Wine: Understanding The Jargon
If you're new to the world of wine, you might find yourself overwhelmed by the various terms and jargon used by wine enthusiasts and professionals. Understanding these key terms can help you better appreciate your wine journey and communicate your preferences effectively.
There were plenty of times I nodded along while people used the terms 'terroir' and 'tannins' around me! Knowing what these terms mean is just another step to knowing what you like, and appreciating the work that was put into making the wines you love.
In this edition, we'll explore and explain some of the most important wine terms that every wine lover should know. Let's get started!
A wine's region refers to the geographical area where the grapes used to make the wine were grown. Wine regions can be as broad as a country or as specific as a small sub-region within a larger wine-producing area. The region can significantly influence a wine's character, as factors such as climate, soil, and local winemaking traditions all play a role in shaping the final product. A wine region is essentially the geographical area where the grapes for a wine are grown. These regions can vary greatly in size, from an entire country down to a specific sub-region within a larger wine-producing area. The significance of the region lies in its impact on the wine's characteristics. Elements like the climate, soil type, and local winemaking traditions are crucial in defining the unique qualities of the wine. To give you a taste, some renowned wine regions include Bordeaux in France, known for its sophisticated reds; Tuscany in Italy, the heartland of Chianti; and Rioja in Spain, celebrated for its vibrant and full-bodied wines.
A wines region refers to the geographical area where the grapes were grown. They vary in size, and can be as small as
Geography and wine are deeply connected: The same grapes grown just a few kilometres away in a different region will have noticeably different flavours, even if most other factors stay the same!
Climate, soil, and local winemaking traditions all come together to give a region its distinctive character.
Some famous wine regions include:
• Bordeaux in France, known for its full bodied, intense reds.
• Tuscany in Italy, the heartland of Chianti, known for red cherry forward Sangiovese wines.
• The Mosel Valley in Germany is known for producing some of the best Riesling wines in the world.
Our 2022 visit to Bordeaux based producer we love to work with, Arbo.
This French term embodies the unique combination of soil, climate, and geography that influences a wine's character. Explore how terroir shapes flavours and discover the concept of "somewhereness" in wine.
Tannins are compounds found in grape skins, seeds, and stems, contributing to a wine's structure and mouthfeel.
Tannins are responsible for adding complexity and structure to wine, particularly red wines.
When you taste a wine high in tannins, you might notice a sensation of dryness or astringency in your mouth, particularly around the gums and on the inside of your cheeks. This feeling is similar to what you experience when you drink strong black tea. Tannins can also give a sense of bitterness, often described as akin to the taste of dark chocolate or strong black coffee.
As wines age, the tannins soften and become less astringent, contributing to a smoother and more balanced mouthfeel. This transformation is one of the reasons why some wines are aged for several years before being enjoyed.
Acidity brings brightness and liveliness to wines, balancing flavours and adding freshness. If you are looking for acidity in a wine, just look out for your mouth watering!
The AOC, or Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée, is the French appellation system that has served as a model for many other wine-producing countries.
The AOC system classifies wines based on factors such as grape variety, geographic location, and specific winemaking practices. Wines labelled with an AOC designation must adhere to strict production criteria to guarantee their authenticity and quality.
In Italy, its DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata) or the higher DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita).
In Spain, its DO (Denominacion de Origen), or the higher DOCa (Denominación de Origen Calificada). The EU terms are PDO, Protected Designation of Origin, which largely correspond to the above terms, and PGI, Protected Geographical Indication, a broader classification.
We hope this guide to essential wine terms has helped demystify some of the jargon you may encounter on your wine journey. By understanding these key concepts, you'll be better equipped to navigate the world of wine, whether you're tasting, buying, or simply discussing your favourite bottles with fellow enthusiasts. Remember, the world of wine is vast and always evolving, so don't be afraid to keep learning and expanding your wine vocabulary!
Let's try some wines from the worlds most famous wine region, Bordeaux!