If you ask us, wine is about connection and celebration. We gather and toast accomplishments, unwind from long days with close friends and gift it to show our gratitude for the ones we love. But hold up, then why is it wine is also associated with pretentious behavior and an elitist attitude? One of the big problems we see is wine language.
In our effort to keep wine a pleasurable experience for all, we bring you a breakdown of common wine slang starting the series with a free glossary of terms to help you navigate the basics of tasting wine. Ok, time to breakdown the BS!
Wine’s sweetness comes from residual sugar (RS) that stays in the wine after the alcohol is created during fermentation. Typically, sugar is not added to wine to make it sweeter. There can be any level of sugar remaining from bone-dry (dry meaning no sugar) to super sweet.
Acidity is what makes lemons sour and your mouth water, but it’s also what makes wines racy, vibrant and refreshing! The acids in the grapes determine the level of acidity you detect in the wine. It’s presence is necessary to balance the overall taste, especially of sweet wines.
Tannins are found in red wines and come mostly from the skins of red wine grapes. You have to think of tannins as more of a feeling than a flavor. High tannins can feel mouth-drying or gritty and can create a bitter sensation in the back of your mouth. Wines that are high in tannins are also usually served with food. Softer tannins can give richness and body to the wine.
Higher alcohol wine will have more of a “burn” as it goes over the back of your tongue. We refer to this feel as a wine being HOT! Sweeter wines (more residual sugar) tend to have lower alcohol content.
A wine is considered well-balanced when all of these characteristics are in harmony and do not overpower each other. It may be the last on our list, but this feeling is exactly what we seek when we are tasting wine!
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