Steven Zoernack: A Beginner’s Guide to Demystifying Wine Terms

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Wine is the perfect beverage for any occasion…at least we think so, however this sumptuous drink we all love can be quite daunting at times. Don’t fret, we have you covered.

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(Spin Digit Editorial):- Sarasota, Sep 11, 2020 ( – Steven Zoernack: A Beginner’s Guide to Demystifying Wine Terms

Wine should be delicious and enjoyable. But to get even more deliciousness and enjoyment out of wine, it’s handy to know a thing or two about tasting it; and it shouldn’t be complicated.

Let’s get this out of the way first and foremost: tasting wine shouldn’t be a snobby activity. It should be fun. So let’s have some fun!

To appreciate wine as something more than mere drink, all you’ll need is conscious, deliberate awareness. Let’s face it, it makes little sense to pay the premium for wines of character only to swallow them unconsciously. Each wine has a personality waiting to be discovered, you just need to decide whether you like it.

Consider subscribing to a wine magazine (or two or three), says Steven Zoernack, wine expert and former vineyard investment fund manager, founder and CEO at Pelican Hill Vineyards. Filled with pages of wine reviews, a good wine magazine offers a leisurely opportunity to learn the language of wine. Merchants’ newsletters and offering catalogs are also good sources for building a wine vocabulary and learning about particular styles of wine and growing regions. What’s more, these sales materials are usually mailed out free of charge, so arrange to receive several, including those from merchants beyond your hometown. By developing a rich wine vocabulary early on, you’ll find it easier to express your impressions and preferences.

Here are a few of the more common terms to get you started:

ACID: usually a characteristic of white wines, acidity is in the vein of sour or tart like a lemon and will make your mouth water after swallowing it. If it is nicely acidic most people will say the wine is “crisp”, if overly acidic it may be considered “sharp.”

AROMA: can also be called the bouquet or the nose of the wine. The scent adds a lot to the flavor and you can sometimes smell things you can’t taste and vice-versa.

BALANCE: a balanced wine has just the right amounts of alcohol (burn, warmth), residual sugar (sweetness), acid (tartness),  and tannin (fuzzy mouth).

BODY: the “weight” of the wine’s flavor. The body is usually described as light, medium, or full. How does it feel in your mouth?

BOLD: the same way you’d discuss food or people, a bold wine is assertive, with lots of dynamic flavor characteristics.

CAPSULE: the metal wrapping that covers the cork and neck at the top of of the wine bottle.

COMPLEX: like “bold”, complex wines have many layers of flavor and can taste like many things at once. Complexity usually comes with age, and you can sometimes develop complexity in a wine that doesn’t have any if you keep aging it on the shelf.

DRY: mostly used in red wines, a dry wine is wine that is not sweet and usually high in tannins.

FINISH: the taste that is left in your mouth after you swallow or spit the wine out. Often you can keep tasting flavors from the wine long after the wine has left your mouth.FIRM â” a medium wine or balanced tannic content or acidity.

LATE HARVEST: wine made from grapes that were picked later in the year, giving the grapes more time to ripen and develop a higher sugar content.

LEGS: also called “lines” or “tears”. You can see these trickling down when you swirl the wine in the glass. These come from the alcohol affecting the surface tension of the wine. Longer “legs”, or “legs” that take a long time to disappear usually indicates a higher percentage of alcohol in the wine, and does not have anything to do with the taste.

MAGNUM: a bottle of wine twice the normal size, usually 1 1/2 liters.

NOTES: you may choose to take notes during your tasting experiences (in fact, it’s recommended), but in this case, notes refers to the subtle flavors sensed in the wine. Red wines contain fruity notes like berries, plum or figs (even though they’re not made from these fruits). Reds may also have spicy flavors like cinnamon and pepper, or earthy flavors like cedar, oak, smokiness or soil (yes, soil, and that’s not always a bad thing). White wines can taste like lighter colored fruits (pears, apples or citrus fruits) or contain floral, butter, or honey notes.

SOFT: a smooth wine, typically a characteristic of red wines with lower “acidity”.

SPLIT: A six ounce bottle of wine.

SWEETNESS: Found commonly in dessert wines, though many wines have varying degrees of sweetness.

According to Steven Zoernack, “if you are relatively new to the world of wine, it’s best to explore the principal varietal wines first. Because these wines have a stronger flavor “personality” than those of lesser, more obscure varietals, they’re more likely to make a lasting impression on your palate.”

As you taste, keep in mind that wine grapes are products of the soil and climate of the vineyard in which they are grown; the same grapes can produce two wines that taste completely different; it all depends on where each vineyard is located. Viticulture practices (the way the vines are tended and how much fruit they are allowed to produce), the vines’ age, the winemaker’s skill and philosophy, and winery equipment also enter into the equation.

Some final thoughts from vino expert Steven Zoernack:  “Developing the skill of wine tasting takes practice. The more wines you taste, the better you will become with this entire sensory process. Enjoy the Journey!”

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This article was originally published by IssueWire. Read the original article here.