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Basic Wine Terms and Definitions

Basic Wine Definitions

Acidity -
Describes a sour or tart taste in the mouth when the total acidity of the wine is high. Acidity contributes to the keeping ability of fine wine.
Aftertaste -
The "shadow taste" remaining in your mouth just after swallowing a sip of wine.
Appearance -
A term used in sensory evaluation of wine to describe whether a wine is crystal clear (brilliant), cloudy, or contains sediment. It has nothing to do with the color of a wine.
Aroma -
The portion of the smell of a wine derived specifically from the grape variety, such as Cabernet-Sauvignon or Chardonnay, as opposed to that portion of the smell derived from other sources.
Balance -
A subjective term used in wine evaluation. A wine in which the tastes of acid, sugar, tannin, alcohol and flavor are in harmony is said to be "in balance."
Beaujolais -
Well known wine region in east-central France. The town of Beaujeu is the regional hub, but most of the wine producing region is east of town.
Body -
A tasting term referring to viscosity, thickness, consistency, or texture. A wine with body often has higher alcohol or sugar content than others.
Bouquet -
It is the odor which derives from the fermentation process, from the aging in wood and bottle process, and other changes independent of the grape variety used.
Cabernet Sauvignon -
The king of red wine grapes, the classic variety of the Bordeaux region of France and of many other regions around the world.
Chianti -
Medium to full bodied red table wine of Tuscany in Italy. Chiantis are blends, but the primary grape variety used is Sangiovese.
Finish -
The last impression left in the mouth by the taste of a wine.
Legs -
The viscous droplets of wine that form and ease down the sides of the glass when swirled.
Mouthfeel -
How a wine feels in the mouth and against the tongue.
Magnum -
Oversize bottle, with twice the capacity of a standard 750 ml. wine bottle. The word "magnum" is used for a 1.5 liter bottle of great wine.
Oaky -
Tasting term to describe the smell or taste of excessive oak flavor in a wine.
Port -
Any of the fortified, rich, sweet, alcoholic and full bodied wines shipped from the Oporto region in the north of Portugal.