Essential Wine Glossary | Wine Terms for Beginners

Essential Wine Glossary | Wine Terms for Beginners

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wine glossary for beginners

If you are an aspiring wine enthusiast and are looking for a cheat sheet when it comes to wine terminology, you will want to prep yourself with our essential wine glossary! Get to know the vocabulary behind wine one word at a time.

Here are a few of the more commonly used wine terms and their definitions, in alphabetical order.

Acidity: This defines the crispness of a wine, and corresponds to wines which make you salivate. It usually pertains to a white wine, but is not exclusive to whites.

Aged: An aged wine is one that has been held stored in either wooden barrels, steel tanks or bottles in order to allow the wine to reach a more desirable state.

Alcohol: One of the more important elements of a wine is ethanol (ethyl alcohol), which is a result of the fermentation of sugars by yeast.

Aroma: There are many categories used to define the characteristics of wine, one of which is the aroma of a wine. It is the smell of a wine.

Balance: This is a term used to describe the harmonious (or inharmonious) meshing of the following – acid, sugar, tannin and alcohol of a wine.

Barrel: Very often aged wines are stored in oak containers used for fermenting and aging wine. These are known as barrels and add to the characteristics of a wine.

Body: The body of a wine refers to the sensation of wine in the mouth and is measured in terms of light, medium and full-bodied.

Bouquet: This refers to the complex aromas in an aged wine. Different from aroma which is often associated to a younger wine.

Breathing: An aged wine generally needs to be exposed to oxygen for some time before drinking, in order to properly reach its peak in flavor.

Corked: A corked wine is a wine which has been spoiled, identified by a musty smell tainted by the cork. This is an undrinkable wine.

Fruity: A typical characteristic of a wine which exhibits strong smells and flavors of fresh fruit.

Full-bodied: A typical description of a wine high in alcohol and flavor.

Mature: A wine which has reached its appropriate drinking time.

Sommelier: A French term for a professional who is in charge of the inventory of a restaurant’s wine and food pairings.

Vintage: This refers to the year a wine is bottled.

Young: This describes wine which is bottled and sold within a year of its vintage.

There are countless wine terms within the world of wine, but this is a brief wine glossary to get you started!