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Noisy Water Winery

Chelsie Pickard
 
July 29, 2019 | Wine Facts | Chelsie Pickard

Wine Terms 101, Learning the Tasting Room Lingo

At Noisy Water Winery, we make wine, grow our grapes, and take our craft seriously. In fact, our mission statement says exactly that!

It also states that we believe people should drink wine for fun! Not for prestige or approval from others. 

That being said, there are some commonly used wine terms that can make discussing wine seem a bit intimidating to some. Letting fancy language scare you away from wine could lead to a huge disaster -- like missing out on some of the best wines you’ve ever had in your life.
 


That’s why we put together this list to help you decode 10 basic wine terms (and ease your wine anxiety at your next tasting). 


Acidity

Acidity generally refers to the tart, sour, crisp, or fresh tasting characteristics of wine. Have you ever drank a refreshing glass of lemonade that made your mouth pucker or salivate? The same concept applies to wine. A wine with a high acid level will have a lower pH than a wine with a low acid level. 
As wine ages, acidity can also help with preservation since low pH wines ward off the growth of bacteria. This term is usually used to describe white wines (Tighty Whitey), although some red wines can also contain higher acidity (like our 2017 Sangiovese).
 
Aroma

Aroma refers to the smell of the wine in your glass, also called a wine’s “nose.” To examine the aroma of your wine, swirl your glass for several seconds to lift the wine’s scent upward. Then, stick your nose in the glass and give it a good whiff! The aroma of wine can be tropical, fruity, spicy, earthy, buttery, floral, herbal, and more.
 
Body

When talking about a wine’s body, one is referring to how heavy or light a wine feels inside the mouth. Wine can have a light, medium, or full body. A good comparison is to think of the weight of skim milk (light-bodied), whole milk (medium-bodied), and cream (full-bodied) inside of your mouth. Wines with higher alcohol content generally have a fuller body. 
 
 
Complexity

Wines with complexity have many different layers of characteristics to be discovered with each sip. Have you ever tasted wine and discovered several flavors in the glass? Was it fruity, yet spicy, while also earthy? This means that the wine has high complexity.  
 
Fermentation

Fermentation is a process that occurs in winemaking where yeast converts the sugars present in grape juice into alcohol. Fermentation can take place in stainless steel tanks, wine barrels, or inside of the wine bottle itself once bottling is complete.
 
 
Fortified

When a wine is fortified, a distilled fruit spirit is added into the wine that gives it a higher alcohol content and a distinct taste. Wine was originally fortified to help with preservation since alcohol wards off bacteria. In fact, Sherry, a type of fortified wine, may have been created as early as 1260 AD. Fortified wines are still enjoyed centuries later due to their unique taste. 
2016 Alliance is made with sweet white grapes that have been fermented with brandy
 
Legs

Legs or “tears” are the droplets or streaks that form on the inside of your wine glass as you swirl it around. Legs relate to the alcohol in wine, which has a smaller surface tension than the rest of the liquid inside your glass, causing it to run down the sides. Wine with a higher alcohol content will have slower, thicker tears or legs. Try our Big Legs Red to see this phenomenon in action!
See the Legs in Action
 
Port or Port-like

Port wines are sweet wines (usually red) from Portugal that have been fortified with brandy. Port-like wines refer to wines fortified with the same method that aren’t from the Portugal region. Port and port-like wines usually have hints of dark fruits, caramel, cinnamon, or chocolate. 
 
Sweet Temptation is a  "Port-Like" fortified wine where we have taken Ruby Cabernet grapes and infused with brandy for a dark and fruity traditional port-like wine. 
 
Tannin

Tannins are bitter compounds commonly found in nature. Tannin, also known as tannic acid, is present in tea, oak, plants, coffee, dark chocolate, cranberries, leaves, fruit skins, and more. Tannins are also found in wine thanks to grape skins, seeds, stems, and aging barrels, making the wine taste “dry” or astringent. 
 
 
Varietal

When talking about a wine varietal, one is usually referring to wine produced from a specific grape variety. For example, a Pinot Noir varietal wine is made primarily with Pinot Noir grapes, a world-famous grape that originated from France. 
 
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