Wine lexicon

acidity, clear, astringent

Below is a non-exhaustive lexicon of popular wine terminology to assist in better understanding and discussing wines.


A wine's acidity should be detectable as a sharpness in the mouth, particularly around the front sides of the tongue. It should be neither too obvious nor absent. It provides a refreshing sensation in white wines.


Excess acidity or tannin irritates the mucous membranes.


Presence of a high level of acidity vinegar type


There are many different compounds that may be described as 'alcohol'. Here we are referring to ethyl alcohol.


Significant olfactory intensity in a wine whose parent grapes have naturally very pronounced aromas.


The effect of bitter tannins that produce a drying feeling in the mouth. Acceptable in rich reds that require cellaring.


One of the four principal flavors detected by the palate (alongside sweet, sour, and salty). If perceived, it is generally due to excessive tannins.


Wine with a clear, crystalline color. Unclouded by sediment.

Excess Alcohol

Wines that are unbalanced due to a slight excess of alcohol.


Technically speaking, this term should be reserved for the odors perceived while the wine is on the palate. Widely used to describe odors in general, and also used to describe the smell of the grapes as opposed to the “bouquet” which describes the odor of the maturing wine.


The measurement of the amount of time a smell and/or taste lingers on the palate after tasting. This is generally measured in seconds and is a main qualifier for great wines.


A wine dominated by excessive tannin.


Wine with a wide range of aromas in retro-olfaction that occupy the palate fully and extensively.


Wines that are not concentrated enough, due to heavy rains before or during the harvest of the grapes of that year.


Presence of a high level of vinegary acidity.

Weight flabby

Measure of the richness of a wine and, more specifically, its consistency. The more consistent, the more it resembles a viscous substance. To be weighty implies a lack of acidity. Often used to describe a wine with a high alcohol content.


Describes a wine of little consistency, lacking suppleness and body.