In Defense of “Winespeak”

The language of wine can be daunting to one encountering it for the first time—such as when one visits a winery tasting and finds Mr. Know-It-All cross-examining the person behind the bar on the type of yeasts used in the fermentation of the Reserve Chardonnay.

That may have been what prompted the following question that came in recently from one of our faithful blog readers…

QUESTION: I sometimes get intimidated when talking about wine. What’s up with all the lingo?

ANSWER: The perception of wine is quite subjective, and that long ago necessitated the creation of some common descriptors to facilitate discussions.

So, among wine judges, critics and writers:

  • “body” refers to the viscosity of the wine
  • “crisp” indicates that a wine is high in fruit acidity
  • “finish” refers to the wine’s after-flavor

…and so on.

More colorful words and phrases are used by individuals, but having a “universal language”—or lingo—contributes to understanding.

Like anything else, the more you learn about wine, the more you can enjoy it. But there’s no need to be intimidated. There’s nothing wrong with tasting a wine and simply saying, “Yum!”

Posted in Wine FAQ
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