The taste of the wine lingering in the mouth after the wine has
been swallowed. Finer, complex wines usually have a long aftertaste.
The smell of a wine acquired from the grapes from which it is made,
as differentiated from Bouquet, which is the smell derived from
the ageing process, especially bottle ageing.
That puckery sensation in the mouth: it is generally the result
of tannin being present in the wine. Tannin occurs naturally in
the skins and seeds of grapes. Moderate astringency is not necessarily
negative and may enhance a wine's compatibility with certain foods.
A positive term to describe flavor, acidity and degree of dryness
or sweetness as being properly and harmoniously proportioned in
a wine. (Unbalanced wine may be described as tart, flat,
One of the four basic tastes which we can perceive (the others being
sweet, sour and salty). Bitterness is almost always a negative in
The substance, feel or texture of a wine in the mouth. This is a
highly subjective judgment based on the wine's characteristics.
The smell a wine derives from the ageing process, especially in
bottles. Aging is the gradual oxidation of chemical esters in the
A wine that is sound, with no noticeable defects ñ off smells or
tastes. If clean is the only descriptor, the wine is likely to be
simple and not especially interesting.
An elusive but complimentary term which suggests that the wine presents
many elements of flavor and aroma (bouquet, oak-aged character,
perhaps a style reflecting the region where the grapes were grown)
in an especially attractive way. Winemakers always strive for complexity
in fine wines.
The distinctive taste or smell in a wine resulting from a moldy
cork. Disagreeable but not harmful. Natural corks are sound when
removed from the tree and are produced with great care, so actual
"corkiness" is a rare occurrence.
This is a positive term to describe a light wine without intense
flavors but one that is well made and elegant.
The aroma or taste of herbs in wine. It is typical of certain varietal
grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc) and can sometimes be
described as grassiness but should not dominate the flavors in the
A wine with a low concentration of the various characteristics of
wine. The opposite of Full-bodied. Light is not necessarily a negative:
the winemaker may have intended to produce a wine that is delicate
rather than robust.
A term used to describe a wine which has become oxidized and also
has been exposed to heat. This is the way that Madeira is produced,
but in other wines the adjective is unflattering.
Soft in the mouth; this word sometimes suggests a sweet sensation.
The smell of a wine, which is made up of the aroma and the bouquet.
The taste and smell derived from contact with oak barrels during
the ageing process. Experienced winemakers can finely control the
oaky characteristics in a wine by using new or used barrels, French
or American oak from various regions within each country, with interiors
lightly, moderately or heavily toasted (charred over a flame), etc.
The characteristic of a wine, especially a white wine, which has
had too much contact with the air, has lost its freshness and perhaps
darkened in color.
The astringent, harsh tactile sensation (not bitterness), sometimes
from excessive tannins, especially in young red wines. Contrast
A wine which has balance, flavor and body with none dominating and
none absent and with no major defect. A poor wine could not be described
as round but it does not necessarily mean fine or great.
The deposit which is a natural by-product of wine during bottle
ageing. Sediment is not cloudiness or haziness and is not a defect;
it consists principally of tannins and color pigments that combine
and precipitate out of solution.
Describes a wine high in tannin, a natural substance coming from
grape skins and seeds (especially in red wines) and from the wood
in oak barrels. Tannin imparts structure, texture and complexity
to a wine; it is an antioxidant and contributes to wine ageing.
To the taste, tannin is astringent and makes the mouth pucker.