bottles of rosé and red wine

how to sound like a wine pro, even when you’re not!

 2/24/2021 1:18:25 PM     By Kim Renta    What's New    Comments

We get it. Wine can be intimidating. Think of that scary wine list at your favorite restaurant, and the sommelier or waiter just waiting to judge you on your selection. Even scarier? A trip to your local wine shop, with aisle after aisle of bottles from wine regions around the world, and with price tags from $5 to “I’ll need to skip my car payment this month.” 

But wine shouldn’t be intimidating. It’s just crushed grapes. And regardless of what the wine experts tell you, when it comes down to it… it’s what you like to drink that matters. 

We believe that wine is meant to be enjoyed, no matter your level of wine expertise. So, if you like a $10 bottle of California Merlot, that makes you no less of a wine lover than someone who enjoys an $85 bottle of French Pinot Noir. It’s all about finding what you love and enjoying every last drop. 

But, by learning a few key wine terms, you can understand wine like an expert, building a stronger appreciation for the art of wine making (and drinking), helping you choose wines that better suit your taste, and of course being able to really impress the shit out of your friends. 

Acidity: Used to describe tartness of wine. Most often used in describing white wines. 

Aeration: Exposing wine to oxygen allows it to mix with the air and "breathe" which helps to open up the wine's aromas. 

Alcohol by volume (ABV): Every wine bottle is required by law to include the ABV. Interesting note: French and Italian wines usually have a lower ABV than their American counterparts. 

Appellation: The geographic region where a wine comes from. 

Aroma - consisting of the odors of the grape juice itself, of the fermentation process, and, if relevant, of the oak barrels in which the wine was made or aged.

Blend: Wines made from more than one grape variety. 

Bouquet: The fragrance that come from aging wines. 

Complexity: Complex wines are those which feature a combination of richness, depth, flavor intensity, focus, balance, harmony and finesse. 

Corked: Caused when the cork inside the bottle is tainted, resulting in a musty, moldy aroma and taste. 

Decant: The act of pouring wine into a separate container for the purpose of either a) separating older wine from sediment or b) aerating the wine to introduce oxygen; presence of oxygen will open up aromas and brings out flavors in the wine.

Dry: Having no obvious sugar taste. Sugar levels are usually tasted beginning at 0.5 percent.

Earthy: Most red wines are described as either earthy or fruity. Earthy wines exhibit a taste or smell related to earth, such as soil or a forest. 

Finish: Describes how long a wine's flavor lingers in your mouth after swallowing. Wine's can either have a short or long finish. 

Fruity: A commonly used descriptor for wines that have notes of (you guessed it) fruit like plums, berries, or other fruits. While white wines can be fruity, this term is more commonly used with reds. 

Jammy: When red wines exhibit a cooked fruit flavor.

Legs: The droplets of wine that ease down the sides of the glass when wine is swirled 

Must: Freshly pressed juice containing skins, seeds, and stems.

Minerality: Most often used to describe white wines, it refers to the flavor of stones, rather than the “soil” flavor of earthy wines. 

Oaky: Wines matured in oak barrels (or with oak chips), sometimes described as having notes of vanilla, cloves, butter, or caramel. 

Oxidized: What happens when wine is overexposed to oxygen, resulting in a loss of brightness in both color and flavor. 

Sediment: Gritty particles that settle in the bottom of a bottle of wine. It is a sign of a minimally processed wine. 

Tannins: Tannins can be bitter and complex and contribute to aging potential in wine. Red wines are generally more tannic than white wines due to their contact with skins and seeds during maceration

Terroir: Describes how a growing region affects the flavor of the wine

Varietal: A single variety of grape, for example: Merlot and Chardonnay are grape varieties. 

Vintage: Wine made from grapes that were all (or mostly) produced in a single year. A nonvintage wine is made from grapes harvested over two or more years. 

As you can probably already tell… the team at Good Fucking Wine really loves wine. It’s what we do every single day (tough job, but someone has to do it, right?). We hope that by knowing a little bit about wine and how it’s made, we’ll help you feel more comfortable exploring the world of wine and of course, a better appreciation of that next glass of Good Fucking Wine.


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