Wine Glossary

Acid, Acidic
A sharp or tart taste in a wine, not necessarily indicating spoilage. All wines contain some acid; too little may leave the flavor flat or dull. Often, a young wine has a somewhat acid taste that diminishes or disappears during aging.

Aroma
The smell of the grape variety that carries over into the wine. It is most perceptible in Concord and Muscat grapes.

Astringent
A sharp, puckery taste in a new wine due to tannin (see that listing). Aging in cask or bottle is the remedy.

Big Wine
One having strong flavor and full body, to serve with flavorsome food.

Body
The viscosity or "feeling" of a wine in the mouth--which is related in part to its alcohol content. A wine may have a thin, medium, full, or heavy body.

Bouquet
A combination of wine odors - that of the grape variety (see "aroma"), plus others that develop in the wine during fermentation and aging in oak.

Finish
The aftertaste of wine. Some wines taste sweet at first but "finish" dry in the mouth. Any wine taste that leaves the palate quickly is said to have a "short" finish. A taste that lingers carries a "long" finish--a quality to be desired.

Flat
Usually said of wine lacking in acidity (see "acid").

Flowery
A floral smell in wines such as Gewurztraminer and young wines made of White Riesling grapes.

Foxy
Term used to describe the strong grapey smell and taste of some wines made from our native Eastern grapes, such as Concord, Catawba, Niagara, and Delaware. Such grapes once were called "fox grapes," which accounts for the word "foxy."

Full, Full-Bodied
Wine causing a sensation of fullness in the mouth (see "body").

Nose
Term frequently used in place of "smell" or "aroma," as in "The nose of this wine is very flowery."

Nutty
Having a nutlike smell or taste; often said of sherry.

Peppery
A spicy nose and flavor in red wine.

Tannic, Tannin
A substance in grape skins, seeds, and stems necessary for the development of fine red wines. In young wines, it is unpleasant, but the "puckery" taste disappears in time and a harmonious blending of wine characteristics takes place. See "astringent."


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