Red Wine World

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Wine descriptor

Red wine tasting terms and descriptors

There are even more words for taking about red wines, largely because red wines can cover such a variety of colours, textures, aromas and tastes. A few examples are listed below:

Austere – tannic; lacking fruit. The wine is too young, or too severe in style
Baked – from a hot climate. Not necessarily bad, but can mean “not fresh”
Coarse – rough and ready – should be cheap
Dense – positive. Solid colour and packed with flavour
Earthy – tastes of earth but can also mean simple and rustic
Finesse – used for wines of high quality, showing a silky and refined nature
Firm – a positive term for a wine with a good balance of tannins and acid
Flabby – not a compliment. The wine is over-oaked, or lacking acidity
Green – raw & un-ripe, often a characteristic of cabernets from poor years
Grip – used as a positive term for young wines with good tannins
Heavy – full bodied and alcoholic, usually means too alcoholic: out of balance
Jammy – not a compliment. Too obviously fruity without great finesse
Meaty – rich & full-bodied, maybe literally with an aroma of meat
Silky – smooth, velvety mouth feel. Usually the sign of a quality wine
Stalky – bitter tannins evident. A fault in some pinot noirs and cabernets
Structure – very positive. Is balanced, well made and will last.
Thin – lacking some flavour and usually some weight in the mouth.

Some descriptive words often used to conjure up the flavours and scents of red wine:

Blackcurrant – along with cedar, the classic Bordeaux/cabernet taste
Cabbage – mature Burgundy. This cabbage smell is a positive aspect!
Coffee – comes from well integrated oak, associated with top quality wines
Green Pepper – a distinctive note of the two cabernet grapes
Leather – classic shiraz, tough, big, spicy
Liquorice – many full bodied, tannic young wines
Olives – usually slightly under-ripe cabernet sauvignon or cabernet franc
Pepper – Rhone wines are often very peppery on the tongue
Spice – many “big” reds, including Rhone, zinfandel and Rioja
Strawberry – Beaujolais & lighter Burgundy
Tar – a heady, rich wine, probably from a hot climate
Tobacco – a lovely rich, warm taste from good Bordeaux
Vanilla – oak ageing



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This entry was posted on May 1, 2013 by .
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