There are important descriptors to know when talking about flavors in wine. For many of us who enjoy wine with gusto it is challenging to understand and correctly use wine flavor descriptions. While taste is a matter of opinion, there are more objective terms to use when describing a wine’s taste without getting too lost in the weeds. These four wine flavor descriptions will help you talk about flavor in wine far beyond the difference between white and red.
You can have a sweet wine or the opposite, which is a dry wine. You can also have a medium-dry or off-dry wine which has just a subtle hint of sweetness. Dry is not the opposite of wet in this case, and a wine that leaves your mouth feeling dry is likely a high tannin wine.
Acidity can make a white wine taste refreshing, crisp, and even sour. Low acidity wines are often described as fat meaning that they are mouth filling, big, or round.
Tannins are found throughout nature and are responsible for the bitter astringent taste in wines. Well managed these can be extremely pleasant. Low tannin wines are smooth and soft, whereas high tannin wines may be bitter and inky.
Full, light, and medium body is exactly what it sounds like. A full-bodied wine is thick and will coat your glass. A light-bodied wine is thin and water-like in its viscosity. A medium is in between.
Now you might think about including flavors into your wine flavor descriptions. Flavor descriptors might include flowery, fruity, earthy, spicy, or smoky. These may be harder to recognize at first but by trying something fruity followed by something smoky you will have a much better idea of how to pick up on the complex and subtle flavors of wine.
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