Key Wine Tasting Terms
Sweetness: You will taste sugar at the tip of the tongue. The taste comes from the sugar in ripe grapes that is left after fermentation has finished.
Acidity: You will get this citric sensation on the sides of your tongue. It occurs naturally in grapes and is important to balance sweetness. White wines have more acidity than red wines.
Tannin: You will taste this bitterness at the back of the tongue (but really all over the mouth) like a strong cup of tea. It comes from the pips and skins of the grapes and from oak ageing. It is mainly found in red wines.
Alcohol: You should feel a warm sensation at the back of the throat. The higher the level of sugar in the grapes before fermentation, the higher potential alcohol the wine will have.
Body: Weight and fullness of wine on the palate.
Length: ‘Length’ is how long you can taste the wine once you have swallowed (or spat it out). It gives an indication of quality. The longer the length the higher the quality.
Balance: When all of the wine’s component parts (e.g. sweetness, acidity, tannins) blend together. This is a sign of quality. This can take time. A wine is mature when it has achieved optimal balance.