Read This. Be A Wine Expert.

There are certain words and terminology that perk up a sommelier’s ear and signify a guests’ wine knowledge is higher than average. If you want to impress your local sommelier, friends, or show off on a date, here are some great buzz words o memorize. And, when used correctly, the terms will let people know that you are on your way to becoming a wine expert.

Terroir:

Terroir can be expressed as a sense of place, which embodies specific qualities that are unique to that piece of earth.  Conerning wine, terroir is an expression of the place it was grown, it’s somewhereness.

Acidity Levels:

Acids are important structural components in wine. When you taste wine, ‘acidity levels’ refer to freshness, tart, or sour elements in wine.  Use your palate to compare those attributes in relation to sweet and bitter components of the wine for balance.

Balance:

Balance typically refers to the harmony between sugar and acidity, and fruit and tannin.

Structure:

A subjective term meant to describe the feel of the wine. The best test for the application of this term is to remember that wine is mostly water – what is left is 15-20% of alcohol, tannins, acids, sugars, and more. These components make up the texture and structure of the wine. The way it makes your mouth feel can make this wine structured (or not!). A well-structured wine will have a strong presence of tannin and acidity.  These aid in the age worthiness of the wine.

Varietally Correct:

When tasting wine, there are certain definitive taste characteristics you look for in specific grape varietals that made the wine. For example, Sauvignon Blanc will be highly crisp, lighter on the palate, with a bit of herbaceousness and minerality accompanying citrus fruit. When a wine holds defined elements that apply to their category, and not all do, then the wine can be referred to as ‘varietally correct.’

Négociant:

Négociants are winemakers who purchase their fruit instead of growing it themselves.

Malolactic Fermentation:

Malolactic fermentation is a naturally occurring chemical reaction that converts tart tasting malic acids to a softer tasting lactic acids.  The result  which is characterized by a rich and buttery mouthfeel from the wine. Many winemakers feel that fruit and oak elements can be highlighted when the malolactic fermentation occurs as the wine ages in the barrel.  

Savennières:

Savennières is located in the Loire Valley of France.  The grape of Savenniers is Chenin Blanc.   Chenin Blanc makes wine that are some of the longest aging in the world.  The highly regarded and critically acclaimed white wines of Savennières are powerfully structured, highly perfumed and captivatingly intense.

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