A-Z of Wine Terms - A




Confused by all of the terminologies used when people describe wine? Whether you are just starting on your wine journey or are just looking for a bit of a brush-up, We have put together a list of the most commonly used terms that are used to describe wine. We're starting with A.


Acetic: All wines have some traces of acetic acids, which offer a vinegar scent. Too much acetic acid destroys a wine. Acetic acids are the cause behind volatile acidity, or VA.


Acidic: Every wine requires some acidity. This quality makes a wine feel fresh, or give it lift. Too much acidity makes a wine taste sour and feel sharp, lean or angular. Not enough acidity will make a wine feel flabby.


Acidity: There are numerous types of acids that are found in all wines. They include citric, tartaric, malic, and lactic. Wine from hot climates, and or hot vintages tend to be lower in acidity. Wines from cooler climates are higher in acidity


Aeration: What happens to a wine when you add air to help its perfume become more noticeable.


Aftertaste: This is one of the top components to a great wine. The length of time a wine spends in your mouth once you’ve finished tasting it, is much of what you pay for in a good wine. Of course assuming the flavors offer pleasure. Aftertaste means the same thing as length, finish or end note.


Age: Wines that can age, are of high quality as they get better with cellaring. Aged wines, are bottles that have been cellared.


Aggressive: An aggressive wine is usually too high in acidity. The term can also be used to describe wines with hard tannins.


Alcohol: Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, the by product of the fermentation process.


Alliers: The forest region in France where Troncais grows. Wood from the Troncais oak trees produces the best oak for use in wine barrels, due to its tight grains.


Alluvial: Soil or terroir with mix of rocks, stones, gravel and sand


Angular: Angular wines are lean. They are the opposite of round or fleshy.


Anthocyannins: Pigments that give red wine its color.


Appellation: A specific area where grapes or other agricultural products come from. For example, Pomerol in Bordeaux, or Napa in California.


Aroma: Aroma is used to describe the scent of a wine.


Assemblage: French term for the grape varieties used to blend a wine.


Astringent: Astringent wines taste hard or sharp. This happens because most of the time because the tannins in a wine did not fully ripen.


Attack: The initial taste of a wine in the mouth.


Austere: Austere wines are hard, lacking charm, generosity or roundness. Some wines that taste austere in their young shed that quality when they age. For example, this could happen with some Bordeaux wines. Generally speaking, a wine that is austere young will be austere when its old as well.


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