Lifestyle & Events

10 Fundamental Wine Terminologies


By Dr. Tan Kwan Hong

These are some of the definitions that any wine investor or taster will have to be familiar with, and which I will do my best to explain in as detailed a manner as possible. Of course, nothing beats going for a wine-tasting course to get familiar with what these definitions truly means.

Terminology #1: Complexity
Complexity is created by several factors: well-merged flavors, the intensity, richness and depth of the combination of flavors, aroma characteristics, the focus, harmony and overall balance, and the finesse (the elegance and fineness of the wine, or sometimes, can also be referred to as the distinction of the beverage).

Terminology #2: Character
Character refers to the distinctive traits of the wine, it’s positive and distinctive tastes, or other key attributes that distinguished the wine from other beverage.

Terminology #3: Personality
Personality refers to the character or style of the wine.

Terminology #4: Structure
Structure can consist of the fruitiness, acidity, alcohol and tannin of the wine, and any other components that creates the body of the beverage.

Terminology #5: Body of the wine
Body of the wine, in layman’s term, refers to how the mouth feels when you are drinking the wine. It refers to the viscosity, richness or feeling of the wine in the mouth. It can also referred to as the texture and weight of the wine.

Wines can be broadly described as full-bodied, medium- bodies or light-bodied wines. Full-bodied wines are wines that created the fullness” of taste in the mouth. Similarly, light-bodied wines refer to wines that taste relatively lighter.

Terminology #6: Tannins
Tannins refer to the natural compounds/preservatives found in grape seeds, skins and stems, and are responsible for the bitter and astringent tastes in the beverage. It is more commonly found in younger red wines, and will soften as time passes, bringing out the best bouquet and balance of the beverage.

Terminology #7: Bouquet
Bouquet refers to the smell or fragrance that a mature wine will give off. It is the result of further fermentation over the years, and is usually described as more complex and richer than the aroma produced by younger wines. This complexity and richness are the assets characteristics that will cause an appreciation of value in these mature wines.

Terminology #8: Aroma
Aroma refers to the smell or fragrance of younger wines, while bouquet refers to the smell or fragrance of older ones. The terms or aroma and bouquet are not to be used interchangeably.

Terminology #9: Balance
Balance in wine terminology, refers to the harmony of the various elements, and tastes of the beverage. When a wine is described as well balanced, it means that the elements of the beverage are in perfect harmony, are rightly proportioned, and that none of these elements are over-powering, overwhelming or dominating the other elements. This is a vital characteristic in wine valuation, and will justify the price tag of the beverage.

Terminology #10: Elements of the wine
Elements of the wine simply refer to the components that make up the characteristics of the wine, such as its acidity, fruitiness, tannins and alcohol.

As you can see, understanding wine constitutes a far more complex process than understanding coke. These definitions are a must-know and will act as a starting point for the tasting, appreciation, and valuation of this godly beverage.

But with a little more patience and wine-tasting experiences, you will get familiar with the terms listed above in no time. Have a great wine time!

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