Understanding Wine Speak!

There is a lot of jargon used to describe wine. I tried not to use it but the posts do not read properly without it. I have therefore included this ‘jargon buster’.

Acidity– The tartness of the wine. Wine that is crisp and fresh is acidic.

Appellation- The region or village or vineyard under which the grower of grapes is authorised to identify and sell win

Aperitif- A wine drank without food or before food to stimulate the appetite. Wines that are good as aperitifs lose their flavour when drank with food. They taste ‘acidic’ when drank with some foods.

Aerating-To add air to wine in order to soften the tannins.

Bouquet-The smell of the wine, E.G. a bouquet of green apples

Nose– The term used to describe how the wine smells in the glass

Sec– Dry

Lees- Lees is Sediment—dead yeast cells, grapeseeds, stems, pulp and tartrates (harmless tartaric acid crystals)—remaining in a barrel or tank during and after fermentation. Lees are removed from the wine unless the bottle states ‘sur lie’. This means that the wine has been aged with the lees in the wine.  Another way of advising the consumer that the wine is ‘sur lie’ is to state the the wine has been aged on the lees for a period of time.

Legs– When you swirl the wine in your glass it clings to the side of your glass, separates and then runs down the inside in strips. The strips are called ‘legs’. The higher the alcohol content the longer and thicker the legs. If your glass has been in the dishwasher the legs take longer to form because of residue on the glass, but they do form eventually.

Length- How long the taste of the wine lingers on your palate after you have swallowed it.

Tannin-Words that describe the taste that tannin gives wine are: dry, tart, acidic and bitter. For wine to work well with fatty food there needs to be tannin in the wine. Wines with high tannin need food and do not work as an aperitif.

Viscosity- when the wine or any fluid is thick and sticky. A wine with low viscosity will have smaller more watery legs. A wine with high viscosity will have larger slower legs.

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