A sensation of freshness and crispness (as opposed to richness). A few years ago, if you said ‘acid’ at the table, everyone thought the wine was going to be sour. Now people think it’ll be a minerally high-acid white, like a Riesling, as opposed to an oaky Chardonnay. OXIDISED Once considered a flaw, exposure to oxygen can sometimes change wine for the better, creating an invitingly toasty, hazelnutty aroma. Old Chenin Blanc always tastes like cookies, the French vanilla ones. In old Burgundies, it’s more almondy. BARNYARD
It’s when your red wine tastes funky. A lot of wines from France’s trendy Jura region have this characteristic. We hate to compare the smell to manure, but it can be a little bit like a stable. Or rust. It’s iron-y, like blood. That combination of sharpness and damp-soil smell. But tasty. If you need a 94-minute crash course on how to taste and appreciate wine, queue up Somm, the surprisingly intense 2012 documentary about a group of wine obsessives cramming for their Master Sommelier exam. You’ll cringe at their fails along the way, but you’ll also learn as they learn. When it’s over, start buying wine on Verve, the new e-commerce site from Somm star Dustin Wilson. From then on, you’re no longer a heavy drinker – you’re a ‘serious taster’.