10-Bouquet: The smell of a wine after fermentation, specialized wine-making techniques, and/or aging. Grapes can have many different natural aromas, like citrus fruit scents in white wine or black fruit notes in red wine. However, as grapes are handled in the winery and transition into wine, new smells come about. These scents may be related to oak aging, MLF (Malolactic Fermentation/Conversion,) or bottle aging.
9-Oakey: The smell and taste of wine that has spent time in oak barrels. When wine sits in oak for extended periods of time, it develops flavors of cedar, vanilla, spices, etc. French oak imparts more subtle spicy flavors into the wine, whereas American oak creates stronger flavors of coconut and vanilla.
8-Finish: The amount of time that pleasant wine flavors linger in one’s mouth after the wine is tasted. Some wines have a “short” finish where the good flavors vanish within a few seconds of swallowing. Wines with a “long” finish will deliciously linger in your mouth for upwards of 2 minutes.
7-Legs (aka tears): The droplets that form on the sides of the wine glass due to the presence of sugar and alcohol. These “legs” are more prevalent in sweeter or high alcohol wines.
6-Natural wine: Wines made with very little human intervention, relatively speaking. The opinions of what constitutes a natural wine are controversial, given that it’s almost impossible to avoid human intervention.
5-Oxidation: The process in which wines are exposed to oxygen. In many cases, this process is deliberate to create specific flavors. Oxidation can happen in the winery when wine is naturally exposed to air, or when it seeps into oak barrels over time.
4-Tannins: Polyphenols, or astringent chemical compounds found in grape skins that result in a cottony mouthfeel when one eats grapes or drinks wine. Low tannin grapes include Pinot Noir and Grenache. High tannin grapes include Nebbiolo and Sangiovese.
3-Sparkling: A wine with significant amounts of Carbon Dioxide that makes it “fizzy.” Examples of sparkling wine include Champagne, Cava and Cremant.
2-Terroir: “Sense of place” that speaks to the climate, soil, and other environmental factors that make a specific area or vineyard unique. Many regions label and categorize wine by the “place” to accentuate these factors.
1-Blend: A cross between two or more grapes, vintages, or sourcing areas. A blend can mean different things, but most commonly refers to a mixing of grape varieties.
For more wine vocabulary, head over to the glossary
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