DESCRIBING A WINEAcidic (Ácido) – Raw, young wines are generally more acidic than older ones.Unbalanced wines may taste sour because of an abnormally high acid content.Aroma (Aromática) – that portion of the smell of a wine derived specifically from thegrape variety such as Cabernet-Sauvignon or Chardonnay, as opposed to that portionof the smell derived from other sources (see Bouquet).Balance (Equilibrado) – a balanced wine is one whose constituents (sugar, acids,tannins, alcohols, etc.) are evident but do not mask one another. A young red wine(tannic and acidic) is not considered balanced because these two characteristics maskthe other flavor elements of the wine, which, given time, may display themselves.Big (Grande) – a wine of more flavor, alcohol, etc. than others. A Barolo, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, late-harvest Zinfandel or something similar would be considered a big wine.Bitter (Amarga) – one of the four basic taste sensations. Young, red Bordeaux orCabernet-Sauvignons will taste bitter because of their relatively high tannin content.(Tannin is a bitter element in wines.)Body (Cuerpo) – the weight of the wine in the mouth due to its alcoholic content and toits other physical components. These are due to the quality of the wine, the vintage, itsgeographical origin, and general style. Wines from hotter climates tend to have morebody than those from colder climates.Bouquet (Bouquet) – as opposed to aroma, “bouquet” is the odor which derives fromthe fermentation process, from the ageing in wood and bottle process, and otherchanges independent of the grape variety used.Character (Carácter) – a wine of good character is one which doesn’t just slip downthe throat and say "bye-bye"; it says "stop a while, friend. You have just come upon anabove-average liquid. Take a moment to think about it".Clean (Limpio) – having no off-odors or off-tastes.Cold (Frío) – the meaning is obvious. However, too often wines are served so cold thattheir odors and flavors become stunted, unable to show themseIves.Complex (Complejo) – a complex wine is multi-faceted; it contains not only acids,alcohols, tannins, etc., but more. Each sip brings another flavor, reveals anotherdistinct aspect.Corky (de corcho) – said of a wine that smells more of cork than it does of wine. Suchan odor will usually not dissipate, and, if found in excess in a wine, provides sufficientreason for returning it to the retailer or restaurateur.Decant (Decantar) – a wine is decanted either to separate the clear liquid from thesolids an old wine might have accumulated, or to aerate a wine (to oxygenate it).Dry (Seco) – a dry wine is one without any noticeable sweetness. Technically, a drywine will retain little or no sugar after fermentation.Earthy (de tierra) – not actually referring to a dirty or soil-like smell or taste, but to acharacteristic of the wine derived from its special soil and climate.Fresh (Fresco) – applied generally to younger whites or lighter reds to denote apleasant, youthful sensation.
Fruity (Afrutado) – a pleasant fragrance from ripe grapes made into wine; a berry-likequality akin to fruits in general.Full-Bodied (de mucho cuerpo) – a pleasant fragrance from ripe grapes made intowine; a berry-like quality akin to fruits in general.Green Peppers (Pimientos Verdes) – Cabernets (franc and Sauvignon), Sauvignonblancs, Merlots and other varieties are said to produce a green bell pepper character,especially when the grapes are grown in cooler climates or under dense foliageconditions.Legs (“Piernas”) – a wine’s body or viscosity can be determined, often, by the wayrivulets (or "tears") of wine descend on the inside of the glass after swirling. A look atthe “legs” will give you tips on the wine’s nature: in a dry wine, slow falling legs indicatea full-bodied wine; quick-falling legs indicate a light wine.Light (Ligero) – the opposite of big or full.Mellow (Añejo) – soft, sweet and full-flavoured.Oaky (de roble) – term used to describe the flavor of wines that have been aged insmall, usually newish wood barrels.Spicy (Especiado) – many wines will display distinct spicy flavors such as dill, basil, orsomething similar. Often, any tangy character in a wine will be described as spicy.Tannin (Taninos) – a natural constituent of wines (especially reds). It is a bitter-tastingmaterial which is partially responsible for preserving wines during long aging periods.You can experience the flavor of tannin by biting into a grape seed.Velvety (Aterciopelado) – akin to mellow, but more so, without the connotation ofsweetness. Someone once said that a velvety wine is “one that coats your tongue likea robe”.Volatile (Volátil) – Volatile acidity refers to their vinegary aspect.Woody (Leñoso) – many wines are aged or treated in wood containers. In well-made,well-aged wines this wood lends a characteristic smell and taste (depending upon thetype of wood used and the size of the barrel) which is just another facet of the wine.Old wood, contaminated wood, or excessive wood aging will result in an overly woodyand taste.General ExpressionsCheers! (¡Salud!)Do you like the taste (¿Te gusta el sabor?)Do you prefer red, white or rosé? (¿Prefieres vino tinto, blanco o rosado?)What flavours can you taste? (¿Qué sabores puedes degustar?)