We believe wine should be approachable, not intimidating.

So we made you some cheat sheets.

 

Wine explained in plain English.

BODY

Basically the texture and weight of the wine.

Thin

Not much substance.

Cliff-edge

Don't let people use this term.

Mellow

The flavour isn't strong

Short

The flavour doesn't last very long

Austere

This is a word that should only be used to describe people. 

Delicate

As you'd expect: soft and light.

Opulent

Quite bold, quite rich, very smooth. James Bond.

Extracted

Opulent x10.

Flabby

So smooth that it is bland.

Closed

Bitter, lacks flavour

Polished

Tastes smooth, clean and well made.

Powerful

Punches you in the face.

Complex

Different flavours which you'll pick up in the aftertaste.

Full-bodied

Bold.

ACIDITY

All about the taste. Describes the fresh, tart or sour sensations that come from the acids in the wine. Highly acidic = sour.

Acidic

The very thing that gives wine its sour taste.

Bright

Very pronounced. Clearly acidic.

Astringent

Extremely acidic. Hard to drink.

Thin

Acidic but lacking in substance. 

Lean

Can barely even taste the fruit. Or when you bun a fat bifta.

Racy

Very acidic. Not 'sexually titillating' as described by the Oxford Dictionary.

Tart

Sour.

Edgy

Found in Dalston.

Zippy

Light and acidic. But please try to avoid using this term.

Fresh

Moderately acidic. Used to describe young wines.

Crisp

Refreshing. Quite acidic.

Delicate

Not lip-smacky (tannic). Not too fruity. Quite acidic.

Fallen over

It no longer has any acidity due to age. Also what happens when you drink too many glasses of wine.

Flat

Zero acidity.

TANNIN

This is an important one. 'Tannins' come from the skin of the grape, and can make a wine more complicated, and bitter. Think of a messy divorce. Also.. more tannins = a dryer taste in your mouth.

Bitter

We all know what bitter means.

Harsh

Very lip-smacky. Dries your mouth out. Strangely, it is the sign of a good wine. 

Aggressive

Even stronger than harsh. The bitterness drowns out any fruit flavours.

Powerful

Similar to harsh. Big and bold. Use this for a good Rioja (Spain).

Rigid

Aftertaste sits in the front of your mouth.

Muscular

Believe it or not, this is actually a thing. Walk out of the restaurant / dinner party if somebody tries to call a wine muscular. Not cool.

Tart

The tannins are a bit too strong. Consequently, you can't taste much else, unless you eat some sweet food.

Structured

Good balance of acidity, tannins, sweetness, and all other flavours wine people talk about. A well structured wine will age well. Like School of Rock. Timeless.

Chewy

Makes you want to chew the wine from the side of your mouth.

Silky

Soft. Very little 'bite' to it.

Smooth

Easy drinking. Idiots would say 'quaffable'.

Velvety

Smooth. Too smooth.

Tight

Has good flavour, but is restricted by the bitterness.

Firm

Dries your mouth out.

Concentrated

Punchy fruit flavours.

Hollow

Tip your glass of wine over the person who uses this term. 

FRUIT

Basically the texture and weight of the wine.

Juicy

A song by the Notorious B.I.G. Also used to describe a young, simple, fruity wine

Flamboyant

Noticeable fruit flavours. Nice long aftertaste. 

Fleshy

Refers to the texture. A fleshy wine feels heavy and will fill your mouth with flavour.

Extracted

Super concentrated.

Red fruits

Red cherry, raspberry, strawberry, red plum, cranberry and red currant.

Black fruits

Blackberry, blueberry, huckleberry, black plum, black currant, black cherry, date, and fig.

Berry

Strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, cherry.

Citrus

Lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit.

YEAST

These are the tasting notes (flavours...) arising from the early wine production process. 

Sour

Sour like sour cream, not toxic waste sweets.

Cheesey

White wine only. Makes everything taste savoury. Used by the pompous.

Biscuit

Really does taste like biscuit. Well made Champagne always has this.

Creamy

The result of Malolactic fermentation

Malolactic Fermentation

The process of turning Malic acid (tart) into Lactic acid (creamy). The Malic acid is naturally found in the grape.

Buttery

Also the result of Malolactic Fermentation. A good white from Burgundy (Chablis) has this.

Fermentation

Yeast interacting with Grapes to make alcohol.

Chaptalization

Great word. When you add sugar during fermentation to increase the alcohol.

OAK

The tasting notes (flavours...) arising from the conditions and type of oak that wine has been stored in. Some of the most common buzzwords.

Smoky

Burnt. Toasted. How smoky it actually is depends on the type of Oak you've aged it in. French Oak tends to be the smokiest.

Charcoal

Slightly stronger than 'smoky'. A lot of reds from Bordeaux have this.

Toasted

Less in-your-face than smoke and charcoal. Toasty = good quality.

Dill

Herby. Applies to American Oak, and red wines only.

Specificaly... almonds, toasted walnuts, pinenuts, hazelnuts, macadamia, pecan. Requires a lengthy aging process to get here.

Nutty

Sweet, but less honey and blueberry, more almond, vanilla and chocolate. Often applies to Chardonnay 

Coconut

Sweet and aromatic. You need to age the wine in toasted oak for this.

Caramel

Fragrant and a little sweet.

Vanilla
Stone fruits

Apricot, nectarine, peach.

Tropical fruits

Banana, pineapple, lychee, coconut

Cassis

Dark Fruits (not Strongbow).