Learn the Latest Lingo
White gardenias, lemon zest, yuzu – it’s poetic. But one man’s yuzu is another man’s tangelo, so ground conversations in concrete terms, like the following wine-world words that are fast becoming at home in the dining room.
A wine can have oxidative properties for one of two reasons: either there was deliberate oxygen exposure during wine-making – a trendy practice – giving the end product a slight nutty taste, or uncontrolled amounts of oxygen got in, and the nuttiness is overwhelming.
If a wine is reductive, that means so little oxygen got in during wine-making that there’s a burnt-match aroma (more of an issue now because screw tops let in less oxygen than corks do). Decanting helps it ‘blow off’.
In wines that display volatile acidity, low levels of acetic acid (the same as in vinegar) enhance their fruity characteristics.
Brettanomyces is a yeast that can get into wine in older (read: dirtier) cellars. It creates an earthy aroma that’s more accepted today because craft-beer brewers use it.