Wine can be classified as an art that you can harness, the process is to be revered and appreciated. It’s one thing to order a glass of wine in your favorite restaurant or savor the taste at home.However, it’s quite important to know what you’re holding in your glass and the first step in appreciating your wine is knowing key terms such as body, sweetness, acidity, tannin, alcohol, length and balance. This week California Wines by Rose has got you sorted with key wine terms to understand your wine better.
Alcohol gives wine weight, if a wine feels heavy, it often has a higher alcohol content. Weight and fullness of wine on the palate can be light bodied, medium bodied or full bodied. Wines Under 12.5% alcohol considered to be light-bodied where as wines between 12.5% and 13.5% are considered medium-bodied. Good examples of these wines are Rose, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. Wine that’s over 13.5% alcohol is considered full-bodied. Some wines that are normally over this alcohol level and considered full-bodied are Zinfandel, Syrah/Shiraz, Cabernet, Merlot and Malbec. While the majority of wines over 13.5% alcohol are usually red, Chardonnay is a great example of a white that often can also be considered full-bodied.
Wine sweetness or wine dryness is determined by the amount of sugar in a wine and also by acidity, alcohol content, and the presence of compounds called tannins. How sweet a wine will taste is also controlled by factors such as the acidity and alcohol levels, the amount of tannin present, and whether the wine is sparkling or not. A dry wine can taste sweet if the alcohol level is elevated. Medium and sweet wines have a perception among many consumers of being of lower quality than dry wines. However, many of the world’s great wines have a high level of residual sugar, which is carefully balanced with additional acidity to produce a harmonious result.
Try sipping on a glass of wine, it tastes refreshing and is often described as crisp this is due acidity that plays a role in defining the taste. Acids in wine are an important component in both wine making and the finished product of wine. They are present in both grapes and wine, having direct influences on the color, balance and taste of the wine as well as the growth and vitality of yeast during fermentation and protecting the wine from bacteria. Acidity is sensed on the sides of the tongue and taste almost citric.It occurs naturally in grapes and is important to balance sweetness and white wines tend to have more acidity than red wines.
Tannin is a naturally occurring polyphenol found in plants, seeds, bark, wood, leaves, and fruit skins. As a characteristic of wine, tannin adds both bitterness and astringency, as well as complexity. Wine tannins are most commonly found in red wine, although white wines have tannin from being aged in wooden barrels. Tasted at the back of the tongue and tastes bitter like a strong cup of tea. Also has a drying effect on the gums. It comes from the pips and skins of the grapes and from oak ageing.
Depending on what your body is used to it’s good to checking wine ABV (alcohol by volume ) which will give you a guide to how strong it is. The ABV tells you what percentage of the drink is made up of alcohol. For instance wine with 12% ABV is 12% pure alcohol. The higher the percentage, the more alcohol there is so try opting for lower ABV wines. Alcohol can be felt at the back of the throat, giving a warming sensation. The higher the level of sugar in the grapes before fermentation, the higher potential alcohol the wine will have, hotter countries tend to produce wines higher in alcohol.
Length & Balance
Length is a tasting term to describe how long the taste of a wine persists or lingers on your palate after you have swallowed (or spit, if tasting professionally) the wine. A wine’s length may be described as long, moderate or short. Length gives an indication of quality, the longer the length, the higher the quality. In addition a wine is balanced when all the different components are working in harmony a balanced wine is one where no one component protrudes or awkwardly sticks out. The key components in a wine that should be in balance are alcohol, acidity, tannin, sweetness and fruit concentration or extract. Balance is a sign of quality and his can take time, a wine is mature when it has achieved optimal balance.
To enjoy a characteristic of a good quality American wines visit us at KENRAIL Towers, Mezzanine 3, Westlands or call Tel: 0700004499 and our lovely staff will be happy to get you a wine that embodies your character!