The wine maker wine tasting notes consist of words and phrases used by wine maker to describe the wine on its back wine label. Remember your palate may differ from the wine maker. The wine term descriptions below are designed to be simple wine information to help wine beginners understand the wine maker notes on wine.
Sometimes a wine maker – wine tasting notes will describe a wine using similar flavors of fruits. These are natural flavors and are not added. Wine experts also use their palette’s to determine wine ratings to help the novice to determine the quality.
Key to Using the Wine Maker Wine Tasting Notes
Study the words and phrases. Best if you read the back label and take note of the wine maker- wine tasting notes as you taste the wine. Your goal is to learn to associate the wine maker and the wine tasting notes with what your palate is tasting. Tie the words together for future use when you buy wines.
Wine Maker Terms – White Wine
Acidity - Comes across as tart or sour if acid is to high in the wine. Sharpness in the mouth, felt around the front sides of the tongue. It should be neither overpowering nor absent. Too much acidity can make a wine difficult to drink. Look at the foods that are recommended in the wine tasting notes. Suggesting a seafood with butter should tell you it has some acidity to cut the oil of the butter.
Aged- White wines start out a greenish hue when young and turn to a yellowish tone to a gold then amber colour as they age. Acidity blends away as the wine components merry together with age. Wine maker may also blend other grapes in to soften wine sooner. Look for blend % in the wine tasting notes.
Astringent- Wines that have a rough, puckery taste. Usually can be attributed to high acidity content.
Balance – Wines that have balance have a nice combination of texture, acidity and flavor. Acidity is pleasant and not overpowering. The wine maker will give you hints to the balance in the wine tasting notes.
Body – Felt by the taster’s palate and is a combination of alcohol, glycerin and sugar content. Often described as a full taste but I like to think of it as the thickness of the wine. Wine tasting notes will suggest heavier bodied wine with seafood and white cream sauce foods.
Bouquet - Grapes have individual aromas. When all components in the wine come together we smell the bouquet. Think of the smell from an individual flower and then a bouquet of different flowers. Also know as the nose of the wine. The wine tasting notes will normally describe the nose –do you agree?
Clean- The look, aroma and flavor of the wine are all fresh, pulsing with freshness. Desirable for the wine maker.
Cloudy – A cloudiness that is undesirable. Noticeable around the bottom of the wine in the bottle. Wine may be breaking down.
Crisp – Wine has strong but pleasing tartness and acidity. Fresh young and eager, begs to be drunk. Generally used to describe white wines in the wine tasting notes.
Deck Wine- wine that is blended to just drink not to analyze or discuss. Good beverage wine.
Delicate – Any wine demonstrating somewhat mild, but still attractive characteristics. Light in flavor. Wine tasting notes will suggest lighter cheeses or foods.
Dry – wine that does not have much sugar. Dry normally goes along with the acidity on the tongue , when it refers to the dry, prickly sensation the wine imparts on the sides of the tongue. If you see dry in the wine tasting notes it will clean your palate.
Easy – A wine that does not need much thought, pleasant, and just tastes good. A good everyday wine by wine maker.
Finish – how the wine tastes at the point of, and right after swallowing. The aftertaste is discussed in some wine tasting notes.
Flat – Wine is thin with very low acidity, limited flavor and lacking depth. Not desirable by wine maker.
Flowery -Suggests the aroma or taste, more common in aroma, of flowers in wine.
Fresh – Wine is young and eager, begs to be drunk early in the wine tasting notes. Wines aged less than two years by wine maker.
Fruit – Used for any quality that refers to the richness of a wine made from good, ripe grapes. Good fruit is desirable by wine maker.
Fruitiness – usually implies a little extra sweetness nbut is discussing the fruit of the grape.
Full-bodied - Weight of the wine fills your mouth and feels heavy on the tongue.
Grassy- Freshly cut grass smell. Slightly green uncooked vegetable tasting undertones often part of the overall character of Sauvignon Blanc. Wine tasting notes mention this a lot.
Grapefruit- Grapefruit flavours are characteristic of cool-climate Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blanc.
Green- Applies to the taste of wines made with under-ripe fruit. Sometimes refers to white wines that possess a greenish color tint indicating youth.
Legs – Refer to the flowing tracks that go down the side of a glass after it has been swirled. It may be related to alcohol content. Not discussed much in the wine tasting notes
Melon - Some wines will have a slight smell of sweet melon in the wine. In some you may pick up the melon flavor in the aftertaste. Watch wine tasting notes for this description
Nose – The nose of a wine describes how a wine smells. The aroma and bouquet. This is a big part of the wine productuion for the wine maker, who likes to mention it in the wine tasting notes.
Oak- The taste or aroma of freshly sawn oak. When a white wine is aged in oak just right, the flavor will have more of a buttery flavor. Oak flavor is introduced from contact with new oak storage barrels made from that wood. Can be aged or even fermented in the barrel.
Peppery - Mainly applied to spicy wines, such as Gewurztraminer among the whites. Zinfandel for a red.
Refreshing - A good clean nose with fresh aroma, not musty. A nice looking wine that has a very light green or light straw color.
Residual sugar – Amount of sugar left in the wine after fermentation. Determined by the wine maker.
Rough - Flavor or feel of the wine gave no pleasure. Acidity is very strong and hard on tongue.
Round – Flavors and bouquet give a feeling of completeness with no dominating characteristic. Wine has been aged to get the components to merry together by the wine maker.
Soft – Low in tannin content and low in alcohol. Very little impact on the palate.
Vibrant – Pure, bright, not mixed or dull. Sometimes wine seems to come alive and pulsing with energy. Watch the light bounce off the wine.
Wine maker Terms – Red Wine
Aged – Reds usually possess a purple tone when young, turning to a deeper brick red color as they age. Wines soften as the tannin merry into the wine.
Astringent- Wines that have a rough, puckery taste. Usually can be attributed to high tannin content. Wine maker can blend out.
Balanced - A harmonious balance of the wine elements. Fruit balances the oak and tannin. Wine not in balance may be flat tasting or harsh. A perfectly balanced wine has no dominating trait.
Body – Felt by the taster’s palate and is a combination of alcohol, glycerin and sugar content. Often described as a full taste in the wine tasting notes but I like to think of it as the thickness of the wine.
Bouquet- Grapes have individual aromas. When all components in the wine come together we smell the bouquet. Think of the smell from an individual flower and then a bouquet of different flowers. Also know as the nose of the wine. Wine makers like to describe the nose in the wine tasting notes.
Cloudy – A cloudiness that is undesirable except in well aged wines that have not been decanted properly.
Dry - A wine produced to possess little or no sweetness. Term goes along with the effect of tannin on the sides of your mouth. Wine maker leaves some in wines that are blended to go with food to cleanse the palate. Watch for the tannin in the wine tasting notes.
Elegant - A wine that has great balance and grace in the wine. Wine is near perfect.
Flat – Wine is thin with very low tannin, limited flavor and lacking depth.
Fresh- A young and eager wine that needs to be drunk early. Will mention it should be drunk early in the wine tasting notes.
Finish - How the wine tastes at the point of, and right after swallowing. The wine should have a lingering aftertaste and discussed in wine tasting notes.
Inky Color – When it comes to red wine there are many shades of red. A inky red is very deep and complex in nature. Usually indicates a bigger wine.
Legs – Used to describe the liquid rivulets that form on the inside of a wineglass bowl after the wine is swirled. The higher the alcohol content, the more impressive the rivulets appear. Some use legs to indicate the wine is balanced and has all the basic characteristics looked for in when making an opinion on the wine.
Oak - The taste or aroma of freshly sawn oak. When a red, is oak-ed just right, the nose will carry a bare whiff of vanilla aroma. Oak flavour is introduced from contact with new oak aging barrels made from that wood. Look for oaking aging in the wine tasting notes.
Peppery- A spicy flavor of Australian Shiraz wines. A light snappy flavor of cinnamon. Zinfandel also considered spicy and peppery by many wine makers.
Robust - A red wine with high alcohol and tannin levels. The wine considered a big wine with strength. Give extra air before drinking or use a aerator. Watch wine tasting notes for hints.
Rough – Flavor or feel of the wine gave no pleasure. Tannin is very predominant and coarse.
Round- Flavors and bouquet give a feeling of completeness with no dominating characteristic.
Supple Tannin – very few tannins are left in the wine. Blending, opening the wine before use and aging can soften tannin.
Tannin – Found in red grape skins, pips and stalks. Tannin are harsh and bitter and can make a wine difficult to drink. Tannin leaves a dry, puckered sensation on the sides of the mouth. Tannin can enter the wine from aging in oak barrels. The winemaker can blend in softer wines to cut the tannin which makes the wine easier to drink.
Tobacco - Describe a flavor resembling the taste of raw tobacco leaf in the finish of certain red wines. Description used in the wine tasting notes.
Vanilla -Detectable in the nose of a wine. Sometimes can be picked up in the taste of the wine from the oak barrel. Watch wine tasting notes.
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