Demystifying Commonly-Used Wine Characteristic Terms
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Demystifying Some Of The Commonly-Used Wine Characteristic Terms

commonly-used wine characteristic terms

29 Jul Demystifying Some Of The Commonly-Used Wine Characteristic Terms

Everything about wines is special. From the grapes that are used in making them and the manner in which they are grown, to how they are aged and stored. In fact, even the method of tasting, pouring, serving and pairing them is pretty interesting too. The variety of wines is mind-boggling and there is something for every taste and occasion. Wines experts review reds, whites and sparklings and bubblys, and use various terms when they are describing them.

Some of the terms you hear are pretty self-explanatory; however others can easily find you scouring the Internet for the definition. While there are literally hundreds of terms that can be used to describe wines, here is a small list of some of the most commonly-used wine characteristic terms:

Commonly-Used Wine Characteristic Terms


The acidity of wines could occur from the natural acids that grapes contain, as well as the fermentation process. Higher acidity levels make the wine flavour too aggressive & tart; on the other hand, low acidity makes the wine flavour very bland, dull & flabby.


This term is typically used while describing young wines that have a tart, bitter or sharp flavour.


This particular description is synonymous with wines that are full-bodied and ones that are well-balanced.


Wines that display very strong alcoholic flavours, but ones that lack aroma and bouquet are referred to as blunt.


This term is used to describe the wine’s scents and aromas. Earthy, vegetal and floral are some of the commonly used bouquet descriptions.


This refers to how a wine looks in the glass. The wine should be bright & clear and shouldn’t have any indications of haze.


These wines display various perfectly-balanced aromas and flavour characteristics.


A wine that displays a very concentrated flavour, aromas and characteristics is referred to as dense.


This term is used to describe the flavour as well as the bouquet of the wine. It essentially refers to the soil-rich flavours and aromas that come from the terroir in which the specific grapes are grown.


A wine that’s past its prime and is losing its flavour and colour are said to be fading.


A wine that lacks structure & acidity, makes it taste flat and heavy and is referred to as a flabby wine.


This term is generally used for white wines that have unbalanced flavours and have high acidity levels.


Wines that have high tannin levels and are unbalanced are said to be heavy.


This describes the warm feeling or alcohol burn you get in your throat and mouth when you are drinking high alcohol content wines.


Red wines with flavour characteristics that are similar to berry jam are referred to as jammy wines.


Lean wines lack fruit flavour characteristics.


A rich and velvety wine is called a lush wine.


The term describes complex, full-bodied, big and complex red wines.

Moelleux (pronounced mwah-luh)

This is a French term used while describing white wines that have mellow, silky and soft flavour characteristics.


Wines that have been aged in oak barrels develop flavour notes that are described as oaky. These typically incorporate a toasty, sweet spice and vanilla flavour.


The term describes wines with nuanced spiced flavours like a Shiraz often presents.


This is similar to big & full-bodied wines; however, these wines have stronger flavours and aromas. Robust is a positive descriptive term.


Used to describe a wine that displays aromas & flavours of smoked/charred wood.


It’s used to describe wine that has lively flavour characteristics with well-balanced fruit & acid.

For any information about wine cellars and cellaring wine, call Signature Cellars at 02 9340 7515. Alternatively, simply use this contact form to connect with us and we will get back to you within the shortest possible time.

Thanks for reading,
Neil Smallman
Signature Cellars
1300 570 636

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