Inside Out (Australia)
A cheat sheet for describing wine
Body basics A wine’s ‘body’ simply describes how weighty it feels. When you swish it around your mouth, does it feel like skim milk or full cream? That determines if it’s light-bodied or full-bodied, with medium-bodied wines falling in between. Dry liquid is a thing Sweetness is a concept we’re all familiar with – the term ‘dry’ makes sense once you know it’s simply the opposite. Wines range from bone dry, where there’s no residual sugar, to syrupy sweet. Acid appreciation Acidity refers to the crisp tartness of a wine and helps balance the overall flavour. It triggers that refreshing, mouth-watering sensation at the back of your jaw. High-acidity wines can be described as tart or racy, while those with low acidity are soft or flat. Turn up the tannin Tannin comes from the skins and seeds of grapes, or from oak ageing, and adds structure to wine. It’s that bitter taste sensation that can make your palate feel fuzzy, just like when you drink a strong black tea. Wines high in tannins can be described as firm or chewy, as opposed to silky or smooth. “Once you decipher your preferences, you can start to use this information to find other wines you’ll love,” says Jag. “The best way to get better at describing wine is to practice, practice, practice.” Indeed, practice makes perfect and we’re nothing if not diligent.