Acidity- A general term for the fresh, tart, or sour taste due to natural fruit acids in the wine. Wines owe their attractive qualities to a proper balance between acidity and the sweet and bitter sensations of other components.
Balance- A state in which the various characteristics of a well-made wine are in harmony. Wine tasters say that a wine is well-balanced if its alcoholic strength, acidity, residual sugar, and tannins complement each other, and no single one is obtrusive on the palate.
Body- Term for perceived weight of the wine in your mouth. A full-bodied wine will impress the tongue as having more viscosity and density than a light-bodied one.
Bouquet- The aroma of wine- not just one odor, but a combination of odors, like that of a bouquet of flowers.
Crisp- A wine that is appealingly high in acidity.
Dry- A wine that is low in grape sugar or sweetness.
Earthy- Generally means a wine with aromas and flavors reminiscent of earth, such as forest floor or mushrooms.
Finish- The impression of the wine left in your mouth after swallowing.
Flabby- A wine that lacks acidity.
Green- An overly acidic wine, typically made from unripe grapes.
Hard- A wine with too much tannin and too little fruit.
Hot- An overly alcoholic wine.
Legs- The streaks of wine that cling to the sides of a glass after the contents have been swirled. These droplets are occasionally called tears and give some indication of the alcohol content of a wine.
Malolactic Fermentation- A process in winemaking where tart-tasting malic acid, naturally present in grape must, is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid.
Midpalate- A tasting term for the feel and taste of a wine when held in the mouth.
Opulent- A richly flavored wine with a pleasing texture that is well-balanced.
Smooth- A wine with a pleasing texture and rich mouthfeel. Typically refers to a wine with soft tannins.
Tannins- A natural preservative in wine. Sometimes tastes bitter in young or unbalanced wines. Tannins can be described as leaving a dry and puckered sensation in the mouth.
Terroir- A French term that can be very loosely translated as “a sense of place.” It is the sum of the effects that the local environment has had on the creation of the wine. Major components of terroir are soil, topography, and microclimate.
Vintage- The year that the grapes were grown and harvested.