Words You Want To Know Before A Wine Tasting

Its often difficult to describe what you're looking for in a wine, the sommelier standing over your table seems like he's talking a different language and before you know it you've ordered a bottle filled with a grape variety you've never heard of, from a region you've never heard of. Hopefully these terms will help you understand what is about to arrive to your table.


Old world

When referring to a wine from the old world people are talking about Europe. Wines from these regions as a general rule will show mineral aspects, earthiness and more subtle fruit flavours, of course there will be some exceptions to the rule.

New World

Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, South America etc. Again as a general rule these countries will tend to be more fruit forward on the palate and on the nose.


The rivulets of wine that run down the sides of the glass when the wine is swirled. Also referred to as tears, the slower the tearing the higher the alcohol content


This is a process by which wines ultimately age and lose character and flavor. As it develops, it oxidizes as minute amounts of oxygen in the bottle are incorporated in the wine. If you believe that the wine isn't as vibrant as it should be i.e. lacking flavor, bland on the palate and nose, it is always worth asking your sommelier or waiter to try a little bit.


This word can trip you up in the new world, especially the USA. This term is frequently understood to imply high quality but which, in the United States, has no legal meaning. At its best it can refer to wines that are produced from the finest lots and the best vineyard plots and treated with extra care, resulting in exquisite wines.

At its worst, its cooped by disingenuous wineries who prey on the consumers thinking that reserve must mean better. The European terms reserve (Spanish) and riserva (Italian) are, however, legally binding and have to do with ageing requirements in the bottle and barrel.


This term as the name may suggests an approachable wine. In the positive sense, soft suggests a gentle elegance that can match splendidly with food.  


This is a naturally occurring compound in wine which are extracted from the skins, stems and seeds of the grapes. Although tannings are most often associated with red wines, which ferment on their skins and extract tannins as well as colour and flavour, white wines can be tannic if fermented in contact with grape skins. Tannin can be described as herbaceous and sometimes astringent. Although the former does?t sound appealing, tannin adds complexity, balance and structure to a wine.


This is the level of acid in the wine and is compared to having a spritze in the wine. Wines acidity is reflected by the perception of tartness or sharpness in the wine. Acidity is great for wines that are fatty, rich, salty, greasy or mildly spicy. Additionally it can bring out quality ingredients.


The year that the grapes were harvested and the resultant wine made. Wines labelled with a vintage must contain 95% wine from the stated year.


Just because the wine has bubbles it doesn't make what your drinking champagne. Champagne can only be classified as champagne if it comes from the province of champagne in northern France. Spain has its own interpretation called Cava while Italy has its called Prosecco. In Australia it is sparkling wine.

(Feature Image from huffingtonpost.com)

Author: Nick Rose / Date: 23-01-2018 01:04 AM

Category:  Food & Drinks

Tags:  #Wine#Drinks#Alcohol#Wine Tasting