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Notes from the vineyard


Fruity, dry, full bodied, fruit forward… I could go on and on with terms to describe wine. There are so many wine terms but what do they mean? And do they really match the wine? Well that depends on the taster. Many time we will share a bottle of wine with friends and one of us thinks it’s dry, one suggests that it’s fruity, or someone says it’s chewy. Who’s right? We all are!

That’s the great thing about wine – as everyone’s taste buds – everyone tastes something different. So when you are at your next wine tasting here’s a quick guide to some of the most popular terms to describe wine:

Dry – opposite of sweet.  A taste sensation often attributed to tannins and causing puckering sensations in the mouth.

Earthy – an odor or flavor reminiscent of damp soil.

Foxy – a term that notes the musty odor and flavor of wines made from Vitis labrusca grapes  .

Fruity  – a tasting term signifying wines that exhibit strong smells and flavors of fresh fruit.  Can also describe aromas of cooked fruit, as in “jammy”.

Full-bodied – a wine high in alcohol and flavors, often described as “big”.

Hot – wine high in alcohol is often described as producing a “hot” burning sensation in the mouth.

Spicy – a tasting term used to note odors and flavors reminiscent of various aromatic spices that are found in certain wines.

Sweet – wines with perceptible sugar contens on the nose and in the mouth.  Sweet, as a tasting sensation, is perceived on the tip of the tongue.

Vegetal – tasting term describing characteristics of fresh or cooked vegetables detected on the nose and in the flavors of the wine.  Bell peppers, grass, and asparagus are common “vegetal” descriptors.

So next time you are out at a wine tasting think of ways you would describe the wine and then how would your friends describe it – you just might come up with some new terms.

Amanda is the Co-Owner of Candlelight Winery in Garrettsville. For more information on other wine topics, please visit www.candlelightwinery.com