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More Wine Tidbits

Unusual Wine terms and their meanings

DUMB
Characteristic description of a young wine with yet-to-develop aromas and flavours. A synonym for "closedin". Named so because it seems "unable to speak".

BACKWARD
Describes a wine that retains youthful characteristics despite considerable aging. This usually indicates that it will take longer to reach maturity and requires even more aging in the bottle or barrel.

VANILLIN
A component contributed by the oak. Considered to add a degree of "sweetness" to red wines when present in barely detectable amounts, so adding to a desirably complex style. Different from VANILLA which you usually just pick up when smelling the wine.

BRIARY
Denotes a wine having an aggressive, prickly taste best described as "peppery". Sometimes combined with the adjective "brawny" to characterize a young red wine with high alcohol and tannin content.

ASCESCENCE
"Ascescence" is the term used to mark the presence of acetic acid and ethyl acetate. Detected by sweet and sour, sometimes vinegary smell and taste along with a sharp feeling in the mouth.

BREED
Term reserved for wines from the best grape varieties, the socalled "noble grapes". Denotes wines judged to have reached classical expectations of aroma, balance, structure and varietal character.

HOT
Defines a wine high in alcohol and giving a prickly or burning sensation on the palate. Accepted in fortified wines, but not considered as a particularly desirable attribute in Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay. Positively undesirable in light, fruity wines, (eg: Rieslings).

LEGS referred to as TEARS
We know about legs, but not about tears. Term used when referring to the liquid rivulets that form on the inside of a wineglass bowl after the wine is swirled in order to evaluate the alcohol concentration present. Usually the higher the alcohol content, the more impressive the rivulets appear because of reduced surface tension effects. (Some still cling to the erroneous belief that glycerin content causes these rivulets).


* Reproduced with permission from Peter Svans at The Gurdies Winery

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