Australians love their booze, but I’m probably not alone in wishing I knew what a few ‘wine words’ meant so next time I go to the Yarra Valley, I won’t feel like such a philistine.
We put together a list of commonly used flavour descriptions so you can take the next trip to Blackhearts in your stride.
Smooth and soft - a wine that fills your palette but not in an overbearing way.
The tannins of a wine basically provide its backbone - they’re the grape skins and stems that influence the flavour in a big way but usually grow less pronounced the older the wine.
A wine that’s a bit green, in that it has a slightly strong finish but it’s not horrible to drink.
You’ll usually find this is describing a white wine, and it’s likely because it’s a little acidic and is the kind of wine you want to drink in the sun on a hot day.
These wines will have a heap of fruit - which is great if you’re a fruit-lover but if not, it might be a little too sweet or overwhelming for your taste.
Bright wines are higher in acidity and are vivid. They’re the kind of wine that has lots of flavour and a bit of zest.
The aroma is how the wine smells. Older wines will use the term ‘bouquet’ but it basically means the same thing. You’ll hear people say that a wine aroma usually contains one of the following: fruits, herbs, flowers, grass, butterscotch, or chocolate.
Sometimes you’ll be able to smell a toasty smell in the wine, and if that’s the case it means the barrel that the wine has aged in was burnt and toasted inside before use.
Dry is the opposite of sugary and sweet in wine-land.
Each wine has a natural amount of acidity, which allows it to taste lively but if it has too much you’ll find it tasting quite tart and sour.
A good wine is a balanced wine, generally speaking. If you hear someone use this word, it means the fruit, acid and tannins are all working well together, and neither eclipse the other overall.
Wines that are less fruity and acidic are often described as round or thick - they’ll feel heavy but nice and velvety too.
Want more? Book our Master of Meat, Cheese & Wine with Todd Moses to find out how you can match your fave wine with some tasty sides, or if you’re heading to Europe you can visit the home of wine with an Italian wine experience.
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