16 Wine Terms You Should Know

 You don't have to be a registered sommelier to be knowledgeable in the area of wine. To be fluent in the language of wine is a desirable skill that can aid anyone in many situations. It could be beneficial to carry a conversation about a certain Bordeaux's vintage in the late 90's with the CFO at your companies Christmas party.

The same is true if the first time you are meeting your girlfriends parents, her father starts scoffing at your choice of wine you chose to bring to dinner. But wouldn't it be a delight to skillfully persuade your future father-in-law that the climate that produced this vintage of Grenache in southern Spain helped to tame the tannin's produced by the blasted oak barrels and the classically high polyphenol rich Nebbiolo grape varietal. 

Okay, okay. That may never happen but why not be prepared, after all a gentleman is always prepared! 

To help you be more prepared I have compiled a list of some common and other not-so-common wine terms with their definitions which will develop your knowledge palate when it comes to the world of wines! 


1. Astringent 
This is the tasting term noting the harsh, bitter, and drying out sensation in the mouth caused by high levels of tannin (polyphenol) 

2. Balance
A term for when the elements of wine acid, sugars, tannin levels and alcohol come together in a harmonious way

3. Body
The tactile sensation describing the weight and fullness of a wine felt on the palate. A wine can exhibit light, medium or full bodies

4. Bouquet
A term that refers to the complex aromas that permeate from aged wines

5. Brut
This is a french term denoting dry champagnes or sparkling wines

6. Bung
The plug used to seal a wine barrels bung hole

7. Bung hole
The opening in a cask which is used to fill the barrel with wine or the drain wine out

8. Complex
A wine exhibiting numerous odors, nuances and flavors

9. Demi-sec
This is a French term meaning "half-dry" used to describe a sweet sparkling wine

10. Earthy
An odor or flavor reminiscent of damp soil

11. Finish
The impression of textures and flavors that linger in your mouth after swallowing

12. Hot
A description for wine that has high levels of alcohol

13. Mouth-feel
How a wine feels on the palate. It can be smooth, rough, velvety or even furry

14. Vintage
The year a wine is bottled

15. Sec
French word meaning "dry"

16. Plonk
British slang for inexpensive wine. Also used to describe very low-quality wines



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