Things You Need To Know About Wine | Signature Cellars
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Things You Need to Know About Wine

things you need to know about wine

18 Sep Things You Need to Know About Wine

If you’re on a quest to find the perfect wine but are unsure where to begin, check out these 18 different grape varieties, commonly referred to as international varieties. They include light sweet white wines like Moscato and Riesling to deep dark red wines like Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Once you’ve tried all 18, you’ll actually have a pretty good handle on the entire range of wine. You’ll also know more about your personal preferences and which wines will go in your personal cellar or collection.

9 Red Noble Grapes

  1. Pinot Noir
  2. Grenache
  3. Merlot
  4. Sangiovese
  5. Nebbiolo
  6. Tempranillo
  7. Cabernet Sauvignon
  8. Syrah
  9. Malbec

9 White Noble Grapes

  1. Pinot Grigio
  2. Riesling
  3. Sauvignon Blanc
  4. Chenin Blanc
  5. Moscato
  6. Gewurztraminer
  7. Sémillon
  8. Viognier
  9. Chardonnay

What Are the Most Popular Wine Regions?

Italy, France and Spain are the top three wine producing countries in the world however Australia is gaining an impressive reputation for its international contributions. Over 100 unique grape varieties ensures that more than 30 million glasses of Australian wine are consumed worldwide every day. A majority of great Australian wines are produced in Hunter Valley, Barossa Valley, Margaret River and Yarra Valley.

5 Basic Wine Characteristics

  1. Sweetness
  2. Acidity
  3. Tannin
  4. Fruit
  5. Body

Why Do Some Wines Taste More Tart Than Others?

Some wines taste tart and the typical term for this is called acidity. Different wines have different subtlety of flavours and some wines will warm burn the back of your throat, which is the alcohol level. Finally, some wines leave a lingering bitter, dry taste in your mouth which is called tannin. Learn the basic wine characteristics so you can better describe what you like.

How To Ask For Wine You Like

Now that you’ve tried some wine and have opinions, how do you communicate to others what you like? Well, it helps to know what regions or varieties that you prefer, but it is easier if you are familiar with the descriptive language of wine. Remember, pay attention to what you’re drinking and use those observations to make educated guesses to seek out new wine. The following terminology will give you a broader understanding of the qualities of good wine:


  • Thin – a wine that has acidity but little substance
  • Hollow – a wine with no mid-palate
  • Mellow – a wine without major intensity
  • Short – a wine with short lasting flavour
  • Delicate – a wine that is faintly bodied
  • Elegant – a wine tasting light-bodied with high acidity
  • Light-Bodied – a wine that is light on the palate
  • Finesse – a wine that has well integrated acid and tannin
  • Polished – a wine that tastes clean and well-made
  • Complex – a wine that keeps on delivering more interesting flavours
  • Full-Bodied – a big, bold flavoured wine
  • Concentrated – a wine with bold fruit flavours, moderate acidity and tannin


  • Smokey – a wine that smells like a camp fire
  • Earthy – a wine that has a distinct dirt-like aroma
  • Leathery – a wine that has the smell of leather
  • Musky – a wine that smells richly of musk ox
  • Fleshy – a wine that tastes fruity and meaty at the same time; wine that is faintly flavored
  • Elegant – a wine that has higher acidity
  • Polished – a wine that tastes clean and well-made
  • Refined – a wine that tastes very clean


  • Bitter – bitter tannin is very intense and ‘green’
  • Harsh – tannin that dries out your mouth
  • Aggressive – tannin that drowns out the other wine flavors
  • Grippy –  tannin that sticks to the sides of your mouth
  • Powerful – big smooth tannins
  • Coarse – tannins with a choppy grit, like course sandpaper
  • Silky – fine-grained ultra smooth tannins with very little bite
  • Smooth – well integrated tannin
  • Round – smooth tannin with no bite
  • Opulent – more fruit than tannin
  • Velvety – very smooth tannin
  • Voluptuous – more fruit than tannin
  • Supple – well integrated tannin


  • Bright – a wine with pronounced acidity
  • Astringent – a wine with aggressive acidity and tannin
  • Austere – a wine with aggressive acidity and tannin
  • Thin – a wine that has acidity but little substance
  • Lean – usually used to describe a white wine with low fruit and high acidity
  • Angular – when a wine’s acidity and tannin hit focused points on your palate
  • Tart – a wine that tastes sour due to acidity
  • Edgy – a richer wine with high acidity
  • Nerve – another word for bracing acidity in wine
  • Crisp – a wine with noticeable acidity
  • Delicate – a wine that may have heightened acidity, but lighter on tannin and fruit
  • Soft – a wine with lower acidity
  • Flabby – a wine with very low acidity
  • Fallen Over – a wine that no longer has acidity due to age
  • Flat – a wine with no acidity


  • Jammy – the fruit flavors in the wine taste like jam
  • Ripe – the wine is produced with very ripe grapes
  • Juicy – used to describe young wines big on fruit but low FINESSE
  • Flamboyant –  a wine that is very showy with fruit flavors
  • Fleshy – a wine that tastes fruity and meaty at the same time
  • Extracted – wine that is darker or richer than other wines made; with the same grape
  • Plumy – a red wine with fresh plum flavors
  • Red Fruit – usually red fruit flavors indicate a lighter bodied wine
  • Dark Fruit – ‘full bodied’ red wines have more ‘dark fruit’ flavors
  • Grapey – a wine that tastes more like grape juice

For information about custom wine cellar design and installation, you can call Signature Cellars on 02 9340 7515 or use this contact form to get in touch with us. We’ll be pleased to assist you and provide custom solutions that match your requirements.


Thanks for reading,
Neil Smallman
Signature Cellars
02 9340 7515

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