alcohol and other flavour components. A wine can be light, medium, or full bodied. Wines that come from a warmer climate have a fuller body because of the increased ripeness of the grapes.

Bouquet:

These are the complex aromas that you pick up in aged wines. They are more mature with subtle smells, which derive from the fermentation process, the aging in wood and the bottling process.

Character:

A wine with character means that the wine is more complex and makes you want to savour and taste every sip.

Complex:

A complex wine has many flavours in each sip and it keeps revealing more odours, tones and characters as you drink it.

Finish:

After you’ve kept the wine in your mouth for a while and swallowed it, the aftertaste and feeling that lingers is called the finish. The better the wine the longer and more pleasant is the finish.

Full:

A full wine has a significant weight in the mouth that is related to factors such as alcohol content sugar and many more.

Hard:

An unbalanced wine can leave an unpleasant, firm texture in your mouth and is referred to as the hardness.

Legs:

When you swirl a wine in a glass and stop there are different tears running down the sides of the glass. These are called the legs and tell you a lot about the body of the wine. When the legs are thicker and slower it means that the wine has a fuller body

Nose:

The nose of a wine is a term used to refer to the smell of the wine.

Palate:

People will often ask how a wine feels on the palate, this quite simply refers to how the wine feels on the tongue. Swirl the wine around in your mouth and ask yourself – does it have many flavours, and what flavours can you recognise and distinguish?

Tannins:

Tannins adds structure and aging potential to red wines. The older the wine, the more velvety the taste, which means the tannins have combined and are not as hard and rough as a young wine.

Texture:

The texture of a wine refers to how it feels in your mouth.

Take a look at our app to find a wine farm in Western Australia where you can show off your new wine vocabulary