Complications of Wine Language
Have you ever found yourself surround by friends or even strangers and been asked "how do you like the wine" Your mind searches for those wine terms, the wine language you read about in wine reviews.
"I like the rich fruity black cherry and smokieness in the nose and the even bitter finish." Is this the description that flashes through your mind. You want to say. "It's Good I like it." Well go ahead, say it! Wine tasting does not have to be complicated. You do not have to extend the boundaries of the English language to describe the wine.
I have never understood "bright black fruit with anise dill and leather notes." Bright is a term that describes light not taste, anise dill I understand, anise can be described as having a licorice flavour, leather denotes hmmmm okay. What if someone described the wine " with a touch of olive and saddle leather" Would you know if it was good or bad. Is a wine supposed to have a leather flavour?
What about tobacco? Descriptive term, used by some, to describe a flavor component resembling the taste of raw tobacco leaf in the finish of certain red wines. Seems to mainly apply to Cabernet Sauvignons from Bordeaux, France or the Napa region of California. " Cigarbox " is a common term often used as a near synonym especially if a cedar-wood note in the aroma is detected. (Non-smokers may have trouble with this word and its implication).
Perhaps I'm just a simple guy who likes his wine and prefers to say.. I like this wine. Its good. Most enjoyable. an easy drinking wine with fruity flavours
Don't be intimidated by the language of wine. Simply describe the wine as it tastes to you. Allow your senses to react to the wine. Wine is to be enjoyed. The wine language is unique but you do not have to know it or refer to it in order to enjoy the wine tasting experience.
The following article from the Wines of Michigan * website
The Simple Pleasures of Wine by Joe Borello
The topic of wine is fascinating and often times emotional. It is a simple agricultural product, yet many have a tendency to shroud it in mystery and complexity. It is important to realize that wine has been placed on dining tables for centuries as a natural beverage that serves as a pleasing and logical companion to food.
Few other products offer as much diverse subject matter as wine. Interests range from cultivating personal vineyards, visiting the actual property of a winery, collecting wine labels, building a wine collection of fine wines, to simply taste-testing different wine styles with friends.
Wine also combines instinctively with an interest in food. Many professional and amateur chefs are wine hobbyists because good cuisine demands wine both as an intricate seasoning ingredient and as a basic component of the dining table. Keep in mind that like food, it is important to create a point of reference for what you may like in wine. As time goes by and your tasting experience grows you will notice subtle differences in your preferences, It is helpful to seek information from others, but don't be intimidated by their opinions.
Although many hours could be spent studying the finer points of wine, it is best enjoyed as an uncomplicated subject. So, what is the best way to enjoy and learn about wine and food? The experts tell us there is no substitute for personal tasting experiences. Through taste comes the acquisition of knowledge. What better way to acquire knowledge then by visiting local wineries or gathering with a group of friends for a wine and food tasting? As you taste and compare wines you will find that not all are pleasing to you. Wine, like food, is made in many different styles to satisfy different tastes. It is up to the individual to choose the wines that best suit a personal palate and pocketbook. In North America we are fortunate to have over 900 winery tasting room facilities in which to experience a variety of tastes and styles of wine. Many of these wineries have educational tours and videos of the facilities and the winemaking process. Knowledgeable winery representatives then guide visitors through enchanting tasting tours of nature's fruit of the vine.
*this article was edited to fit our website. Permission to use the article was obtained from Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council.