Wine Lingo-Part III

This blog is intended to break down all of the “wine lingo” we hear spouted off in tasting rooms, at restaurants, wine bars, regular bars and at parties.  What does it all mean and why in the world is it so confusing?  Be in the dark no more, here’s what the winos are trying to say:


Mesoclimate –the climate in a given block of a vineyard.

Microclimate –the climate around immediately around the vine.

Musty –wine from dirty barrels, cellars or cork.  Has the smell of an attic.

Nose –the bouquet or aroma of a wine, sensed by the nose.

Oaky –a characteristic of wine aged in oak barrels, imparts flavors of oak wood-as in tree.

Off –wine not showing to its true potential, possibly because of spoilage or a flaw.

Overripe –wines that have been made from fruit that was overripe when picked, acid is usually lost.

Oxidized –wine that has been exposed to air in excess and has lost its’ freshness and taken on a stale character.

Palate –the impression a wine provides in the mouth.

Perfumed – wine that has a smell of perfume, more typical in white wines rather than reds.

Secondary fermentation –usually takes place in the bottle the wine is sold in, popular in sparkling wine production.

Skinny –wine that lacks body, but can be enjoyable.

Stuck fermentation –during winemaking process the yeast eating the sugar to convert it into alcohol has become dormant and has not completed fermentation.  Not to be confused with arrested fermentation-which is desired and intentionally practiced in fortified wines.

Sulfites –sulfur dioxide used in wine as a preservative, to keep the wine fresh.

Supple – a wine that is soft, velvety, lush, round and ready to drink!  Very desirable.

Round –wine that has soft tannins and low acidity, very desirable.

Tannic –originates from stems/seeds of grapes, contributed to the bitterness one can taste in wine, creates firmness and rounds out as the wine ages.

TCA(Trichloroanisole) –a natural compound most commonly imparted from cork into wine, not harmful when consumed but looked at as a fault in wine.

Terroir –the environment in which grapes are grown, including the soil, climate, topography, etc.

Thin –a watery, undesirable wine that is lacking body/is diluted.

Varietal –any type of wine grape, like Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, etc.

Whole Cluster –wines that were made from the grapes being pressed while still together as a cluster, attached to the stems.  Imparts more tannin to the wine.

Young –a wine that has not undergone aging.


**While writing this blog, I kept coming up with more and more terms I thought would be helpful to define, that being said, this is a 3 part blog…search our blog archive for parts 1 & 2!



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