G A S T R O N O M Y
Drink Home page
In praise of wine
.
,
Related pages
Andre Simon on wine
.
Wine Descriptors - Overview
Wine with Food
Wine & Conversation
The Wine Connoisseur Game
In praise of Rosemary
Natural wine
.
Wine descriptors


Wine descriptors


An Overview page is here.

Contents                           

Read the Overview here or Introduction first to identify names  


Introduction
here

A good introductory read here

Lists of descriptors
here

Simon's Dictionary
here

            Colours
here

Lehrer's descriptors discussed here

            Wine aromas
here
  
           “culinary descriptors” here

            her book on another page here

Broadbent's Tasting Terms
here

Broadbent's Colours
here

The World of Food and Wine
here

Guide to Wine here

Wine Book categories
here

Wine boxes
here

Wiki Wine Descriptors here

The Science of Taste - Ruth Binney

     Taste descriptions   here

     Smell descriptions  here


















        

You may remember the James Thurber cartoon from 1937, in which the dinner host announces, "It's a naïve domestic Burgundy without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption."  source    

Useful websites here

Comparisons here

    light used by seven authors here
 
     balance used by seven authors here

     fat used by four authors here     

     earthy used by three authors here

     medium defined by Broadbent here

     aroma here
      

Three authors are 
here

Marketing descriptors here

Comment 

     Descriptor explanations  here

Contact here


-0-











 



 



Introduction

Six books and a monograph are being used on this page.  Its title derives from a term used in

Wine & Conversation, A Lehrer, OUP, 2009, 2nd edtn.

The other books on this page are:

Andre Simon's Dictionary of Wines, Spirits and Liqueurs, L McFarland (ed), Hutchinson, 1983.


The Compleat Imbiber 8: an entertainment, C Ray (ed), John Harvey & Sons, 1965

The chapter The Technique of Tasting, M Broadbent, is used.

The Wine Book, Bracken Books, 1988


The text used from another book is on a linked page here:

The Quick and Easy Way to Choosing Wine with Food,
K McWhirter & C Metcalfe,
St Michael (now M & S) 1989

The next book is another supermarket production:

The Essential Guide to Wine, Robert Joseph, Tesco, 1990, pp 46/47

It is abbreviated to Guide to Wine in headings.

The monograph:

The Science of Taste

Ruth Binney    International Wine & Food Society here - International Wine & Food Foundation  here  2003

The descriptors are not included in the main table due to space availability.



The two major Internet sources are the
World of Food and Wine, and Wiki's Wine tasting Descriptors - both in Column 7 of the later Wine Descriptors table.


The tables give descriptors from the books and Internet.  Adrienne Lehrer's descriptors are from pp 99/100.  Other sources are given in place.  

The terms selected are not always adjectives applied to drink which is why the choice of descriptors is apppropriate.

It is usual to show quotations in brown text.  The Broadbent inclusions and some others are not in that colour as will be explained.

The descriptors are numerous.  Light has been used by almost all the authors. Comparisons are made and reach this conclusion re just this one descriptor:

"Eight sources and only four definitions which are somewhat varied.  However, look at the reason any author has for including the descriptor." here  However, you would need to read the comparisons later which begin here .  However, jumping to conclusions like this so early in the analysis equates to reading the last page of a murder mystery first.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

... English doesn't come equipped with terms to describe all the tastes and qualities one looks for in wine. The winetaster tries to grab words as close as possible to the sensations he or she experiences. Thus, over the years words like angular, oaky or peppery have become standards terms in winetasting verbiage. Other terms, like brawny (wines with high alcohol and tannin content) or charming (a somewhat sarcastic term, light with an attitude and not necessarily a good thing in a wine) are attempts to capture the overall character of the wine or the mood it incites.   source here.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Navigation

This a long page and  "To Contents here" links are liberally spread.   When you click DLs  , you return to the descriptor lists.  There are no return to contents links but you can return usung the red DLs link as you see a few lines down.


Why is it a long page? 

Keeping everything under one main link is a consideration when the website system is asdescribed here.  Another webhost is being sought. You will see that the descriptors table is not ideal.  Alignment is difficult and enough to make anyone turn to drink.
     

 

 Descriptor lists   

Go directly to the table here .   To Contents here

These are links to letters in the lists.  Nothing for K and X. 

Look for this return link in the text etc -  
DLs  

  
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z  

 


These are the descriptors listed so that you can decide which ones you want to explore.  That applies to all except those in The Wine Book, and those by Lehrer for the moment.  You will find more on the others after the index.

Broadbent has two headings on separate pages for his descriptors.  They can b
e read in the following useful context:

Words used to describe bouquet or aroma [– in black]  
 
Words to describe taste, flavour and general effect in the mouth [– in blue]


 
   

The table


....................... 
         1

    A Simon



 




.................... 
         3

   A Lehrer



 


 
....................
         5 

 M Broadbent  




 

 




 
....................
          7
    Internet

 World of Food 
     and Wine
 
  
WFW in black

Wiki Wine
Descriptors -
in blue text


Marketing descriptors are in this colour.

 

       9   

  The Wine Book

 

10                     
                       
Guide to Wine
    
 


       11 
     Wine 
 with Food

Other sources &
 "To Contents"  and
"Descriptor links"

 full text here 

 


descriptors discussed
here

 

 full text here   
 colours
here

 

 full text here 

 full text here

 

categories
here

 full text here

full text here
 

Abboccato

 

Abocado

 

Acerbe

 

After-taste

 

Amabile

 

Aniseed (Anis)

 

Apré

 

Aroma

 

Aslutto

 




acetic

acidic

acrid

age

aged

aloof


alcoholic

aromatic

astringent

attenuated


austere

anise

apple

apricot

     

 

Acetic  

 

Acid

 

[acid]

 

[acidity]

 

[acrid smell]

 

Almond kernels  

 

Austere  

 

Acetic

Acidic

aftertaste

Ageworthy  
Aggresive  

Ample  

apple

Astringent 

 

Austere 

Accessible  
Acidic  
Aftertaste    
Aggressive  
Alcoholic  
Aroma  
Astringent  
Austere  
Autolytic


 

 

Acetic

Alcoholic

Almondy

Amber

Aromatic

Assertive,

Astringent

Austere,

Awkward

 
Acetic
Acidity
Aggressive
Alcoholic
Almond
Aniseed
Apple
Apricot
Aromatic
Artificial
Attack
Attenuated
Austere



acidic/over
Aggressive
 
acidic/over
Mouth-
puckering
 
acidity
Cloying
 
acidity
Crisp
Steely
 
acidity/
balancing
Flabby
 
acidity/fruit
Flat
 
alcoholic
Hot
Big
 
almonds
Hazelnut
 
apples/green
Malic Acid
 
approach/
difficult
Austere
 
aroma
Butter
Petrol
Pine
Raspberry
Rubber
Vanilla
Truffles
 
attic smell
Dusty

 

acidic 81

acidity, crisp 89

acidity, fresh 89

acidity, steely 89

 

acidity, tangy 89

                  90 91

acidity, tangy 91

acidity, tart 93

alcohol, lowish 89

alcoholic 83

alcoholic 92

appley 87

appley 87

aroma, muted 90

aroma, sweetish 90

aromatic style 89

 

astringent, slightly                       

               93




DLs  

 
   



Balance

 

Beerenanausese

 

Beery

 

Bite

 

Bland

 

Body

 

Bottle sickness

 

Breed

 

Brut

       

baked

balanced


berry

big

has bite

bitter

bland

bouquet

blurred

breed

brisk

buttery


 

Basil

 

black/ white truffles

blossom

blueberry

bourbon

briar

 

 

butterscotch

























caramel


chalky

has character

charming

clean

cloying

coarse

has come on

corked


common

complex

cooked

corky

creamy

crisp

 

cabbage

caramel

cayenne

cedar

cereal

chalky

cherry candy

 

cherry cola

 

chocolate

 

chocolate cake

cigar box

cinnamon

clove

coconut

coffee

cookie-like

cranberry

currant

 

 

Baked  

 

Balance  

 

[big]

 

Bite 

 

Bitter  

 

Blackcurrants  

Body  

 

[bouquet]

 

Breed  

 

 

Balanced  

Big  

Bitter  

Blockbuster 
blurred

Body  

Bold  

bouquet  

Bright

buttered toast

Buttery  


Baked  
Balanced  
Big  
Biscuity   
Bite  
Bitter  
Blowzy  
Body  
Bouquet  
Bright  
Buttery  

 

 

 

 

Big

Bitter

Bland

Bright

Brilliant

 
 
Backward
Bad eggs
Baked
Balance
Banana
Beefy
Beeswing
Beetroot
Big
Biscuity
Bite
Blackcurrant
Blowsy
Body
Bottle Sick
Bottle Stink
Bouquet
Breathing
Butter
 
 
 
 
 
backbone
Steely
 
badly made
Dirty
Dirty Socks
 
baked apple
Apple
 
baked bread
Yeast
 
balancing
acidity
Flabby
 
berry/ripe
Mulberry
 
big
Beefy
Generous
 
bite/lacking
Blowsy
 
bitter
Almond
 
blackcurrant
Cassis
 
blended well  
Complex
 
bodied/full
Robust
 
bottle-age
Bouquet
 
bouquet
Biscuity
 
bread baked
Yeast
 
burnt rubber
Mercaptans
 
buttery smell
Caramel
 


balance, drinkable                         

                 94

big 90 92

bigger 91

bitter 80

bitterly tannic 93

blackcurrants 85 91

blackcurranty 91

bland 88

body 91 93

body, fuller 90

boiled sweets 91

 

bone dry 90

 

bubble-gum, fruity                           

                      91

buttery 86 87


breeding here


 
   

DLs  

 














Caramel

 

Casse

 

Chambré

 

Clarity

 

Cloying

 

Coarse

 

Colour

 

Cooked

 

Cooking wine

 

Corsé

 

Coupé

 

Crème

 

Crisp

 

Cru

 

Cru artisan

 

Cru bourgeois

 

Cru bourgeois superieur

 

Cru classé

 

Cru exceptionnel

 

Cru Paysan

 

Crust

 

Cut

 

 

 

Cedar

 

[charming]

 

[chewable]

 

Clean  

 

Coarse  

 

Cloying  

 

Cooked  

 

 

capsicum

cedary   

Character

charred

cheerful

chewy

Clean  

Complex  

Concentrated  
Cooked

Corked  

Crisp


Cassis  
Cedarwood  .
Charming  
Cheesy  
Chewy  
Chocolaty  
Cigar-box  
Citrous  
Classic  
Clean  .
Clear  
Closed  
Cloves  
Cloying  
Coarse  
Coconut  
Compact  
Complete  
Complex  
Concentrated
Concoction  
Connected  
Cooked   
Corked  
Creamy    
Crisp  

 

 

 

 

Caramel

Clean

 

Clear

 

Closed-In

Cloudy

Corky

 

Crisp

 

 
 
Caramel
Cassis
Cat's Pee
Cedar
Chaptalised
Cherry
Chocolate
Cigar-box
Closed
Cloudy
Cloying
Clumsy
Coarse
Coffee
Commercial
Complex
Cooked
Corked
Crisp
 
 
cabbagey
Vegetal
 
chaptalised  
Hot
 
cheesy
sourness
Dirty Socks
 
cigar box
Tobacco
 
classy
Finesse
Elegant
 
cloying
Acidity
 
coarse
Rough
 
compounds
Esters
 
confected
Artificial
 
contrived 
Artificial
 
crisp
Steely
Flinty
 
 
 
 
 

Depth
Dirty
Dirty Socks
Dry
Dried out
Dumb
D
usty
depth
Hollow
 
difficult/
approach
Austere
 
drawn out
Attenuated
 
drinkable
Commercial
 
---------------
 


 

cachou sweets 87

character, minty 91

characterful 86

cloying 80

coconutty 85

colour 91

composty 92

crisp 79

 

crisp acidity 89

 

currant, flowering

                   89

 

end of C descriptors

domestic here


 The D terms
for Wine with
Food

are in
this C group
due to a
computer fault.

See the red box. 

 




 
   

DLs  

delicious 92 94

delicious tang 84

driest 83

 

drinkable balance

                  94

dry 83 87 89

dry,bone 90

dull 80 94





Dégustation

 

Demi-sec

 

Dolce

 

Doux

 

Dry

 

Dulce

 

Dumb

 

dead

decrepit

deep

delicate

discreet

distinguished


developed

disciplined

dry

dull

dumb

durable

dusty


    dill

 

 

Deep  

 

Delicate  

 

Depth  

 

Dry  

 

[dubious condition]

 

[dull]

 

Dumb  

 

 

damp earth

dead weight

Deep  

dense

delicate

Dry

dry-throat

Dull

dusty


Definition  
Delicate  
Depth  
Dirty  
Dried up  
Dry  

 

 

 

 

Deep Rose

Delicate,

Dull

 

Dull

 

Dusty

 

 


The D terms
for Guide to
Wine [Col 10] and
 Wine with
Food
[Col 11],
are in
the C group
due to a
computer fault.

See the red box. .


 


Earthy

 

Echt

 

Espumante

 

Espumoso

 

Extra sec

 


earthy

elegant

empty

ethereal

evolved 

exhilarating


    earthy












faded

fat

feminine

fermenting

fierce

fiery

fine

finesse

finish

firm

flabby

flat

flattering

fleshy

flinty

flowery

forceful

foxy

fragile

fragrant

fresh

frolicsome

fruity

full-bodied

ull-flavoured 


    flinty









 

 

 

 

Easy-drinking

earthy

elegant  

extract 

 
Earthy  
Easy  
Edgy  
Elegant  
Expansive  
Expressive

 

 

 

Earthy

Elegant

ExotIc

Expensive

 


Earthy
Eggy
Elegant
Esters
Eucalyptus
Extract


earth
Baked
 
earthy
Vegetal
 
eggs/rotten
Mercaptans
 
eggy smell
Eggy
 
everyday
Quaffing
 
 
 
 
  

    


easy to drink 92

 

easy-going 92

 

elderflower 89

 

extra-complex flavour 87



DLs  


Fat

 

Fillette

 

Fine

 

Finesse

 

Fino

 

Fizz

 

Flinty

 

Frais

 

Frappé

 

Fruity

 

Full or full-bodied

 

 

 

Fat  

 

Finish  

 

[flabbiness]

 

[flabby]

 

[flavour]

 

Fragrant  

 

[fresh]

 

Fruit  

 

Fruity  

 

Full-bodied  

 

 

Fat  

finesse

firm

Flabby

flaccid  

flavour layers

fleshy

Focused

fresh

fruity

full.

full bodied

full-body


Fallen over  .
Farmyard  
Fat  
Feminine  
Finesse  
Finish  
Firm  
Flabby  
Flat  
Fleshy  
Foxy  
Fresh  
Fruit
Full  

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

Fat

Flowery

Fragrant

Fresh

Fruity

 

 

Full-Bodied
 




















 
















Garnet

Generous

Gold

Grassy

 

 

Green-tinged
 


 

 
 

Fat
Finesse
Finish
Flabby
Flat
Flinty-
-Gunflint
Flor
Forward
Foxy




fatty
Glycerine
 
filling/mouth
Fat
 
finish
Short
 
firm
Grip
 
fizz  
Sprltz
 
flavour/
lingering
Depth
 
flavour/
musty
Corked
 
floral red
Violets
 
fresh  
Crisp
 
fresh fruit
Cassis
 
freshness
Acidity
 
freshness/
lemony
Lemon
 
fruit acidity
Flat
 
fruit fresh
Cassis
 
fruit not
obvious
Austere
 
fruit smell
Jammy
 
fruit/stewed
Cooked
 
fruity
Blowsy
Quaffing
 
fruity
compounds
Esters
 
full-bodied
Robust
 
full-flavoured
Big
 
 
 

    


fine 86 90 92 94

finer 94

firmness 93

 

flat 79 80

 

flavour, extra-complex 87

flavour, muted 90

flavoured, richly 90

flowering currant 89

flowery 89

fragrant 91

fresh 79 94

fresh acidity 89

fruit, good 84

fruitiness 81 85

 

fruity 81 85 86 92

         93 94

 

fruity bubble-gum

         91

fruity, vibrantly 85

full 92

full bodied 81 82

full body 87

 

fuller body 90

 

 




DLs  


de Garde, vin

 

Gout

 

Grand cru

 

Grapery

 

Green wine

 


gassy

gay

gentle

generous

gorgeous


graceful

grandiose

grapey

great

green 

has grip 

gunflint
 

 

game

ginger

grass

green beans

green tea

grilled meat

 

 

Grapy  

 

Grapy  

 

Green  

 

Green  

 

Grip  

 

 

 

generous

 

 

 

 

gums tingle
 

Grassy

Green

green leaves

gooseberry

Grapey  
Grassy  
Green  
Gutsy


 

 

 
Gamey
Generous
Glycerine
Gooseberry
Grassy
Green Pepper
Grip
Gris
Gunflint-
-Flinty

Geraniums
Generous
 
grapes/rotten
Mouldy
 
grapey
Gooseberry
 
green apples
Malic Acid
 
green smell
Grassy
 
---------------
 

     


gamey 92

good fruit 84

gooseberries 85 89

grassy 86 91

 

 

gulpable 91 93
 



DLs  

green vegetable
here

 


Hard

 

Heady

 

Heavy

 

Hock

 

Honey/Honeyed

 

Horizontal tasting

 

Hybrid

 



hale

hard

harmonious

harsh

heady

hearty

heavy

herbaceous

herby

hollow


honest

hot 

huge 

 

 

 

 

Hard  

 

[healthy]   

 

Heavy  

 

 

hard

harsh  

Heavy  

Herbal  

Honeyed


Hard  
Harsh  
Heavy  
Herbaceous  
Hollow  
Hot  

 

  

 

 

 

Harmonious

Hearty

 

Heavy

 

 
Hazelnut
Herby
Hollow
Honey
Hot

harmonious
Round
 
harmony
Structure
 
heady syrup
Cassis
 
hearty
Beefy
 
hot 
Baked
Alcoholic
Chaptalised
 
 

 

heavier 82

heavy 82

herby 93 94

honeyed 87 89 94


Iron

 



immature

insipid

    Indian spices

 

 

[immature] 

 

  

integrity


Inky  
 
impersonator here

 Immature

 
Iodine

iodine


Salt

 

 

inky purple 91

 

 

 

 

 
  jam

 

 

 

 

jammy

Jammy

 

 

 

Jammy

 

 


There is now a vast space due to website technical problems.


 













 

 
 

 

 
 
          

 

  


     
  




 










 




 



 






 
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Légerement doux

 

Legs

 

Light

 

Liquoreux

 



has legs

light

lingering
(finish)


little

lively 

luscious 

 

lead pencil

leather

lemon

lemon

licorice

lychee

 

 

Light  

 

Little  

 

[lively]   

 

Luscious  

 

[maturity]

 

 

 

 

larger than life

Lean

lean

light  

lime zest

long  


Lean  
Leathery  
Legs  
Lemony  
Lightstruck  
Linalool  
Liquorice  
Liveliness  
Luscious  

 

 

 

 Lean

Light

Light Rose

Lingering

Long

Lush

 

 
Lanolin
Legs
Lemon
Length
Liquorice
Lychees


lacking bite
Blowsy
 
lemony
freshness
Lemon
 
light  
Commercial
 
lingering
flavour
Depth
 
lively
Crisp
 
locked in
Sulphur
 
long
Finish
 
looks/sherry
Nutty
 
 

     



light 86 92 93

light and fruity 81

light bodied 82

light body 89

lighter 82

limey 89

liquorice 92

lively 79

 

lowish alcohol 89

 

luscious sweetness

             84

 

lychee 87

 

 

 




DLs  


ladybird
here


Maderized

 

Moelleux

 

Musty

 



maderized 

has majesty 

manly

mature

meager

mealy 

meaty 

medium

mellow

metallic 

mettlesome 

mineral

moldy

mossy

musky

musty

 

 

 

mango

 

Medjool dates

melon

mint

moss

 

mousse au chocolat

 

 

Meaty

 

Medium dry  

 

Medium sweet  

 

[mouthwatering acidity]

 

[muscatel-like]

 

Musty  

 

 

Madeirized  

Mature  

Meaty  

Mineral   


Mature  
Mean  
Meaty  
Mellow
Midpalate  
Minerality  
 
mocha here

 

 

Massive

Mature

Medium

Mellow

Metallic

Musty

 

 
 
Maderised
Malic Acid
Meaty
Mellow
Mercaptans
Metallic
Mint
Mouldy
Mouth-puckering
Mulberry
Mushroom
 


made/badly
Dirty
 
mature soft
Mellow
 
meat + spice
Gamey
 
meaty
Beefy
 
mouth-filling  
Generous
Beefy
Fat
 
mouth-
puckering
Tannin
 
mushroom 
Truffles
 
musty flavour
Corked
 
musty smell
Bottle Stink
Corked
 
 
 

 

mature 93

medium 83

medium bodied 81

medium body 87

medium dry 83

 

medium-sweet style

              87

mellowly fruity 94

metallic 81

minty character 91

mouth-puckering 80

 

muted aroma 90

 

muted flavour 90

 

 

 


Noble

 

Nose

 

Nutty

 




neutral

noble

nose

nutty

    nutmeg

 

 

 

 

Neutral

Noble  

noble rot

nose   

Nutty  


Nervy  
Nose  


 

 

Nutty

 

Nose
Nutty
 
New-style
Lemon
 
nose
Breathing
 
notice/take
Attack
 
nuttily rich
Yeast
 
 
 
 

 naïve here

     

DLs  


Ordinaire

 


oaky

odd

off

oily

old

ordinary 

original 

ostentatious

overripe

oxidised

 

oatmeal biscuit

olive

oregano

 

Oriental spices

 

 

[overpowering]

 

 

oak flavors

oaky/oakey   

Off-nose

Oxidized  



Oaky  
Oily  
Opulent  
Oxidized  
Oxidative  


 

 

 

 

Oaky

 

Overripe

 
Oaky
Old Socks
Oxidised
 
oak-aged
Cedar
Tobacco
 
oily softness
Lanolin
 
over-acidic 
Aggressive
Mouth-
puckering
 
over-alcoholic 
Alcoholic
Hot
 
over-chaptalised  
Hot
 
over-tannic  
Aggressive
 
------------------
 
 

 

oak 85

 

 

 

 

 

oaky 93

 

 

 




 


Pelure d’oignon

 

Perlant

 

Petillant

 

Piquant

 

Piqué

 

Piquette

 



pebbly

penetrating

peppery

perfumed

piquant

plump

has poise


positive

powerful 

pretentious

pricked

 

prickly

puckery

pungent

 

pear

petrol

pie crust

plum

pomegranate

 

 

Peardrops  

 

Peppery  

 

Piquant  

 

Piquant  

 

[positive flavour]

 

Pricked

 

 

 

Purpley black

personality

Petrol  

Piercing  

powerful  

prunish flavor


 
 
 
Palate  
Peak  
Peppery  
Perfume  
Plummy  
Polished  
Powerful  
Prickly  
 

 

 

Piquant

Powerful

Punqent

Purple

 

 
Palate
Pear drops
Pepper
Pétillant
Petrol
Pine
Plum
 
 
pétillant
Sprltz
 
pink
Gris
 
pizza
Herby
 
planty
Hazelnut
 
precocious
Forward
 
pungent
Cat’s Pee
Farmyard
 
-------------
 



 
  



pencil 85

 

peppery character

              92

plummy 92

prunes 92

pungent 87 90

pungent tang 84




DLs  

 presumption here



Quality

 

 

 

[quality of inherent life]

 

 quaffing here

 

 

 
Quaffing
quaffable



 


Race

 

Rancio

 

Récolte

 

Reserved for England

 

Rosso

 

Rotwein

 

Round

 



racy

rare

redolent

 

refreshing 

respectable 

rich

ripe

robust 

roguish 

rough

round

rounded

rugged

 

raspberry

 

red bell pepper

rhubarb

rose

 

 

[raw/ness]

 

[refreshing acidity]

 

Rich  

 

Robust  

 

 

Racy   
refreshing

Rich

Ripe  

rock

Rounded

Racy  
Reticent  
Rich
Robust  
Round



 

 

 

Refreshing

Rich

 

Robust

Rough

 

 

 

 
 
Rancio
Raspberry
Residual sugar
Ripe
Robust
Rose
Rough
Round
Rubber


rancio 
Maderised
 
restrained
classy
Elegant
 
rich
Rancio
 
rich/nuttily
Yeast
 
richness 
Honey
 
ripe berry
Mulberry
 
rotten eggs
Mercaptans
 
rotten grapes
Mouldy
 
rough-tasting
Coarse
 
roundness
Hollow
 
rubber/burnt
Mercaptans
 
 
 

     



raspberries 85 92

raspberry-fruity 93

red 91

rich 87 90 93

richly flavoured 90

ripe-tasting 87

rose petals 87

 

rotty 92

 

 




DLs  


Sec

 

Secco

 

Séché

 

Seco

 

Séve

 

Sharp

 

Smoky

 

Stalky

 

Still

 

Stravecchio

 

Sugared

 


salty

sappy

savory

scented

semisweet 

senile 

sensuous 

serious 

sharp

short 
(finish)

silky

silly


simple

small

smoky

smooth

soft

solid

sophisticated

sound

sour

spicy

has stamina

stalky

steely

stemmy

stiff

stony

strong

sturdy

stylish

suave

subtle

succulent

superficial

sugary 

supple

swallowable

sweet

syrupy

 

sage

smoky

steely

stone

 

 

 

Sap  

 

[scent]

 

Severe  

 

[sharpness]

 

Silky  

 

[smell - burnt]

 

[smell - twigs]

 

Soft  

 

Spicey  

 

[spinelessness]

 

Stalky  

 

[strapping]

 

[subtle scent]

 

Sulphury  

 

Superficial  

 

Supple  

 

Sweet  

 

Sweet  

    

 

serious

sharpnes

smoky

Smooth

Soft

Sparkling  

Spicy  

Steel  

Stony  

stout

stringy

substance

Subtle  

Sulphurized  .

supple  

Sweet  

Sassy
Sharp  
Sherrylike  
Short  
Smokey  
Smooth  
Soft  
Soy Sauce  
Spicy  
Stalky  
Structure  
Supple  
Sweet
 
 
 
 
  
 
 

 

 

 

Sharp

Short

Smooth

Sour

Spicy

 

Supple

 
 
 
 
Salt
Sediment
Short
Silky
Smoke
Sorbic Acid
Spicy
Sprltz
Stalky
Stemmy.
Steely
Strawberry
Structure
Sulphur
 
 
 


salty tang
Salt
 
sherry
Nutty
Salt
 
short
Finish
 
sickly
Cloying
 
sit up
Attack
 
smell attic
Dusty
 
smell musty
Bottle Stink
 
smell
Nose
Pear drops
Vegetal
 
smell/buttery
Caramel
 
smell/eggy
Eggy
 
smell/fruit
Jammy
 
smell/green
Grassy
 
smell/musty
Corked
 
smell/wild
Foxy
 
smelling
sweet
Esters
 
smells/sherry
Nutty
 
smooth
Round
 
smooth
Silky
 
soft 
Quaffing
 
soft mature
Mellow
 
softens
Tannin
 
softness/oily
Lanolin
 
solid
Robust
 
sourness/
cheesy
Dirty Socks
 
sparkle
Pétillant
Sprltz
 
spice + meat 
Gamey
 
spritz
Pétillant
 
stewed apple
Apple
 
stewed-fruit
Cooked
 
stonily crisp
Flinty
 
strongly
alcoholic
Big
 
sunned
Baked
 
sweetness
Cloying
 
sweetness
Dry
Honey
 
sweet-
smelling
Esters
 

 

salty tang 88
 

 

 

savoury 85 93

 

sharp, undrinkably

             94

sharply acidic 94

sharpness 79

 

slightly astringent

             93

soft 80 81 90 91 92

       93

steely 79

steely acidity 89

strawberries 85 92

subtle 85

sweet 83 89

sweetish 92

sweetish aroma 90

 

sweetness 80 82 83 - plus luscious 84

 

 

 

 
                 
 



 
 




























































tang 90

tang, salty 88

tang, yeasty 88

 

tangy acidity 89 90 91

tart acidity 93

tartness 79

toasty 89

tough 91 92 94

 

toughish tannin 93

 














DLs  


[Tears]

 

Thin

 

Tinto

 

Trocken

 



tangy

tannic

tart

taut

tender

thin

tough

transcendental

twiggy


tar

tarragon

toast biscuit

toffee

 

 

Tannin   

 

Tart  

 

Tough  

 

 

 

Tannic  

Tart

thin

thrill

Toasty  

tough


Tannic  
Tar  
Tart
Texture  
Thin  
Tight  
Toasty  
Transparency  
Typicity  

 

 

 

 

Tannic

Tart

Tense

Thin

Toasty

 
 
Tannin
Tobacco
Toffee
Truffles


take notice
Attack
 
tang/salty
Salt
 
tannic
Dusty
Mouth-
puckering
 
tannic/over
Aggressive
 
tannin
Sediment
 
tasting rough
Coarse
 
teeth into
Meaty
 
texture
Butter
 
thin
Attenuated
 
throat-
tickling
Sulphur
 
tired 
Attenuated
 
toasted
almonds
Hazelnut
 
--------------
 

 

 


unbalanced

unharmonious

unripe

 

 

[undeveloped]

 

[unstable]

 

 

 

unctuous

up front 

 
Undertone  
Unoaked -
- unwooded
Upfront  

 

 

 

Unbalanced

Unctuous

 
unbalanced
Clumsy
Rough
 
unclean
Dirty
 
undemanding
Commercial
Quaffing
 
unripe apple
Apple
 
 

     

'ugly duckling' 94


unctuous weight 
            82

undrinkable 81

 

 

 

undrinkably sharp
               94
 




DLs  


Varietal

 

Vendimia

 

Vertical tasting

 

Vin de Garde

 

Vin ordinaire 

 



vegy
(vegetable)


velvety

vigorous 

vinous

vulgar
 

 

vanilla

 

vanilla wafers

violet

 

 

Vigorous  

 

[vinegary]

 

Volatile

 

 

 

 

 
Vanilla  
Vegetal  
Vivid  
Voluptuous







 

warm .

weighty feeling

wine scales

Woody


Warm  
Watery  
 
 
 

 

 

 

Ve1vety

Vigorous

Viscous

 

Vanilla
Vegetal
Violets
Volatile
 

 

 



vanilla
Oaky
 
vegetal  
Truffles
 
vinegary 
Acetic
 
-----------
 

 

 

 

vanilla 85

vegetal 92


           94

 

vibrantly fruity 85

 

 




vegetable
here


Well-balanced

 


warm

watery

weak

wild

withered

woody

 

walnut

weedy

wild flowers

 

wild mushroom

 

 

[watery finish]

 

 

 

Well-balanced  

Woody  

 

 

 

 Well-Balanced

 
well-blended  
Complex
 
wet leaf  
Vegetal
 
wild smell
Foxy
 
---------------
 



 

 

weight 82

weighty 90

 

 

woodshavings 85
 



wine-box flavour
here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Yeasty

 


yeasty

young

yeast bread dough

 

 

[youthful acidity]

 

 

Yeasty  


Yeasty  
Young  
 

 

 

 

 

Yeast

young tannic
Mouth-
puckering

     

 

 

weight 82

weighty 90

 

 

 
 






DLs  

 

 


zestful

 

 

 

 

zesty

Zesty
Zippy  





 

 

 

 
zing 
Acidity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 
Dictionary of Wines, Spirits and Liqueurs - Andre Simon

vyd = vineyard
 
 
Abboccato
A term for lightly sweet wines of Italy
 
Abocado
Spanish term for a medium sweet wine
 
Acerbe
French term for sour or sharp wine; usually that made from insufficiently ripe grapes.
 
After-taste
The ‘internal’ bouquet that remains in the mouth and nose after the wine is swallowed.
 
Amabile
Italian term denoting medium sweet wine.
 
Aniseed (Anis)
Herb used in several countries to flavour proprietary liqueurs e.g. Anisette                             

 
Apre
French for sharp, referring to a wine with excess of tannin
 
Aroma
Usually associated with the nose of a young wine as opposed to the bouquet of a more mature wine. Aromatic – fragment, implying a rich aroma.
 
Asclutto
Italian term for dry wine
 
  
To Contents here
     DLs  


Balance
See well-balanced
 
Beerenanausese
German for one of the highest grades of natural ‘sweetness’, referring to a fine white wine made from the ripest berries picked out from each bunch of the grapes at the time of the vintage.  
 
Beery
An undesirable smell caused by secondary fermentation in the bottle. The wine is basically unsound.
 
Bite
Suggesting a substantial degree of acidity in a wine and a noticeable amount of tannin. A good factor in a young wine which generally mellows with age.
 
Bland
Not complimentary; somewhat characterless.
 
Body
Corps in French. Complimentary term for a wine meaning that it has the right proportion of strength and fruitiness.
 
Bottle sickness
A kind of distemper to which wines may be subject to from three to six months after being bottled; time is usually a remedy.
 
Bouquet
French for the fragrance of wine.  Used in association with mature wines.  Aroma is used for youthful or lesser wines. 


Breed
The quality of a fine wine which is the most difficult to describe. It concerns the effects of soil, climate and wine-making skill reflected in the fragrance, the bouquet, the body and the after-taste.
 
Brut
French for unsweetened wine, especially very dry Champagne. Drier than dry or extra dry.
 

  
To Contents here
     DLs  


Caramel
Slightly burnt, toffee-like flavour which can have a literal origin in the case of certain spirits. It is a characteristic flavour of Madeira and Marsala.
 
Casse
French term for certain disorders in wine, causing cloudiness or darkening.
 
Chambre
French word for bringing up the temperature of a red table wine to the temperature of the dining-room from the cellar. It definitely does not mean ‘warmed up’ and care must be taken as today eating places are too hot for this purpose to be taken literally.
 
Clarity
Clearness; absolute limpidity.
 
Cloying
Tasting term for a sweet, heavy wine which lacks acidity and crispness.
 
Coarse
Tasting term for wines of rough texture and possibly indifferently made.
 

Colour
Wines have a characteristic colour which often is considerably different at stages in the maturing process. It comes from pigments in the grape skins.
 
Cooked
Tasting term meaning a heavy, sweet, but not unpleasant, smell indicating the use of sugar or concentrated must during vinification.
 
Cooking wine
Wine that has deteriorated below drinking standard but is still suitable for cooking.
 
Corsé
French term for a wine of rather high alcoholic strength and full body.
 
Coupé
French for cut, in the sense of a wine blended with another. It also means watered wine.
 
  
To Contents here
      DLs  

 
Crème
When applied to liqueurs, mostly French ones, it denotes a more than usual degree of sweetness. It is followed by the name of the fruit or plant responsible for its informing flavour.
 
Crisp
A desirable refreshing feature of some white wines, through the right level of acidity.
 
Cru
French for growth.
 
Cru artisan
Medoc term for rank below cru bourgeois – no longer used.
 
Cru bourgeois
Fourth rank of Medoc wines below the five crus classes.
 
Cru bourgeois superieur
The third rank of Medoc growth below the five crus classes.
 
Cru classé
One of the first five classified growths of the Medoc, or any classed growth of another district.
 
Cru exceptionnel
Second rank of Medoc growths below the five crus classes.
 
Cru Paysan
Medoc name for rank below cru artisan – no longer used.
 
Crust
Fairly hard sediment, chiefly tartrates, which red Ports cast off as they age in the bottle and which should adhere to the glass of the bottle when the wine is decanted with care.
 
Cut
See Coupé.
 
  
To Contents here
      DLs  


Dégustation
French for tasting.
 
Demi-sec
French for semi-dry; means sweet on Champagne label.
 
Dolce
Italian for sweet.
 
Doux
French term for sweet wine.
 
Dry
A wine that has been fully fermented, so no sugar remains.  Champagne described as dry is not excessively sweet but it will, as a rule, have been slightly sweetened.
 
Dulce
Spanish for sweet, especially in connection with wine.
 
Dumb
When used in wine it means undeveloped.
 
Earthy
Characteristic of certain wines derived from the soil.
 
Echt
German for unsugared. Found on early labels as one of the descriptions of a natural wine. Also spirits can denote ‘matured’.
 
Espumante
Portuguese for sparkling.
 
Espumoso
Spanish for sparkling.
 
Extra sec
Dry Champagne.
 
 
To Contents here
     DLs  


Fat
Of wine, full-bodied, soft and high in natural glycerol.
 
Fillette
French slang term for a half-bottle of wine, especially in Anjou.
 
Fine
Common French name for a Cognac Brandy; Fine Champagne is a blend of Grande Champagne and Petite Champagne Cognacs.
 
Finesse
French term for elegance or class in a wine.
 
Fino
The driest of all Sherries. The real fino is dry without any bitterness, and delicate without being thin.
 
Fizz
Slang term for any beverage which is effervescent, more particularly Champagne.
 
Flinty
Certain white wine grapes grown on certain soils have a hint of gun-flint in the bouquet and flavour.
 
Frais
French for fresh or cool.
 
Frappé
French term for serving a drink on broken ice, or for wine served ice-cold.
 
Fruity
The attractive fresh quality of a wine derived from good ripe grapes.
 
Full or full-bodied
A wine high in alcohol and extract, which ‘fills’ the mouth.
 
  
To Contents here
      DLs  


de Garde, vin
Wine good enough to lay down, or which should be laid down to mature.
 
Goût
French for taste. When applied to wine, Gout is used in such expressions as the following: Gout de ferment – still fermenting, not ready to drink; Gout francais – a very sweet Champagne; Gout de Pierre a fusil – a flinty and not unpleasant after-taste; Gout de pique – pricked [ see Piqué and Broadbent], on the way to the vinegar tub, Gout de terroir – taste derived from the soil. See also Franc de Gout.
 
Grand cru
French for great growth. In Burgundy it means a top growth with its own AC. The label carries only the vyd. name.  It is also the name of a small vinery in Sonoma County.
 
Grapery
A rich, Muscatelle-like aroma produced by certain grape varieties such as Scheurebe.
 
Green wine
Unripe, raw and young.
 
 
To Contents here
     DLs  


Hard
When applied to wine it means too much tannin.
 
Heady
A wine high in alcohol, or rich enough to ‘go to the head’.
 
Heavy
An official definition for a fortified wine subject to higher rates of excise duty. Also a term used for a wine over-endowed with alcohol and fruitiness.
 

Hock
The English name for Rhine wine which has replaced the older name Rhenish. The bottles are brown and it has been fashionable to serve Hock in tall brown-stemmed glasses. … The name covers wines from the Rheingau in particular but includes wines from all the other districts except the Mosel.
 
Honey/Honeyed
Characteristic fragrance of certain fine mature wines such as Sauternes.
 
Horizontal tasting
Tasting wines of the same age but of different origins.
 
Hybrid
In viticulture, a new variety bred by crossing an American variety (Vitis labrusca) with a European variety (Vitis vinifera). Hybrids are most resistant to disease and may not require grafting. See Seyve-Villard.
 
 
To Contents here
     DLs  


Iron
In connection with wine, a faintly metallic earthy taste derived from the soil.
 
Légerement doux
Swiss label term for wines with a notable quantity of residual sugar.
 
Legs
An English term for globules which fall down the side of the glass after the wine is swirled. It is generally indicative of a rich, naturally sweet wine, e.g. a Sauternes. Also known as tears.
 
Liquoreux
French term for rich and sweet. Italian: liquoroso.
 
Light
Of wine, one lacking in body or having a low degree of alcohol. Also an official term for a natural, unfortified wine.
 

  
To Contents here
      DLs  

Maderized
Age or poor storage can make white wines lose freshness and fruitiness and become light brown-coloured. In some wines, e.g.  Madeiras and wines of the Jura, it adds to the greatness and gives a taste known as rancio.
 
Moelleux
French for soft, sweet and fruity wine. 
 
Mou
French term for meaning flabby.
 
Mousseux
French for sparkling. According to French law any sparkling wine except Champagne, e.g. Bourgogne Mousseux. A range of South African Mousseux wine is produced by the KWV at Paarl, Stellenbosch and Tulbagh.
 
Musty
A bad smell which wine can acquire when in contact with a poor cask or bad cork.
 
Noble
Term applied to a grape variety or wine that shows quality.
 
Nose
The general non-descriptive term used for the bouquet of a wine.
 
Nutty
A flavour reminiscent of, e.g. hazelnuts, found in some sherries.
 
Ordinaire
See Vin ordinaire
 
Pelure d’oignon
Onion skin – a French term used to describe the peculiar brown sheen which some old red wines acquire, and also the tint of some roses.
 
  
To Contents here
     DLs  


Perlant
French for very lightly sparkling.
 
Petillant
French term for wine that is slightly sparkling owing to the fermentation in bottle of small amounts of residual sugar.
 
Piquant
French term meaning the wine is acid and sharp – not at all flattering.
 
Piqué
French for pricked.
 
Piquette
The French name for an ‘imitation’ wine usually made out of the husks of grapes after the juice has been pressed for making wine; they are flooded with water sweetened with the cheapest available sugar and fermented with brewer’s yeast.
 
Quality
General term for wines that are consistently above average in their own class.
 
  
To Contents here
      DLs  


Race
French word used to indicate distinction in a wine.
 
Rancio
See Maderized.
 
Récolte
French term for the vintage.
 
Reserved for England
On a Champagne label it usually means dry.
 
Rosso
Term used generally in Italy for red wine.
 
Rotwein
German for red wine.
 
Round
A wine which is harmonious and balanced and is said to give a sense of roundness in the mouth.
 
  
To Contents here
     DLs  


Sec
French for dry, but means sweet on a Champagne label. Sec is less sweet than a wine labelled demi-sec, which is very sweet, but it is sweeter than extra sec, which is only slightly sugared.
 
Secco
Italian for dry wine.
 
Séché
French term used to describe harsh wines usually suffering from oxidation.
 
Seco
Spanish for dry.
 
Seco
Portuguese for dry.
 
Séve
A French term meaning sappy used to describe a wine which has elegance and charm.
 
Sharp
See Acidity.
 
Smoky
The characteristic nose of some Sauvignon Blanc or Chardonnay wines.
 
Stalky
Hardness in wine from tannin naturally present in the grape stalks.
 
Still
Term applied to table wines without sparkle.
 
Stravecchio
Italian word for very old wine.
 

Sugared
See Vins Chaptalises.
 
   
To Contents here
  
   DLs  


[Tears
See Legs.]
 
Thin
Of a wine – lacking in body.
 
Tinto
Italian, Spanish and Portuguese term for full-bodied red wine.
 
Trocken
German term indicating dry wine.
 
Varietal
A term sometimes applied to a wine whose name derives from the grape used rather than the place of origin.
 
Vendimia
Spanish for vintage.
 
Vertical tasting
Tasting of wines of the same vyd. but of different vintages.
 
Vin de Garde
A wine suitable for laying down; will improve with keeping.
 
Vin ordinaire
Common French term for inexpensive wine drunk daily in quantity.
 
 
To Contents here   
  
   DLs  


Well-balanced
Harmony in all aspects of a wine.
 
Yeasty
An undesirable taste in some white wines caused mainly by Saccharomyces acidi faciens.



 

 

Andre Simon - Colours
Pelure d’oignon
Onion skin – a French term used to describe the peculiar brown sheen which some old red wines acquire, and also the tint of some roses

Rosso
Term used generally in Italy for red wine.
.
Rotwein
German for red wine.


These are not the only colours Simon lists.  More later.
   To Contents here      DLs  






......................................................................................................................................    

Wine & Conversation, A Lehrer

Adrienne Lehrer's [A L] descriptors in the list above here and in brown text are from p 117 of her book.  She lists many more on page 5. When complete, her list will be the 216 commonest words she found before 1980 [p 4].  Many are from glossaries and are defined, but many have only been used to describe one particular wine.  Therefore, all terms are attested.  However, the set is not a closed one; the wine vocabulary can be indefinitely extended.

The Revised List of 117 Wine Descriptors [p 117] in brown text arise from experiments carried out by A L before her first edition in 1983.  I thought I had completed my work of ten years on the topic.  But so much has happened in the wine world since then. p vii, 2009 edition

The work I am doing attests her view that the wine vocabulary can be indefinitely extended.


The text in red within the list above refers to culinary descriptors here.

 


  Wine aromas       p 212

The table below is within the heading Judging Food and Wine 

Reference standards using widely available foodstuffs were proposed by another author and included in the book.

 
Table 14.1       Reference Standards for Wine Aromas
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Attribute           Composition
 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Asparagus        2-3ml brine from canned asparagus in 25 ml (red or white) wine
 
Cherry             10 ml brine of canned cherries in 25 ml red wine
 
Smoky             1 drop smoky flavor extract in 150m1 wine
 
Molasses          1-3 ml molasses in 25 ml wine
 
Mint                 1 crushed mint leaf or 1 drop mint extract in 25 ml (red or white wine
 
Cedar               1 drop cedar oil or few shavings of cedar wood in 25 ml red win
 
Rubbery           1 x 10 mm. x 5 m piece of cut rubber tubing or bike tire in 25n red or
                         white wine. Let sit for several hours.
 
Wet wood        Small piece of heated wet wood (no wine)
   
   To Contents here      DLs      





  

 
The Technique of Tasting, M Broadbent, in The Compleat Imbiber 8: an entertainment, C Ray (ed), John Harvey & Sons, 1965, pp 198 - 203

 
Words used to describe bouquet or aroma [– in black]
 
Words to describe taste, flavour and general effect in the mouth [– in blue]
 
[ ..] additional in either black or blue text – the author uses adjectives etc but does not list them
 
-----------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
Acetic - a distinctly vinegary smell as opposed to mere tartness. The wine will be undrinkable and past repair.
 
Acid –
an essential natural component which can be detected on the tongue. Acid is not only a preservative but gives a wine its essential 'bite' and provides bouquet. Degrees of acidity vary. It is high in Moselle and Saar wines and is responsible for their refreshing qualities. It is low in wines of some of the hotter and more southerly regions such as Algeria, southern Italy and southern Spain.
 
Lack of acidity results in a flabby wine with a watery finish; excess acidity results in a barely drinkable tartness or leads to a completely undrinkable acetification. Youthful acidity tends to mellow in the bottle and the wine is therefore likely to improve with keeping. 
 
There are in fact several types of acid found in wine, some beneficial, others detrimental. The professional expert needs to know the difference but the subject is too complicated to be dealt with here.

 
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[acid - mouthwatering acidity & refreshing acidity – see Piquant           
           excess volatile acidity see Pricked]
 
[acidity – see Acid, Green – black & blue entries, Tough, Vigorous]
 
[acrid smell – see Sulphury]
 
Almond kernels - (or almond paste) probably due to poor handling, bad fining. May well be drinkable, but not good.
 
Austere - severe, undeveloped. Often noticed on young fine wines.
 
Baked - distinct smell of burnt and shrivelled grapes due to excess sun and lack of rainfall.
 
Balance - the combination of natural components. See 'well balanced'.
 
[big – see Peppery]
 
Bite- a combination of tannin and acid. To be expected in a young wine but unpleasant if found in excess. Should wear off and mellow as the wine matures.
 
Bitter - a sign of ill-health probably due to undesirable acids or metallic contamination (take care though, the remnants of an alkaline toothpaste or the acidity of certain fruits can cause a similar effect).
 
Body - the weight of wine in the mouth due principally to the alcoholic content. This varies with the quality of the wine (and vintage), its style and its origin. It tends to be heavier in the south (e.g. the Rhône) than the north Moselle).
 
[bouquet – see Deep]
 
 
Blackcurrants - the nearest fruit smell to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Particularly noticeable on wines from Margaux and Pauillac.
 
Breed - a quality stemming from the wine's parentage (both vineyard and vigneron, the site and soil of the one and the skill of the other).
 
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Cedar - characteristic scent of many fine clarets.
 
[charming – see Coarse]
 
[chewable - see Meaty]
 
Clean - absence of foreign odours.
 

Cloying - sweet and heavy. Lacking acidity to make it crisp and interesting.
 
Coarse - rough, of poor parentage and possibly indifferently made. Do not confuse coarseness of character with the rough rawness of a fine but immature young wine.
a light and charming quality.
 
Cooked - a resulting heavy sweet smell from over use of sugar in poor vintages.
 
Deep - a bouquet of a full, rich and lasting quality as opposed to a fragrant but superficial one.
 
Delicate – a light and charming quality
 
Depth - a desirable quality implying a multiplicity ('layers') of flavour.
 
Dry - absence of sugar (fully fermented out).
 
[dubuous condition – see Peardrops]
 
[dull – see Little]
 
Dumb - undeveloped, but with an inherent promise.
 
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Fat - medium to full bodied, with a soft rounded texture.
 
Finish - a pleasing and firm end to the taste, resulting from healthy and appropriate degree of acidity. A wine cannot be considered well-balanced without a good finish. A poor finish is watery and inconclusive and is a sure sign of lack of acidity, general imbalance and poor quality.
 
[flabbiness – see Grip]
 
[flabby wine with a watery finish – see Acid]
 
[flavour - 'layers' of, - see Depth]
 

Fragrant - attractive and flowery.
 
[fresh … acidity – see Piquant]
 
Fruit - a fleshy quality derived from ripe grapes, but not necessarily 'grapy' in flavour.
 
Fruity - self-descriptive. A ripe, though not necessarily grapy smell.
 
Full-bodied - filling the mouth. High alcoholic content probably over 13° G.L. (i.e. 13 per cent alcohol by volume).
 
[full bodied and rounded – see Robust]
 
Grapy - a rich muscatel-like aroma produced by varieties of that grape or by new varieties like Scheurebe and Muller- Thurgau, etc.  …
 
Grapy - a distinctive flavour derived from the use of certain grape varieties such as Muscat or Muscatelle and from relatively new crossings like Muller-Thurgau or Scheurebe.
 
Green - young and raw, exhibiting youthful acidity.
 
Grip - firm and emphatic combination of physical characteristics (as opposed to flabbiness or spinelessness).
 
Green - youthful acidity which will wear off as the wine gains maturity.
 
Hard - an easily detected severity due to over-prominence of
tannin and acid, both of which may mellow in time.
 
Heavy - full-bodied and overpowering. Take care to watch the context; a strapping Rhône wine would suit a gargantuan dinner in the middle of winter but would appear heavy and overpowering at a light summer luncheon.
 
[immature - see Severe]
 
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Light - implying lack of body. Probably under 12° G.L.
 
Little - scarcely any bouquet apparent. Either a dull ordinary wine or an undeveloped one.
 
Luscious - soft, sweet, fat and fruity—all in balance. Medium body - probably 12-13° G.L.
 
[maturity – see Soft]
 
Meaty - heavy, rich, almost chewable quality.
 
[mouthwatering acidity – see Piquant]
 
Medium dry - containing a small quantity of natural sweetness but probably dry enough to be drunk before or during a meal.
 
Medium sweet - distinctly on the sweet side though not sweet enough for a dessert wine. Probably too sweet to drink with the main course of a meal unless you have a sweet tooth.
 
[muscatel-like aroma – see Full-bodied]
 
Musty - self-explanatory. (Take heed: this may be due to stale air in the bottle between cork and wine. If so, it will wear off after a few minutes.)
 
[overpowering – see Heavy]
 
Peardrops - occasionally noticeable on indifferently made wines
of lesser vintages. Unstable and in dubious condition.
 
Peppery - sharpness due to raw young component parts (alcohol,
acid, etc.) which have not had time to marry. Noticeable on big young Rhône wines, on young ruby or immature vintage port and on many young full red wines.
 
Piquant - fresh and mouthwatering acidity. Desirable and customary characteristic of wines from the Moselle, Saar and Ruwer, also from districts like Sancerre.
 

Piquant - a degree of refreshing acidity which makes the mouth water - desirable in many light, dry white wines but not in others.
 
Pricked - excess volatile acidity. Probably tart but may be just drinkable.
 
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[quality of inherent life - see Sap]
 
[raw – see Green]
 
[refreshing acidity – see Piquant]
 
Rich - a full, but not necessarily sweet, ensemble of fruit, flavour and body.
 
Robust - full bodied and rounded. A good strapping mouthful of a wine.
 
Sap - the quality of inherent life that will help develop a young wine (sève in French).
 
[scent – see Cedar]
 
Severe - hard and immature. Either a big, young undeveloped wine or one showing an unnatural excess of tannin and acid.
 
[sharpness – see Peppery]
 
Silky - a firm yet soft texture on the palate. One of the characteristics of a fine Pomerol.
 
[smell  - of burnt and shrivelled grapes – see Baked]
 
Soft - agreeable texture in the mouth, at its best promising a certain maturity and balance. However a soft young wine may lack guts and keeping power.
 
Spicey - a rich and subtle scent reminiscent of herbs and spices. A characteristic of Gewurztraminer.
 
[spinelessness – see Grip]
 
Stalky - a smell of damp twigs, not necessarily derogatory, merely descriptive. Many young clarets have this rather evocative damp, chai-reminiscent smell.
 
[strapping – see Heavy]
 

[subtle scent – see Spicey sic]
 
Sulphury - a sharp acrid smell which prickles the back of the throat. Sulphur in one form or another is almost invariably used as an antiseptic, for cleaning casks and in mild solution to ensure the stability of white wines. Excesses are noticeable but not harmful.
 
Superficial - not unattractive but without depth or real quality.
 
Supple - easy to feel, hard to define: combining sap, vigour and a distinct but amenable texture.
 
Sweet - self-explanatory (note, however, that a dry wine can have a sweet smell).
 
Sweet - a wine with a high sugar content. Essential element of any dessert wine.
 
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Tannin - tannin dries the roof of the mouth and grips the teeth. It is an essential preservative derived from the grape during fermentation but is broken down and becomes mellow with age. Very noticeable in many young red wines, particularly claret.
 
Tart - a trifle over-acid. Similar to 'piquant' but probably too acid for the average layman. In a young wine it may wear off after further maturing time.
 
Tough - a full bodied wine of overpowering immaturity (not necessarily youthful) probably with an over-high tannin content.
 
[undeveloped – see Austere]
 
[unstable – see Peardrops]
 

[vinegary smell- see Acetic]
 
Vigorous - lively, healthy and positive flavour associated with youthful development.
 
Volatile – bouquet is the result of volatile acids, esters, and aldehydes. However, an excess of volatile acidity is a danger sign, leading to acetification.
 
[watery finish – see Acid]
 
[watery and inconclusive – see Finish]
 
Well-balanced - satisfactory blend of physical components (fruit, alcohol, tannin, acid) and the less tangible elements (breed, character, finesse, etc.).
 
Woody - a particular aroma derived from the cask. Due to late racking, or contact with a poor quality cask or fresh raw new one, or just too much time in cask before bottling.
 
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..............................................................................................................................................................    
The Technique of Tasting, M Broadbent, in The Compleat Imbiber 8: an entertainment, C Ray (ed), John Harvey & Sons, 1965, pages indicated



COLOUR
 
Most wines fall into one of three categories, red, white or rosé. But there is far more to it than that.
 
(i) Red Wines
 
What we know as a red wine will in fact vary in hue from deep purple through various prismatic shades of red to mahogany or even amber, depending mainly on the state of maturity, the vintage and the district.
 
Purple - indicates extreme youth or immaturity. Almost all red wines in cask will be this colour. They begin to lose their strong purple tinge in bottle, the length of time depending on their initial depth of colour.
 
Ruby -- self-descriptive. The colour of a young port and not unlike that of a fullish claret or burgundy.
 
Red - by which we mean the colour approximating to 'claret', indicates the transitional period between youth and the acquisition of maturity and bottle age.
 
Red-Brown - in a table wine, indicates maturity (for example, claret with five or more years in bottle; burgundy three years or more, depending on the quality of the vintage).
 
Mahogany a more mellow, subtle red-brown indicating considerable maturity (a claret with ten to twenty years' bottle age).
 
Tawny - a term, like ruby, usually associated with port. it describes a colour which has been attained either by blending or through loss of colour in cask, the former meeting style requirements, the latter being part of the natural maturing process.
 
Amber-Brown - indicates either a wine of very considerable age or one which is prematurely old and/or oxidised.
 
(ii) White Wines
 
So-called 'white' wines vary from the palest yellow/green through deeper shades of yellow to gold and deep amber brown.
Dry white wines usually start off life with little colour, and, unlike red wines, gain colour with age. Sweet wines generally start off a fuller shade of yellow, turn to gold and then take on a
 
190     

  
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brown tinge with age. Sherry is basically a pale-straw-yellow, some of the deeper shades being the result of ageing and blending.
 
Practically all the dark oloroso and brown sherries gain their colour from added 'colour' wine of one sort or another.
 
Yellow-Green - a distinct green tinge is quite common in youthful white wines and is a particular, if not essential, characteristic of a Chablis or a young Moselle.
 
Straw-Yellow a pleasant lively colour common to the majority of white wines, particularly the drier ones. In Burgundy, Meursaults tend to be more yellow than the Montrachets, and in Alsace, Traminers more yellow than Rieslings.
 
Yellow-Gold - quite a normal colour for any white wine but most frequently seen in the sweeter varieties such as Sauternes and hocks of beerenauslese quality.
 
Gold - generally indicates either a more lusciously sweet wine, or one with considerable bottle age (for example a white burgundy, usually pale straw when young, will develop a golden sheen after about six years in bottle).
 
Yellow-Brown or Old Gold - the colour of many dessert wines, fortified ones in particular. However a brown tinge in a white table wine indicates considerable bottle age, over-maturity or even oxidation. Many white burgundies will take on an un- healthy brown tinge after about twelve years in bottle; yet in fine Sauternes may not develop it for thirty years or more.
 
Maderised - this word is used to describe the appearance and condition of definite over-maturity and/or oxidation.
 
Brown - probably well past drinking (unless of course it is it sherry of that name or the tawny brown of an old wood port).
 
(iii) Rosé Wines
 
Wines described as rosé can vary enormously in colour and depth. Each district has its own style, depending on the type of grape used and on the method of making. The colour of a rosé is half its charm. A rosé wine is normally drunk young, for if it was allowed to age it would lose its freshness of colour and taste. There are exceptions: some begin life the colour of onion skin, a characteristic of those wines appropriately termed Pelure d 'Oignon or Vin Gris.
 
Rosé - the perfect rosé should not look like a watered-down red wine, nor should it support an excess of orange or purple. It
 
191  
 
should be positive, clear and appealing—for the colour is its greatest attraction.
 
Orange - pure orange is not a desirable hue although a pleasant orange/pink is quite normal and characteristic of many rosés from the Loire and elsewhere.
 
Pink - a self-descriptive hue. Any suspicion of a blue tinge indicates unhealthiness, probably from bad fining or metallic contamination.
 
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THE LANGUAGE OF WINETASTING
 
from
 
The Essential Guide to Wine, Robert Joseph, Tesco, 1990, pp 46/47
 
The headings are main descriptors. Bold text in black is original. Additional text in blue highlights subsidiary descriptors.
 
Many of the main descriptors refer to specific wines.
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Acetic
 
Vinegary - the wine has been got at by bacteria.
 
 
Acidity
 
The essential natural component which gives wine freshness and zing and prevents it from cloying.
 
 
Aggressive
 
Over-tannic or over-acidic.
 
 
Alcoholic
 
Over-alcoholic wine tastes hot', burns the palate.
 
 
Almond
 
Bitter almond can announce Tocai from Italy.
 
 
Aniseed
 
Found in red Burgundy and - to a lesser extent - Bordeaux and some Northern Italian whites.
 
 
Apple
 
A smell often found in young white wines, from the Bramley freshness of Vinho Verde, young Loire, Chardonnay and English wines, through the ripe Cox's of more mature white Burgundies, Champagne and some white Bordeaux. Stewed or baked apple can be a sure sign of Riesling. Unripe apple is often a sign that a wine has not undergone its malolactic fermentation.
 
 
Apricot
 
Common in the white Rhônes of Condrieu and Château-Grillet (made from the Viognier grape) and in wine from botrytis-affected grapes.
 
 
Aromatic
 
Often associated with wines from the Gewurztraminer and Muscat.
 
 
Artificial
 
Also Contrived, Confected. Used to describe wines whose taste appears to have been created chemically.
 
 
Attack
 
The quality in a wine which makes you Sit up and take notice.
 
 
Attenuated
 
Thin, drawn out; often associated with tired wines.
 
 
Austere
 
A wine difficult to approach, with fruit not obvious. Wait for the flavour to open out in the mouth.
 
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Backward
 
Not as developed as its age would lead you to expect.
 
 
Bad eggs
 
Presence of hydrogen sulphide, usually a result of faulty cellaring or winemaking.
 
 
Baked
 
Like hot, sunned earth. Common in New World wines.
 
 
Balance
 
A balanced wine has its fruitiness, acidity, alcohol and tannin (for reds) in pleasant harmony. Balance may develop with age.
 
 
Banana
 
A smell usually associated with young wine, fermented at low temperatures and - in the case of reds - in an oxygen-free environment. A sign of maceration carbonique.
 
 
Beefy
 
Big, hearty, meaty wine.
 
 
Beeswing
 
A skin which forms on certain old ports, leaving a characteristic residue in the glass.
 
 
Beetroot
 
One of the lesser characteristics of the Pinot family.
 
 
Big
 
Mouth-filling, full-flavoured, possibly strongly alcoholic.
 
 
Biscuity
 
Often used to describe the bouquet of Champagne.
 
 
Bite
 
High acidity, good in young wine.
 
 
Blackcurrant
 
Found in Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir wines.
 
 
Blowsy
 
Exaggeratedly fruity, lacking bite.
 
 
Body
 
A full-bodied wine fills the mouth with flavour.
 
 
Bottle Sick
 
Newly-bottled wines may take some time (sometimes months) to recover from the shock of air-contact and sulphuring at bottling.
 
 
Bottle Stink
 
Wines which have just been opened may have a musty smell - bottle stink which disappears in the glass.
 
 
Bouquet
 
Smell of a wine with bottle-age.
 
 
Breathing
 
Opening a red wine prior to serving to allow slight oxidation. Can enhance nose and flavours.
 
 
Butter
 
A richness of aroma and texture found in mature Chardonnay.
 
 

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Caramel
 
A buttery toffee smell in wines like Madeira.
 
 
Cassis
 
Literally, blackcurrant; used when the sensation is of an intense, heady syrup rather than the fresh fruit.
 
 
Cat's Pee
 
The pungent smell of Sauvignon Blanc.
 
 
Cedar
 
An aroma of oak-aged claret.
 
 
Chaptalised
 
Chaptalisation is the process of adding sugar to fermenting must to increase the alcoholic strength. If overdone, a wine tastes hot.
 
 
Cherry
 
A characteristic of Beaujolais - particularly Morgon.
 
 
Chocolate
 
For some people, a sure sign of the Pinot Noir grape.
 
 
Cigar-box
 
See cedar.
 
 
Closed
 
Has yet to show its quality.
 
 
Cloudy
 
A sign of a faulty wine.
 
 
Cloying
 
A sickly taste, sweetness without acidity.
 
 
Clumsy
 
An unbalanced wine.
 
 
Coarse
 
Rough-tasting wine.
 
 
Coffee
 
Special characteristic of old, great Burgundy.
 
 
Commercial
 
Light, drinkable, undemanding wine.
 
 
Complex
 
Having a diverse, well-blended mixture of smells and flavours.
 
 
Cooked
 
A 'warm' stewed-fruit flavour - may suggest the use of grape concentrate.
 
 
Corked
 
A wine spoiled by a bad cork has a musty smell and flavour.
 
 
Crisp
 
Fresh, lively, with good acidity. Crust Deposit thrown by a mature port.
 
 
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Depth
 
Wine with depth fills the mouth with lingering flavour.
 
 
Dirty
 
Badly made wine can taste unclean.
 
 
Dirty Socks
 
Cheesy sourness accompanying badly-made white wine.
 
 
Dry
 
Having no obvious sweetness.
 
 
Dried out
 
A wine which has lost its fruit as it has aged.
 
 
Dumb
 
No apparent smell.
 
 
Dusty
 
Sometimes used to describe tannic Bordeaux - literally the 'dusty' smell of an attic.
 
 
Earthy
 
Not as unpleasant as it sounds - an 'earthy' flavour can characterise certain fine Burgundy.
 
 
Eggy
 
Carelessly-handled sulphur can produce an eggy smell.
 
 
Elegant
 
Restrained, classy.
 
 
Esters
 
Sweet-smelling, often fruity compounds.
 
 
Eucalyptus
 
A flavour and smell found in certain clarets (e.g. Château Latour), Californian Cabernet Sauvignon (Martha's Vineyard), Italian and Australian wines and (very occasionally) Burgundy.
 
 
Extract
 
The concentration of the grape's flavours in a wine.
 
 
Farmyard
 
A good sign of pungent young Burgundian Pinot Noir.
 
 
Fat
 
Used to describe mouth-filling white Burgundy, for example.
 
 
Finesse
 
Understated, classy.
 
 
Finish
 
How a wine's flavour ends in the mouth. Can be 'long' or 'short'.
 
 
 
Flabby
 
Lacking balancing acidity.
 
 
 
Flat
 
Short of acidity and fruit.
 
 
Flinty/Gunflint
 
'Stonily' crisp, used of whites; Pouilly Fumé, for example.
 
 
Flor
 
A yeast film which grows on top of the fermenting must of fino sherry.
 
 
Forward
 
A precocious wine showing its qualities earlier than expected.
 
 
 
Foxy
 
A peculiar 'wild' smell found in labrusca grapes and wine in the U.S.
 
 
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Gamey
 
Used of mature Burgundy, Rhbne Syrah and Australian Shiraz. It's a smell that combines meat and spice.
 
 
 
Generous
 
Big, mouthfilling, round. Geraniums. The smell of the leaves of this flower indicates the presence of an unwelcome micro-organism formed during fermentation.
 
 
 
Glycerine
 
The 'fatty' constituent in some wines, making them taste richer - the 'legs' which flow down the inside of the glass.
 
 
Gooseberry
 
The smell of Sauvignon, especially Loire and New Zealand. Grapey It's surprising how rare this flavour is: Muscat and Riesling are often grapey; so is good Beaujolais.
 
 
Grassy
 
 'Green' smell of young wine, esp. Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
 
 
Green Pepper
 
Can be the sign of Cabernet Sauvignon - in Bordeaux, or indeed anywhere else.
 
 
Grip
 
Firm wine has 'grip'. Essential to some styles.
 
 
Gris
 
Very pale pink.
 
 
Hazelnut
 
Along with toasted almonds, can indicate rich maturing Chardonnay. Herbaceous Think of a cross between grass and flowers - 'planty'.
 
 
Herby
 
Some wines from the south-west of France, as well as from Italy, can smell positively herby - almost like a pizza, fresh from the grill.
 
 
Hollow
 
Lacking depth and roundness.
 
 
Honey
 
An obvious description for most of the great sweet white wines of the world, but also a characteristic - in its richness rather than its sweetness - of some mature white Burgundy and much Chenin Blanc from the Loire.
 
 
Hot
 
Used to describe over-chaptalised, over-alcoholic wine.
 
 
Iodine
 
A smell and taste sometimes encountered in wines made from grapes grown close to the sea.
 
 
Jammy
 
A jammy fruit smell often signifies red wines from hot countries.
 
 
   

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Lanolin
 
Some white wines have an oily softness reminiscent of lanolin.
 
 
Legs
 
The visible evidence of glycerine in a wine, these are the 'tears' that run down the glass's side after swirling.
 
 
Lemon
 
'New-style' Spanish white wines are recognisable by their lemony smell and taste. Other young whites may similarly display a lemony freshness.
 
 
Length
 
The time the flavour stays in the mouth.
 
 
Liquorice
 
Encountered in all sorts of wine - from claret and port to Burgundy.
 
 
Lychees
 
Common in wines made from the GewUrztraminer grape.
 
 
Maderised The rancio character of heat- induced oxidation.
 
 
Malic Acid
 
The component of wine converted by malolactic fermentation into softer lactic acid. Smells like green apples in young white wines.
 
 
Meaty
 
A wine to get your teeth into - like a good Châteauneuf or Australian Shiraz.
 
 
Mellow
 
Soft and mature.
 
                                                                                                                                                                 To Contents here To Contents here 
Mercaptans
 
A smell of rotten eggs or burnt rubber, stemming from the mishandling of sulphur dioxide.
Metallic
 
Taste/smell arising from the use of poor equipment.
 
 
Mint
 
Often found in Cabernet Sauvignons.
 
 
Mouldy
 
Taste/smell arising from rotten grapes, poor winemaking or a bad cork.
 
 
Mouth-puckering
 
Young, tannic or over-acidic wine has this effect.
 
 
Mulberry
 
The ripe berry flavour of some Pomerol.
 
 
Mushroom
 
Can indicate quality reds, but also a wine past its prime.
 
 
Nose
 
The smell of a wine.
 
 
Nutty
 
Esp. of Chardonnay and sherry.
 
Oaky
 
In moderation, pleasant, like vanilla. Esp. New World wines and Rioja.
Old Socks (Clean)
 
A promising sign of young white Burgundy, particularly Chablis.
 
 
Oxidised
 
If a table wine looks and smells of sherry, it's oxidised - a diagnosis confirmed by its colour: brown for red wines, deep yellow for whites.
 
 
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Palate The flavour, and what you taste it with.
 
 
Pear drops
 
Smell which is usually the mark of a very young wine.
 
 
Pepper
 
Black, not green: the sign of the Grenache or Syrah in the Rhône.
 
 
Pétillant
 
Slight sparkle or spritz.
 
 
Petrol
 
A desirable aroma of mature Riesling.
 
 
Pine
 
Aroma found in retsina.
 
 
Plum
 
Esp. clarets, Rioja and Burgundy.
 
 
Quaffing, quaffable
 
Everyday wine, usually soft, fruity and undemanding.
 
 
Rancio
 
Rich, distinctive flavour of certain wines, particularly southern French vins doux naturels stored in barrels exposed to heat.
 
 
Raspberry
 
Aroma associated with Syrah, Gamay and much Pinot Noir.
 
 
Residual sugar
 
The natural grape sugar left in a wine which has not been fermented into alcohol.
 
 
Ripe
 
Grapes were fully ripe when picked.
 
 
Robust
 
Solid, full-bodied.
 
 
Rose
 
Often the choicest clarets, some cru Beaujolais and Côte de Beaune.
 
 
Rough
 
Unbalanced and coarse.
 
 
Round
Smooth and harmonious.
 
 
Rubber
 
Some wines can smell rubbery, though not unpleasant. This is an aroma often associated with red wines from South Africa, Beaujolais, Californian Zinfandel and American Pinot Noir.
 
 
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Salt
 
A salty tang, almost like iodine, associated with manzanilla sherry.
 
 
Sediment
 
Precipitation of tannins in red wine due to ageing.
 
 
Short
 
Wine with a short finish.
 
 
Silky
 
Exceptionally smooth.
 
 
Smoke
 
The most famous smoky wine is Pouilly Blanc Fume, made from the Sauvignon Blanc. Alsace Tokay-Pinot Gris, Corsican rosés, some Bordeaux, and Syrah from the Rhône may also be smoky.
 
 
Sorbic Acid
 
Preservative in wine.
 
 
Spicy
Wines from the Rhône, made from a variety of different grapes, can be positively spicy. Also whites from the Gewiirztraminer.
 
 
Sprltz
 
Slight sparkle. Or faint fizz. Similar to pétillant.
 
 
Stalky or Stemmy.
 
 
The flavour of the stem rather than of the juice.
 
 
Steely
 
Attractively crisp, with a firm backbone of acidity.
 
 
Strawberry
 
The taste of some Gamay, Pinot Noir and Rioja.
 
 
Structure
 
Wine with good structure has, or will have, all its elements in harmony.
 
 
Sulphur
 
The antiseptic used to protect wine from bacteria. Its throat-tickling aroma should disappear after the wine has been swirled in the glass for a moment, or left in the open bottle for a while. Often, however, it is 'locked in' and prevents the wine from ever being pleasant.
 
 

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Tannin
 
The mouth-puckering ingredient in red wine. Softens with age.
 
 
Tobacco
 
Like cigar box, found in oak-aged reds, especially clarets.
 
 
Toffee
 
Often indicates the presence of the Merlot grape in red Bordeaux.
 
 
 
Truffles
 
Mushroom and vegetal aromas, especially in red wines.
 
 
Vanilla
 
Aromas of wines matured in American oak casks; also white Burgundy and oak-aged Rioja.
 
 
Vegetal
 
Earthy, wet leaf smell; cabbagey, often of big Italian red wines.
 
 
Violets
 
Floral red Burgundies and Chiantis can smell intensely of violets.
 
 
Volatile
 
In an unstable - volatile - wine, acids evaporate from the surface giving vinegary, sometimes 'greasy' smells.
 
 
Yeast
 
Like newly baked bread; smell found in Champagne. Muscadet sur lie and some nuttily rich white wines.
 
     
  


      
     Words to describe a wine   From - World of Food and Wine source here          
 To Contents here    

 
DLs  
This is not a wine describing dictionary. I hope the words listed below will help you to write more accurate tasting notes or, at least, to understand better those professional descriptions of wine you thought obscure before.

[[Items with […] and in italics are additional. Items in italics are terms used but not listed. The list has been edited to give all terms an alphabetical location]]
 
Acetic is that vinegar-like taste or smell born from exposure to air.

Acidic
is a wine with too much acid. Wines contain acids, which vary in concentration.

Acidic
means a wine has too much acidity; this is seen as a fault. All wines need some acidity to keep the balance, but too much and the wine tastes sour.

aftertaste – see Long

Ageworthy
is a term applied to wines which will benefit from further maturation in the bottle. Typical examples are either young reds with powerful tannins or very sweet young whites. Acidity can also be a factor.

Aggresive
would be a wine acidic enough to make your gums tingle or with tannins in excess, so much that it would make the back of your throat feel dry.

Ample
would describe a wine that feels full and generous in your mouth.

apple – see Green

Aromatic
will be applied to a wine with plenty more of perfumed, fruity scents -which normally you can appreciate before actually tasting the wine- than average. Grape varieties source of aromatic wines include Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Gewurztraminer, and the sweet Muscat.

Astringent
refers to the rough, rasping feel some wines have, usually caused by tannins, acid or  both. The sensation of a dry mouth is strong -tannins produce this, a strong black tea would leave a similar sensation. High tannin content produces dry, puckering effect.

Austere
would be a wine without fruity flavors and with bitter tannins, which leave a rough, raspy feeling, high acidity, or both.

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Balanced
- same as rounded - said of a wine it means all its elements are in perfect harmony and none stands out. Which elements? We are talking of the relative degree of acidity, alcohol, fruity quality, tannins, sugar, extract, and other characterisics. [See also – Rounded]

Big
is a wine that makes a major impression, probably full-bodied, or a wine with intense aroma or plenty of flavor. To do so, the wine is likely to contain high levels of fruit, tannins, alcohol, or a blend of these. Everything in abundance, tannins, alcohol, acid and fruit flavors, a powerful wine.

Bitter
means harsh, unpleasant taste –perceived at the back of the tongue- typically caused by an excess of tannins in the wine. Not a trait to covet, with the exception of some red Italian wines, where some bitterness is a highly sought-after characteristic.

buttery - see Oaky

Blockbuster
equals to extraordinarily big - in the sense big is applied to wines.  Hint: compare the feel of the wine to that of water.

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Body
refers, talking about wine, to the feeling in the mouth, this weighty feeling is influenced by the alcohol and extracts contained in the wine. Wines are considered light, medium, or full-bodied.

Bold
is a wine that almost comes out of the bottle on its own, strong, very distinct aroma and flavor, easy to make out its different components.

bouquet
- wine has bouquet if it is complex of aromas, usually from aging.

Bright
could be applied to a wine with vivid color or intense aromas and flavors.

blurred - see Dull

buttered toast – see Toasty

Buttery
is a smell and taste that comes often to wines matured in oak barrels.

capsicum – see Grassy

cedary
- When a wine is described as cedary it has flavors or aromas that remind of the smell of cedar wood.

Character
in a wine, as it would be in people, means personality, substance and integrity.

cheerful – see Fruity

chewy
- When a wine has strong flavor and plenty of tannin, but not that much that can be named as aggresive, you can call it chewy.

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Clean
is said of a wine with no faults regarding aroma or flavor.

Complex
is a wine with many kinds of aromas and flavors –think of several fruity flavors, and hints of other traits such as vanilla or other spices- and many layers of flavor, as soon as you decipher one flavor, you discover a new sensation. Good wines are usually complex; great wines even more so. Complexity develops typically through aging, this maturing process lets more flavors to come out. [See also – Simple]

Concentrated
implies an intense taste and powerful feeling. That would be a wine with plenty of tannin, sugar, flavor and color.

Cooked
is a wine with a prunish flavor, usually from excessive heat.

Corked
is spoiled wine, smelling of cork, usually from cracked or seeping cork allowing introduction of air or fungi.

Crisp
, flinty, a wine with a perceptible acid feeling, but in the good, refreshing sense. Applied to white wines with a clean, fresh flavor -and good acidity, we said.

damp earth - taste of damp earth can be nice – see earthy

dead weight in your mouth – see Heavy

Deep
indicates a serious wine in which flavor seems to develop in many levels - doesn't this remind of complexity? - and where different hints of flavor, or aroma, surface at various stages of the tasting. Deep usually goes hand in hand with complex, subtle and rich.

delicate expression – see Elegant

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Dry
, definitely not sweet, not at all. The wine does not have sugar or any sweetness that can be appreciated. Some dry wines with very ripe, fruity flavors or new oak flavors occasionally look like sweet. Some red wines that have spent too long in barrel or bottle, therefore losing their fruity flavor, are "dried-out." Driest of Champagnes: brut.

dry-throat tannins – see Aggressive

Dull
, a wine which appears blurred, or has indistinguishable aromas and flavors, not realy defined. Frequently consequence of an excesive contact with oxygen.

dusty
- Some red wines have an earthy, dusty taste. This is good if accompanied with good fruit flavor.

earthy
- In simple wines, the smell and taste of damp earth can be nice. These are earthy wines.

Easy-drinking
, meaning a more or less simple wine that can be enjoyed as it is, without thinking much about it; probably fruity, low in tannin, if red, and in alcohol content.

elegant
- The word elegant would describe an extremely pleasant to drink wine, with good quality, balance, a delicate expression and not excessively fruity. A wine with finesse.

Extract
- The extract is what gives body to the wine. It would include all the solid matter, either tannins, sugars, or coloring and flavoring chemicals.

Fat
or rich and unctuous, full bodied.

finesse
If a wine has finesse, it is elegant; and a wine described as firm, is balanced, well defined. Just the opposite of flabby.

firm – see finesse and also Steel


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Flabby
or flaccid are negative terms usually applied to a wine with low acidity, and for that reason unbalanced. It might mean a syrupy, to the point of sickening sweet, taste; definitely feeble.

flaccid- see Flabby

flavor layers – see Complex and also - Simple

flavor, unidimensional – see Simple

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A fleshy wine would feel thick, almost solid in texture, when drinking it --due to high concentration of fruit and extract.

Focused
in a wine means well defined, flavors and aromas are in place and can be identified.

fresh
 - A wine labeled fresh would leave a crisp, slightly acidic - in a pleasant, refreshing way - impression. Nine out of ten times this term is applied to young white wines with plenty of cheerful fruit flavors and the correct level of acidity.

A fruity wine, with plenty of pleasing fruit flavors, will have certain sweetness and be generally appealing. Particular fruits can be identified: aroma or flavor of apples, berries, citrus, currants, pears, etc. [See also - Piercing ]

full
- A heavy sensation in the mouth is one sign of a wine described as full. I have seen the term grassy often applied to New Zealand wines.

full bodied – see Fat

full-body – see Warm

generous – see Ample

gooseberry – see Green

Grassy means taste and aroma of fresh cut grass, some times redefined as capsicum, gooseberry or lime zest.

Green
could mean too young and immature -which is not good, or wine made from unripe grapes, producing tart flavor. If green is followed by gooseberry or apple flavors it would refer to the refreshing, zesty flavors found in some white wines -definitely good. Some red wines grown in cool climates also sport a subtle flavor of green leaves -also good.

green leaves – see Green

gums tingle – see Aggressive

A hard wine is more than firm and less than aggressive in the tannins-red wine or acidity-white wine scales.

A harsh wine is when it is deficient in the subtlety department; it would feel coarse, rough when you taste it. It might be too acidic or high in tannins.

Heavy
means the wine is tough to drink, feeling like a dead weight in your mouth. It is usually applied to full-bodied red wines with plenty of tannins –whit wines usually feel light by their own nature- and it may be a sign of a wine that would benefit from more time in the bottle.

Herbal is the wine with aromas suggestive of fresh herbs, dried herbs or specific herbs.

    
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Honeyed
, when the wine has a smell or taste reminiscent of honey, characteristic of wines affected by 'noble rot' (Botrytis cinerea).

integrity - personality, substance and integrity – see Character

jammy
- A red wine presenting the cooked flavor of fruit preserve - or jam - is said to be jammy.

larger than life – see Powerful

lean – see Steel

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Lean
, stringy or thin, all these words refer to a wine with high acidity and low flavor.

life, larger than – see Powerful

A light wine has low acidity and little in the matter of body.

lime zest – see Grassy

A long wine has a lingering aftertaste.

Madeirized
refers to oxidized wine, with a brownish color and stale odor. After the island of Madeira where wine is intentionally produced in open air vats.

Mature
usually means a wine is ready to drink after having past [passed] the required time in bottle. In the same tune, over-mature would be saying "past its best."

Meaty
- Unbelievable, but a few wines actually taste of meat. Meaty wines are likely reds, with stout and dense flavors.

Mineral
flavors are common in German wines and those of the Loire Valley, France. Imagine a taste of rock. [Inviting?]

Neutral
, neither fish nor meat, little flavor or difficult to make it out. [This might be confusing for non-native English speakers. The expression “Neither fish nor fowl.” means – not one or the other – it’s nothing to do with whether the wine is suitable for fish or meat]

Noble
wines are made from noble grapes, a classification of grapes that produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Riesling.

'noble rot' – see Honeyed

nose - A wine gets to the nose when it has aroma. Off-nose refers to odors indicating defect.

Nutty
wines are not mad, they just have a nutlike aroma, such as found in sherry or aged whites.
oak flavors – see Dry

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An oaky -or oakey- wine has characteristics derived from oak, suggesting it has spent time in oak barrels; it feels toasty, smoky, buttery, smells charred, has vanilla flavors, or has a higher tannin content it would have otherwise. It could be used as a negative term when oak flavors rule over other flavors in a wine, as oak flavors are only desirable if they are balanced by fruit. In this case, and if we are talking about a young, good quality wine, it might loose some oakiness spending some years in bottle.

Off-nose
see Nose

Oxidized
is a wine spoiled from over-exposure to air.

personality  – see Character

Petrol
flavors are similar to Mineral but in this case is associated to mature wines from Riesling and it is considered positive.

perfumed – see Aromatic

Piercing
if having lively fruit flavors - positive - or high acidity - not so.

A powerful wine would possess and abundance of everything: high levels of extract, alcohol, or both. It feels big, even larger than life. Powerful can be an unwanted characteristic in some wines.

prunish flavor – see Cooked

Racy wine is lively, spirited, crisp and fresh; as such it is noticeably acid but it is stimulating and refreshing. Racy is often associated
with German wines.

rasping - see Astringent 

refreshing – see Green - Racy

Rich wine feels intense, concentrated, deep… full flavor vibrating in your mouth. Rich may be used to define a slightly sweet wine. A wine can have too much of a good thing and become too rich, too sweet.

   
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Ripe
is a wine made from well ripened grapes, with good fruit flavors; it might even have hints of fruits from warm climates - taste more of pineapple than apple. It might feel sweet even if does not have sugar.

rock – see Mineral

Rounded
, almost equivalent to balanced [q.v.], is a wine with all elements in place, complete. Satisfying flavors, no surprises or sudden sharpness.

serious wine – see Deep

sharpness - see Rounded

Simple
is the wine lacking in complexity, no layers, plain aroma and unidimensional flavor. This is expected of everyday wine - table wine - but it is a terrible fault in an expensive wine.

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smoky - see Oaky

Smooth
or soft, a qualifier applied to red wines with mild tannins or low acidity whites, easy to drink wines both of them.

sour- see Acidic

Sparkling
wines contain carbonation, such as does champagne.

Spicy
is applied to Australian wines sporting a taste of cinnamon, cloves or pepper, and also to Gewürztraminer wines usually full of exotic aromas and flavors.

Steel
flavor is found in a wine firm and lean with a good acidity.

Stony
flavors are similar to the mineral ones, minus the thrill.

stout and dense flavours – see Meaty

stringy
 – see Lean

Structured
is a red wine with fruit flavors well supported by the tannins or a white where fruit flavors stand up to the acidity.

Substance  – see Character

Subtle
is usually associated to finesse or an elegant wine, the fragrances or flavors are hinted, with plenty of notes in them -posirive. It has been applied to wines lacking fruit flavors - negative. [see Harsh]

Sugar – see Balanced

Sulphurized
is when there is a noticeable sulphur flavor. Sulphur is an anti-oxidant introduced in some wines in small amounts. Fermentation creates minute amounts naturally.

A supple wine, like a supple body, is both vigorous and smooth. This refers to texture rather than taste.

Sweet
either a wine with plenty of sugar, or plenty of rich and ripe fruit flavors. There might be residual sugar from fermentation, from grape sugar incompletely converted to alcohol.

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tangy – see Warm

Tannic
is a wine with an abundance of tannins - the chemicals coloring skins and stems in the grapes. This is not bad if balanced by fruit. Sometimes the wine is simply calling for extra maturation.

Tart
apples have a sharp, unripe, acid taste, so does tart wine.

thick – see Fleshy

thin
– see Lean

thrill, minus the – see Stony

Toasty
is one of the flavors resulting of oak ageing, like the flavor of a buttered toast.

toasty - see Oaky

too much of a good thing – see Rich

tough to drink – see Heavy

unctuous
[see Fat]

An up front wine is uncomplicated, easy to drink; probably full of simple fruity flavors.

warm
- Wines with excess of alcohol can certainly make you feel warm, but the term is also applied to some red wines with a full-body, tangy flavor and deep, velvety color.

weighty feeling – see Body

wine scales – see Hard

Woody
is having the aroma or taste of aging barrels.

Yeasty
means smelling similar to bread. Yeasts are introduced to carry out fermentation and can be incompletely removed.

zesty – see Green
       
  




 
 
Adrienne Lehrer produced a list relating to “ .. a culinary set of descriptors …”.
 
 
Fruits:
 
plum, blueberry, currant, apple, pear, lychee, pomegranate, lemon, raspberry, coconut, mango, apricot, cranberry, melon, Medjool dates
 
 
Vegetables:
 
red bell pepper, olive, rhubarb, cabbage, green beans
 
 
Herbs and spices:
 
nutmeg, clove, mint, cinnamon, vanilla, anise, dill, cayenne, oregano, basil, tarragon, ginger, sage, Indian spices, Oriental spices
 
 
Flowers:
 
rose, lemon blossom, violet, wild flowers
 
 
Other plants:
 
grass, moss, weedy, cedar, bark, briar
 
 
Sweets:
 
chocolate, caramel, butterscotch, honey, cherry candy, licorice, chocolate cake, toffee, jam, mousse au chocolat
 
 
Bread and dough:
 
pie crust, yeast bread dough, cookie-like, toast biscuit, oatmeal biscuit, baking bread, vanilla wafers
 
 
Beverages:
 
coffee, green tea, cherry cola, bourbon
 
 
 
Nuts:

walnut, hazelnut
 
Minerals:

earthy, flinty, chalky, steely, stone
 
 
 
Other:
 
grilled meat, game, cigar box, petrol, tar, wild mushroom, black/ white truffles, cereal, lead pencil, leather, smoky

Source

Lehrer, Adrienne. 2001.  "Wine and Conversation; A new look." Linguistics Symposium, San Francisco.  Published in her book Wine & Conversation, OUP, 2009, 2nd edtn , p45.
 
 
 
 
 To Contents here      DLs    










 
Wine Book -

Colours 
                                                                                                                                                  
 
   

White - amber, gold, green-tinged. straw, yellow

Red - garnet, mahogany, purple, red-brown, ruby

Rosé - deep rose, light rose, onion skin, partridge eye

 

Wine terms


Clarity                

Brilliant
Clear
Cloudy
Dull
























































Bouquet/taste 
     
 
Acetic
Alcoholic
Almondy
Astringent
Bitter
Caramel
Corky
Dusty
Earthy
Flowery
Fruity
Grassy
Lingering
Long
Metallic
Musty
Nutty
Oaky
Piquant
Punqent
Short
Sour
Spicy
Tannic
Tart
Toasty

































Body                        
 
Fat
Full-Bodied
Heavy
Lean
Light
Massive
Medium
Thin
Viscous

















































Balance             
 
Awkward
Harmonious
Unbalanced
Well-Balanced























































General   
            
 
Aromatic
Assertive,
Austere,
Big
Bland
Bright
Clean
Closed-In
Crisp
Delicate,
Tense
Dull
Elegant
ExotIc
Expensive
Fragrant
Fresh
Generous
Hearty
Immature
Lush
Mature
Mellow
Overripe
Powerful
Refreshing
Rich
Robust
Rough
Sharp
Smooth
Supple
Unctuous
Ve1vety
Vigorous























 
 

 
   


 
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    ............................................... 
  Wine-box 
      flavour    
                            
   
Wine-box flavour

This extract from New Scientist identifies the unwanted "green vegetable" taste and the "ladybug taint".

13 June 2009, p 15



















 
 
     
 
To Contents here 

                                                                                                                                                          
 
This is the Wiki list from Column 7 in the Descriptors Table here.  

You can read it in its original format here.  Subsidiary descriptors used are not listed in the table above.


Even more descriptors are included an it is a source in which some of them refer to specific wines.  

A-C
  • Accessible A wine that is easy to drink without an overwhelming sense of tannin, acidity or extract.
  • Acidic A wine with a noticeable sense of acidity.[2]
  • Aftertaste A term for the taste left on the palate after wine has been swallowed. "Finish" is a synonym.
  • Aggressive A wine with harsh and pronounced flavors. The opposite of a wine described as "smooth" or "soft"
  • Alcoholic A wine that has an out of balanced presence of too much alcohol.
  • Aroma The smell of a wine. The term is generally applied to younger wines, while the term Bouquet is reserved for more aged wines.
  • Astringent An overly tannic white wine.[3]
  • Austere A wine that is dominated by harsh acidity or tannin and is lacking the fruit needed to balance those components.
  • Autolytic Aroma of "yeasty" or acacia-like floweriness commonly associated with wines that have been aged sur lie.
  • Baked A wine with a high alcohol content that gives the perception of stewed or baked fruit flavors. May indicate a wine from grapes that were exposed to the heat of the sun after harvesting.
  • Balanced A wine that incorporates all its main components—tannins, acid, sweetness, and alcohol—in a manner where no one single component stands out.[4]
  • Big A wine with intense flavor, or high in alcohol.[5]
  • Biscuity A wine descriptor often associated with Pinot noir dominated-Champagne. It is sense of yeasty or bread dough aroma and flavors.
  • Bite A firm and distinctive perception of tannins or acidity. This can be a positive or negative attribute depending on whether the overall perception of the wine is balanced.
  • Bitter An unpleasant perception of tannins.
  • Blowzy An exaggerated fruity aroma. Commonly associated with lower quality fruity wines.
  • Body The sense of alcohol in the wine and the sense of feeling in the mouth.[3]
  • Bouquet (English pronunciation: /buːˈkeɪ/) The layers of smells and aromas perceived in a wine.[3]
  • Bright When describing the visual appearance of the wine, it refers to high clarity, very low levels of suspended solids. When describing fruit flavors, it refers to noticeable acidity and vivid intensity.
  • Buttery A wine that has gone through malolactic fermentation and has a rich, creamy mouthfeel with flavors reminiscent of butter.
  •  
  •  
  • Cassis The French term for the flavors associated with black currant. In wine tasting, the use of cassis over black currant typically denotes a more concentrated, richer flavor.
  • Cedarwood A collective term used to describe the woodsy aroma of a wine that has been treated with oak.
  • Charming A subjective term used to describe a wine with a range of pleasing properties but nothing that stands out in an obvious fashion.
  • Cheesy An aroma element characteristic of aged Champagne that develops after an extended period of aging. It is associated with the aroma of aged, nutty cheeses such as gouda and is caused by a small amount of butyric acid that is created during fermentation and later develops into an ester known as ethyl butyrate.
  • Chewy The sense of tannins that is not overwhelming. It is not necessarily a negative attribute for wine. [3]
  • Chocolaty A term most often used of rich red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot noir that describes the flavors and mouthfeel associated with chocolate--typically dark.
  • Cigar-box An term used to describe the tobacco aromas derived from oak influence.
  • Citrous A wine with the aromas and flavor from the citrus family of fruits.
  • Classic A subjective term used to denote a wine of exceptional quality that display the typicity of its varietal(s), displays layers of complexity and is very well balanced.
  • Clean A wine that is not demonstrating any obvious faults or unwanted aromas and flavors.
  • Clear A wine with no visible particulate matter.
  • Closed A wine that is not very aromatic.[3]
  • Cloves An aroma associated with oak treatment that gives the perception of cloves. It is caused by the creation of eugenic acid by the toasting of the oak barrels.
  • Cloying A wine with a sticky or sickly sweet character that is not balanced with acidity.
  • Coarse A term for a wine with a rough texture or mouthfeel. Usually applies the perception of tannins.
  • Coconut Aroma perception of coconut derived from treatment in American oak.
  • Compact Opposite of "open knit". A wine with a dense perception fruit that is balanced by the weight of tannins and acidity.
  • Complete Similar to the description of a "balanced wine" but more encompassing a wine that all the main components-acidity, alcohol, fruit and tannins-in long along with a pleasing mouthfeel and long finish.
  • Complex A wine that gives a perception of being multi-layered in terms of flavors and aromas.[6]
  • Concentrated Intense flavors.[3]
  • Concoction Usually a derogatory term used to refer to a wine that seems to have many different components that are "thrown together" rather than integrating into one cohesive profile.
  • Connected A sense of the wine's ability to relay its place of origin or terroir[7]
  • Cooked A term similar to "bake" where the fruit flavors of the wine seemed like they have been cooked, baked or stewed. It may also indicate that grape concentrate was adding to the must during fermentation.
  • Corked A tasting term for a wine that has cork taint
  • Creamy A term used to describe the perception of a warm, creamy mouthfeel. In sparkling wines, the sense of creaminess arises from a combination of the finesse of the mousse and the results of malolactic fermentation. The perception of creaminess is generally picked up at the back of the throat and through the finish of the wine.
  • Crisp A pleasing sense of acidity in the wine.[5]
  • Crust Sediment, generally potassium bitartrate, that adheres to the inside of a wine bottle
 D-H        To Contents here      DLs  
  • Definition A wine that not only is well balanced but also gives a clear expression of its grape variety or place of origin.
  • Delicate A term used similar to charm but more often relates to the more subtle notes of a wine.
  • Depth A term used to denote a wine with several layers of flavor. An aspect of complexity.
  • Dirty A wine with off flavors and aromas that most likely resulted from poor hygiene during the fermentation or bottling process
  • Dried up A wine that has lost some of its freshness or fruitiness due to extended aging.
  • Dry A wine that is lacking the perception of sweetness.[2]
  •  
  •  
  • Earthy This can mean a wine with aromas and flavor reminiscent of earth, such as forest floor or mushrooms. It can also refer to the drying impression felt on the palate caused by high levels of geosmin that occur naturally in grapes.
  • Easy A term that can be synonymous with "approachable" but more commonly refers to a wine that is simple and straightforward without much complexity but still enjoyable to drink.
  • Edgy A wine with a noticeably level of acidity that heightens the flavors on the palate. Maybe synonymous with "nervy"
  • Elegant A term to describe a wine that possess finesse with subtle flavors that are in balance.
  • Expansive A wine that is considered "big" but still accessible.
  • Expressive A wine with clearly projected aromas and flavors.[8]
  •  
  •  
  • Fallen over A wine that, at a relatively young age, has already gone past its peak (or optimal) drinking period and is rapidly declining in quality is said to have "fallen over".
  • Farmyard A generally more positive term than "Barnyard" note used to describe the earthy and vegetal undertones that some Chardonnay and Pinot noir develop after maturing in the bottle.
  • Fat A wine that is full in body and has a sense of viscosity.[5] A wine with too much fat that is not balanced by acidity is said to be "flabby" or "blowzy"
  • Feminine Describes a wine that emphasizes delicate flavors, silky textures and subtle aromas rather than strength, weight and intensity of fruit.
  • Finesse A very subjective term used to describe a wine of high quality that is well balanced.
  • Finish The sense and perception of the wine after swallowing.[5]`
  • Firm A stronger sense of tannins.[3]
  • Flabby A lacking sense of acidity.[5]
  • Flat In relation to sparkling wines, flat refers to a wine that has lost its effervescence. In all other wines the term is used interchangeably with "flabby" to denote a wine that is lacking acidity, particularly on the finish.
  • Fleshy A wine with a noticeable perception of fruit and extract.
  • Foxy A tasting term for the musty odor and flavor of wines made from Vitis labrusca grapes native to North America, usually a negative term.[9]
  • Fresh A positive perception of acidity.[3]
  • Fruit The perception of the grape characteristics and sense of body that is unique to the varietal.[3]
  • Full A term usually used in context of wine with heavy weight or body due to its alcohol content. It can also refer to a wine that is full in flavor and extract
  •  
  •  
  • Grapey A wine with the aromas and flavors reminiscent of grape flavoring—such as those associated with grape jelly. The Muscat family of grapes often produce wines that are described as "grapey".
  • Grassy A term used to describe an herbaceous or vegetal element of a wine—ranging from freshly mown lawn grass to lemon grass flavors.
  • Green Overly acidic wine. Typically used to describe a wine made from unripe fruit.[5]
  • Gutsy A wine with noticeable body, extract and fruit.
  •  
  •  
  • Hard Overly tannic wine.[3]
  • Harsh Similar to "coarse" but usually used in a more derogatory fashion to denote a wine that has unbalanced tannins and acidity.
  • Heavy A wine that is very alcoholic with too much sense of body.[5]
  • Herbaceous The herbal, vegetal aromas and flavors that maybe derived from varietal characteristics or decisions made in the winemaking process-such as harvesting under-ripened grapes or using aggressive extraction techniques for a red wine fermented in stainless steel.
  • Hollow A wine lacking the sense of fruit.[3]
  • Hot Overly alcoholic wine.[5]
 I-P   To Contents here       DLs   

  • Inky A term that may refer to a wine's dark coloring and opacity.
  •  
  •  
  • Jammy A wine that is rich in fruit but maybe lacking in tannins.
  •  
  •  
  • Lean The sense of acidity in the wine that lacks a perception of fruit.[3]
  • Leathery A red wine high in tannins, with a thick and soft taste.[10]
  • Legs The tracks of liquid that cling to the sides of a glass after the contents have been swirled. Often said to be related to the alcohol or glycerol content of a wine. Also called tears.
  • Lemony A term referring to the tangy acidity of a wine with fruit flavors reminiscent of lemons.
  • Lightstruck A tasting term for a wine that has had long exposure to Ultraviolet light causing "wet cardboard" type aroma and flavor.
  • Linalool The characteristic flowery-peach aroma associated with Muscat and Riesling wines. It derived from the chemical compound linalool.
  • Liquorice A term used to describe the concentrated flavor from rich sweet wines such as those of Monbazillac AOC which are produced by botrytized grapes.
  • Liveliness A term used to describe a wine with slight carbonation and fresh, bright acidity.
  • Luscious Similar to "voluptuous" but more commonly associated with sweet wines that have a rich, concentrated mouthfeel.
  •  
  •  
  • Mature A wine that has aged to its peak point of quality.[3]
  • Mean A wine without sufficient fruit to balance the tannins and/or acidity of the wine, making it unbalance and unpleasant to drink.
  • Meaty A wine with a rich, full body (and often pronounce tannins and extract) that gives the drinker the impression of being able to "chew" it.
  • Mellow A wine with a soft texture that is nearing the peak of its maturity.
  • Midpalate A tasting term for the feel and taste of a wine when held in the mouth.
  • Minerality A sense of mineral-ness in the wine, flavors of slate, shist, silex, etc.
  •  
  •  
  • Nervy A wine with a noticeable amount of acidity but is still balanced with the rest of the wine's components
  • Nose A tasting term for the aroma, smell or bouquet of a wine.
  •  
  •  
  • Oaky A wine with a noticeable perception of the effects of oak. This can include the sense of vanilla, sweet spices like nutmeg, a creamy body and a smoky or toasted flavor.[2]
  • Oily A generally full bodied wine with a viscous mouthfeel. If the wine is lacking acidity, this term maybe used in conjunction with flabby.
  • Opulent A rich tasting wine with a pleasing texture mouthfeel that is well balanced.
  • Oxidized A generally negative term describing a wine that has experienced too much exposure to oxidation. A wine that has been oxidized, is considered faulty and may exhibit sherry-like odors.
  • Oxidative Unlike "oxidized", this is generally a more positive term describing a wine that has experienced constrained exposure to oxidation over the course of its aging process. The aromas and flavors that develop as a wine oxidatively matures can range from nuttiness, biscuity and butteriness to more spicy notes.
  •  
  •  
  • Palate A tasting term for the feel and taste of a wine in the mouth.
  • Peak The point where a wine is at its most ideal drinking conditions for an individual taster. This is a very subjective determination as for some tasters a wine will be at its peak when the fruit is still fresh and young while for some tasters the peak will arrive when a wine has matured in flavor.
  • Peppery A wine with the aromas and flavors reminiscent of the fruit from the Piper family of plants such as black peppercorn associated with Syrah and Grenache based wine or the aroma of crushed white pepper associated with Gruner Veltliner.
  • Perfume A generally positively used to describe an aspect of a wine's aroma or bouquet.
  • Plummy A wine with the juicy, fresh fruit flavors of plum
  • Polished A wine that is very smooth to drink, with no roughness in texture and mouthfeel. It is also well balanced.
  • Powerful A wine with a high level of alcohol that is not excessively alcoholic.[3]
  • Prickly A wine with some slight residual carbonic gas, though not necessarily to the point of the wine being considered a sparkling wine. Some very young white wines (such as Vinho Verde) and dry rosé may be described as "prickly"
 R-Z    To Contents here       DLs     

  • Racy A wine with noticeable acidity that is well balanced with the other components of the wine.
  • Reticent A wine that is not exhibiting much aroma or bouquet characteristics perhaps due to its youth. It can be described as the sense that a wine is "holding back".
  • Rich A sense of sweetness in the wine that is not excessively sweet.[3]
  • Robust A term with similar connotations as "aggressive" except that "robust" is more commonly applied to older, mature wines while "aggressive" tends to describe younger wines.
  • Round A wine that has a good sense of body that is not overly tannic.[3]
  •  
  •  To Contents here 
  •  
  • Sassy A wine with bold, brash and audacious flavors.
  • Sharp A term normally used to describe the acidity of a wine though it can refer to the degree of bitterness derived from a wine's tannin.
  • Sherrylike A term used to describe a non-Sherry wine that exhibits oxidized aromas that may have been caused by excessive amounts of acetaldehyde.
  • Short A wine with well develop aromas and mouthfeel but has a finish that is little to non-existent due to the fruit quickly disappearing after swallowing.
  • Smokey A wine exhibiting the aromas and flavors of the various types of smoke, such as tobacco smoke, roasting fire smoke and a toasty smoke derived from oak influences.
  • Smooth A wine with a pleasing texture. Typically refers to a wine with soft tannins.[5]
  • Soft A wine that is not overly tannic.[3]
  • Soy Sauce A wine exhibiting the aroma of old Soy Sauce. Aged Bordeaux wines often exhibit such aroma.
  • Spicy A wine with aromas and flavors reminiscent of various spices such as black pepper and cinnamon. While this can be a characteristic of the grape varietal, many spicy notes are imparted from oak influences.
  • Stalky A woody, green herbaceous note in a wine.
  • Structure A term used to describe the solid components of a wine-acidity, sugar, density of fruit flavors and phenolic compounds such as tannins in relation to the overall balance and body of the wine.
  • Supple A wine that is not overly tannic.[3]
  • Sweet A wine with a noticeable sense of sugar levels.[2]
  •  
  •  
  • Tannic A wine with aggressive tannins.[2]
  • Tar A wine with aromas and flavors reminiscent of Tar. Barolo wines often exhibit such characteristic.
  • Tart A wine with high levels of acidity.[3]
  • Texture A tasting term for the mouthfeel of wine on the palate.
  • Thin A wine that is lacking body or fruit
  • Tight A wine with a significant presence of tannins that is restraining the other qualities of the wine, such as fruit and extract, from being more noticeable. A "tight wine" is expected to age well as the tannins soften to reveal these other qualities.
  • Toasty A sense of the charred or smoky taste from an oaked wine.[2]
  • Transparency The ability of a wine to clearly portray all unique aspects of its flavor—fruit, floral, and mineral notes. The opposite would be a wine where flavors are diffused and thoroughly integrated.[11]
  • Typicity A wine tasting term used to describe how much a wine expresses the typical characteristics of the varietal.
  •  
  •  
  • Undertone The more subtle nuances, aromas and flavors of wine.
  • Unoaked Also known as unwooded, refers to wines that have been matured without contact with wood/oak such as in aging barrels.
  • Upfront A wine with very perceivable characteristics and quality that do not require much thought or effort to discover.
  •  
  •  
  • Vanilla An oak induced characteristic aroma reminiscent of vanilla.
  • Vegetal A wine with aromas and flavor reminiscent of vegetation as oppose to fruit or floral notes.
  • Vivid A wine with very expressive ripe, fruit flavors.
  • Voluptuous A wine with a full body and rich texture.
  •  
  •  
  • Warm A wine with noticeable but balanced alcohol as opposed to a wine with excessive alcohol that maybe described as "hot". It can also refer to a creamy texture derived from oak treatment.
  • Watery A wine that is excessively "thin" in body and fruit.
  •  
  •  
  • Yeasty Often uses synonymously with "biscuity" and can describe a wine with aromas and flavor reminiscent of bread dough or biscuits.
  • Young Wine that is not matured and usually bottled and sold within a year of its vintage.
  •  
  •  
  • Zesty A wine with noticeable acidity and usually citrus notes.
  • Zippy A wine with noticeable acidity that is balanced with enough fruit structure so as to not taste overly acidic.
 
     Note (from here) 
 
     Wiki puts Barnyard in quotes as if it had already defined it.  It had not defined it.    


 
 
     




   
To Contents here       DLs  


                                                                                                                                       
  Useful Websites

Here is a list of sites possibly to be used later and which are of use to readers:

   Wine Tasting and source of picture here 

      serving temperatures - plus online wine communities here

   Wine Descriptors here explore at leisure
  
      a long list here     after the adverts here   another long list here already used on this page here

      another example of the range of descriptors being endless - here - also in French here

   Wine aroma wheel     here

                   


     Food words here  many of which you find in the descriptors lists here
   
         




This section provides material for an article to be submitted to the IWFS here journal.  The article will not be in the format shown.

Comparisons


It is important to distinguish descriptors according to just being mentioned, whether they are defined, or if they are used in a subsidiary capacity. 

The first stage involves finding out which descriptors are most used by the authors.  The World of Food and Wine has not responded [after the request in March 2011] to the request to give an author name.  However, it ranks as an author for this purpose.

With eight authors, it seems reasonable to select descriptors used by at least three of them.  There are twenty-nine such descriptors.  

Only four descriptors - balance, crisp, light and fat  are used by seven authors.  

Earthy and heavy  are used by six authors.

Five authors employ austere, dry, finesse, fruity, nutty, rich, tannin/tannin, thin.  

Nine descriptors are used by four authors.  They are cloying, cooked, deep, delicate, green, hard, light, madeirized, spicy. 

The remaining descriptors used by three authors are clean, medium, noble, soft, supple, sweet, and tart


  
To Contents here      DLs  


Most people use dry, medium and sweet to describe their wine.  Medium, if you accept, is the half-way descriptor and is the first to be explored.

Broadbent

 
Medium dry - containing a small quantity of natural sweetness but probably dry enough to be drunk before or during a meal.
 
Medium sweet - distinctly on the sweet side though not sweet enough for a dessert wine. Probably too sweet to drink with the main course of a meal unless you have a sweet tooth.


However, that's as far as it goes.  Medium is in the used by three authors category but Broadbent's is the only definition.  Simon and the World of Food and Wine do not use it, Lehrer and The Wine Book  use it without definition.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
To Contents here 


Here is a comparison of three sources.                                                                                                                                                     
   

Earthy

1

Characteristic of certain wines derived from the soil. Simon Seems a vague explanation.


2

earthy
- In simple wines, the smell and taste of damp earth can be nice. These are earthy wines. World of Food and Wine  

3

Earthy

 

Not as unpleasant as it sounds - an 'earthy' flavour can characterise certain fine Burgundy. Guide to Wine

Vegetal - [included as earthy is used as an unexplained subsidiary descriptor]

 

earthy, wet leaf smell; cabbagey, often of big Italian red wines.      Guide to Wine


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Here is a comparison of four sources.  Comment will be made in due course.


Fat

Of wine, full-bodied, soft and high in natural glycerol. - Simon

Fat - medium to full bodied, with a soft rounded texture. - Broadbent 

Fat or rich and unctuous, full bodied. World of Food and Wine

Fat

Used to describe mouth-filling white Burgundy, for example.  Guide to Wine


 

Glycerine

 

The 'fatty' constituent in some wines, making them taste richer - the 'legs' which flow down the inside of the glass. Guide to Wine


 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

   

To Contents here 
DLs 



Light

One of the descriptors used by seven of the eight sources.  

1

Light

Of wine, one lacking in body or having a low degree of alcohol. Also an official term for a natural, unfortified wine.  Simon

2

Light - implying lack of body. Probably under 12° G.L.  Broadbent

3

A light wine has low acidity and little in the matter of body.
World of Food and Wine


4

And it's principally the degree of alcohol that makes a wine feel
heavier or lighter, full or light bodied, in your mouth. (The sugar in sweet wines also gives them an unctuous weight, and the weight of a wine is also affected to a certain extent by the quantity of natural colour and flavour constituents it contains.) …
Wine with Food p 82

Moulin-à-Vent, which is a bigger wine with more tannin. This tastes a little tougher, though it is still light and easy-going for a red. Wine with Food pp 91/2

All Pinot Noir is fairly pricey, but the cheaper wines can be quite light and soft, increasing in body and firmness along with the price.  Wine with Food pp 92/3



5

Commercial
 
Light, drinkable, undemanding wine.   Guide to Wine

6 & 7 

As with No. 4 and No. 5, Adrienne Lehrer and The Wine Book use the descriptor light but do not define it.  No criticism  accompanies the comment as it depends what authors are writing about.


Conclusion

Eight sources and only four definitions which are somewhat varied.  However, look at the reason any author has for including the descriptor. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To Contents here 

Balance
 

1

Well-balanced
Harmony in all aspects of a wine. Simon

2

Balance - the combination of natural components. See 'well balanced'.  

Well-balanced - satisfactory blend of physical components (fruit, alcohol, tannin, acid) and the less tangible elements (breed, character, finesse, etc.).  Broadbent

3

Balanced
- same as rounded - said of a wine it means all its elements are in perfect harmony and none stands out. Which elements? We are talking of the relative degree of acidity, alcohol, fruity quality, tannins, sugar, extract, and other characterisics. [See also – Rounded]
     

Rounded, almost equivalent to balanced [q.v.], is a wine with all elements in place, complete. Satisfying flavors, no surprises or sudden sharpness.  
World of Food and Wine


4

Balance
 
A balanced wine has its fruitiness, acidity, alcohol and tannin (for reds) in pleasant harmony. Balance may develop with age.   


Flabby
 
Lacking balancing acidity.  Guide to Wine



5


  • Balanced A wine that incorporates all its main components—tannins, acid, sweetness, and alcohol—in a manner where no one single component stands out.      Wiki Wine Descriptors 


6

Wines intended for ageing are made with more of all of these constituents (and hence may seem
undrinkably sharp and tough when young) so that one day all the parts will come into delicious, drinkable balance
Wine with Food here

7
 
Lehrer uses the term balance [on p 9 and not shown elsewhere on this website] and defines it thus:

A balanced wine has a pleasant proportion of sugar, acid, and other constituents.  A wine may be unbalanced because it has either too much sugar or too much acid; but generally, if someone merely labels a wine as  unbalanced , he is likely to mean that the wine is too acidic.

Since balance interacts with acidity and sweetness, a three-dimensional representation of these would be desirable; but figure 1.5 will serve as an approximation.

                           Too much                                                          Too little

                            NEGATIVE                       POSITIVE                   NEGATIVE


SWEETNESS           cloying                         sweet     dry    

ACIDITY                sour                                    tart                        flat



                         unbalanced                         balanced                    unbalanced


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


The authors

The late Andre Simon and Michael Broadbent are recognised as authorities on wine. Both have been Presidents of notable societies, as you will read.   Prof Adrienne Lehrer is a linguist who has applied her knowledge to analysing wine descriptors. The Wine Book has no editor or author.

The message box on the World of Food and Wine Internet page has been used to ask for author info. 

to be continued 

 
  DLs     To Contents here 


   

 
 
 
 

                         

The Science of Taste

Ruth Binney    International Wine & Food Society - International Wine & Food Foundation  2003  pp 59, 60

USEFUL TASTE DESCRIPTIONS FOR WINE

Acetic: A vinegary taste (and smell), too tart on the palate.  A sign that a wine is volatile.

Acidic: Describes a wine with too much acidity.

Aggressive: Over stimulating to the palate, containing too much tannin.

Apple/appley: The taste of malic acid in a young wine.

Beery: A taste (and smell) of beer.

Buttery: A fatty, rich taste, typical of mature Chardonnay and specifically Meursault.

Chocolate: A rich taste, with a hint of vanilla, found in many red wines.

Earthy: A "country" or rustic taste, usually an overtone to a taste.

Fruity: Describes the grape component of the wine. Young wines should taste full of fruit.

Gasoline  (Petrol):  The characteristic  flavor  of a  mature Riesling.

Goaty: A "fat" animal-like flavor.

Honey: The taste and aroma of. For example, fine Sauternes.

Particularly  associated  with   "noble  rot"   (botrytis), fungus encouraged to shrivel the
grapes and concentrate their sugar content.

Meaty: Heavy and rich, with a full-bodied flavor. A wine you feel able to chew.

Nutty:  A crisp taste characteristic of a well-aged wine particularly a sherry such as
an Amontillado.

Oak: The taste imparted by the barrel. Ideally, an obvious but not overpowering taste
which integrates completely with the wine.

Peaches: A mixture of fruit and acidity found, for instance, in some Loire wines.

Peppery: Slightly harsh, as in a full young red wine.

Piquant: A fresh acidity, a virtue in wines from the Mosel and Sancerre.

Plummy: Rich, with a flavor of fruit and typical of a mature Merlot.

Raspberries: The flavor of a good red wine, particularly from Bordeaux and the Rhone.

Smoke: The "barbecue" flavor typical of many Alsace wines.

Spice: An exotic flavor typical of the Gewiirztraminer grape or red grapes such as Merlot.

Steel: The crisp, acid flavor of Sauvignon Blanc and some Chardonnays with high acidity.

Woody: An unpleasant taste produced when wine is kept too long in the cask. 

 

 

 

 

The Science of Taste

Ruth Binney    International Wine & Food Society - International Wine & Food Foundation    2003  pp 61, 62

 

USEFUL SMELL DESCRIPTIONS FOR WINE

Appley: Fresh apple smell of an immature white wine.

Baked: A hot smell indicating high alcohol and possibly; wine that is past its prime.

Beets: A boiled beets smell is the characteristic of the Pinot Noir grape.

Blackcurrants: The distinctive aroma of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

Cedar: The slightly resinous, pinewood smell of fine claret.

Corked:  The  smell   of a  wine  tainted  by  the  chemical trichloroanisole (TCA),
usually as a result of a rotten or moldy cork. Any wine that smells corky can be
said to be corked.

Eucalyptus: The aromatic smell, as in a eucalyptus inhaler produced for example in
top-quality Cabernet Sauvignons.

Farmyard: A smell reminiscent of manure or a pigsty. A red bordeaux is most likely
to produce this kind of aroma.

Figs: The typical fruit smell of a Semillon.

Flowery: An attractive, light fragrance, as in a flower garden.

Gooseberry:  A  fresh   "green"   smell,  typified  by a  New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.

Grapey: A smell of grapes as in a Muscat or the aroma produced by Muscatel grapes.

Grassy: Like the scent of newly mown grass, usually a characteristic of a white wine.

Gunflint: A scent reminiscent of flint sparks in white wines such as Pouilly-Fume.

Herbaceous/herbal: A mix of grass and flowers. The pleasant smell from good young white wine.

Minty:  The  aroma  of  Californian  Cabernet.  Specifically spearmint, not peppermint.

Oak: The pleasant smell (and taste) of oak from the cask, but not moldy or woody.

Pear drops: The aroma sometimes produced by a rose or a young Beaujolais and
reminiscent of nail polish remover.

Raspberries: The fruity aroma of a Pinot Noir.

Sulfurous:   A   "rotten   eggs"   smell   which  can   mask   the bouquet of a young wine
and usually passes as the wine is swirled around the glass. Can also indicate that the wine
lacked oxygen during its maturation.

Tar: An aroma associated with both the Nebbiolo and Syrah grapes.

Vanilla: An aroma of cask-aged wines. It arises from a tannin-like compound derived from oak.

Violets: A flowery scent associated with both Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo.

Wood: A pleasant odor in wine well matured in oak casks, but not woody ... .

Yeasty:   The   aroma   of   yeast.   A   sign   of   secondary fermentation in the bottle.

 
   
   
   
   
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
    
.............................................................................................................................................
Marketing Descriptors
 

Sources given may change as wines come and go. Highlighted descriptors have been put in the descriptor table.
                                                                                                              
     
 
Here are the first postings on 1 May 2011.  More to follow.

Fat, rich, quite heavy, overdone. Full-bodied and quite mature, as evidenced by its yellow color.

Chablis is the northern most wine region of Burgundy, France. The white wine is made from Chardonnay grapes. The vineyards are divided into three quality levels, with grand cru the best. The 1994 vintage was quite successful in Chablis, which makes this wine especially disappointing. This may be good enough in an inexpensive quaffing wine, but not one selling for $45. The tasting note makes this Vaudésir sound practically like an impersonator of a great wine. Rather than being complex, it's "fat" and instead of being well crafted, it's "overdone." Even the color is off. Chablis is usually a keen green-gold, but this one is a faulty "yellow." In addition, while not even 2 years old, it's already "quite mature," lacking life and acidity, a high alert to wine drinkers who expect top white Burgundies to get better after years in the cellar. Even the short, choppy style of the note should caution readers who may be impressed by the prestigious label. More from this source

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Vino Frizzante Pinot Grigio Blush

A lightly sparkling, fruity pink wine with a fresh aroma and flavour of raspberry and pears, and a soft and refreshing finish source

  • 2 Mandorla Shiraz 2009: Purpley black in colour, this smooth, mouth-filling, velvety red combines the flavour of prunes and black cherries with a faint hint of eucalyptus...
  • 2 Los Nucos Cabernet Sauvignon 2009: A soft, smooth, slightly spicy Chilean red, easy-drinking in style. It has tempting hints of toasted nuts, mocha and black cherry...   source

v

     
         

 

Michael Broadbent      
      Adrienne Lehrer     Andre Simon    



Originally trained as an architect, Michael Broadbent became a Master of Wine in 1960 and head of the Christies’ Wine Department in 1966. He has been Chairman of the Institute of Masters of Wine, and International President of the Wine and Food Society.
Michael has collected many international
awards during his career and was named ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Merite’ by the French Government.



  • The Andre Simon Memorial Award for The Great Vintage Wine Book (1981)  
  •  
  • other winners here


More
here



    


To Contents here 
 
    
DLs  

 
               















.

.
 



Prof Lehrer says:

My research interests have centered around words: their meanings and how their senses can be extended through metaphor; their relationships to other words, the structure of vocabularies, comparative lexicology; and more recently, creative neologisms, especially blends. My methodology is empirical, and I use questionnaires, texts, observations, and more recently lexical decision tasks. My latest book is Wine and Conversation.
 
More
here

The wine descriptors under her name come from Wine & Conversations.







  

 
Andre Louis Simon (1877-1970) was the charismatic leader of the English wine trade for almost all of the first half of the 20th century, and the grand old man of literate connoisseurship for a further 20 years. In 66 years of authorship, he wrote 104 books. For 33 years he was one of London's leading champagne shippers; for another 33 years active president of the Wine & Food Society.Although he lived in England from the age of 25, he always remained a French citizen. He was both Officier de la Legion d'Honneur and holder of the Order of the British Empire.

More here












 
   
                 






.........................................................................................................................................................

This section also includes material which may be submitted for publication. 


Comment

Descriptor explanations 

Much of the material in the extracts points to the fact that although authors "explain" their descriptors, the explanations use other descriptors which are taken for granted. Most are worthy of inclusion and are shown in a way to distinguish them from the main descriptors. 

Broadbent soon talks about 'bite'
hereAcid is not only a preservative but gives a wine its essential 'bite' and provides bouquet.     He describes 'bite' here which is fine.   He has mentioned bouquet but hides his definition  bouquet is the result of volatile acids, esters, and aldehydes  under Volatile  here  .  However, 'bouquet' is also hidden in Deep here and still not explained.  In using text colour differentiation, we can try to follow Broadbent distinction between:
 

Words used to describe bouquet or aroma [– in black]
 
Words to describe taste, flavour and general effect in the mouth [– in blue]

It will be interesting to receive emails relating to readers' views on this.


The World of Food and Wine extract gives

bouquet