Speaking the Lingo, Part 3

The final bit of my 3 part guide to wine language – sorry for the delay folks!


Excessive levels of alcohol in wine produce warm to burning sensations on the palate.


Hot climate or vintage character: uber-ripe, stewed fruit character which can be sickly to drink.


An important measure of quality in wines. People often discuss the length of a wine in terms of the length across the palate, and the length on the finish. Length across the palate refers to the length of time for which a wines flavour continues to hold your attention whilst you explore the wine in your mouth. The length of the finish is simply how long those impressions last after you have swallowed (or spat out) the wine.


 General term for a wines smell; (see aroma in part 1).


 The numerous smells associated with wines that have been fermented or aged in oak barrels: Vanilla, toast, cedar etc.


 A wine fault, prolonged contact with oxygen causes the wine to be come flat and stale.


 A wine with high levels of acidity verging on unpleasant.


 Refers to the texture of a wine, wines with low acidity and tannin levels are often described as having a soft texture.


 Tannins are polyphenolic compounds found in the pips, skins and stalks of grapes. They are vitally important if a wine is intended to age, as they act as a natural preservative. The tannins give structure to the wine, an example of a tannic red wine would be Barolo from Italy.


 Lacking in flavour and body.


 A wine with a coarse texture.


 A specific grape variety.


 The measurement of the volume of wine produced from a given area of vines, or from the weight of the fruit.



James Lawrence

James Lawrence is a self confessed wine obsessive, passionate about discovering and promoting the lesser known wines and wine regions of the world. He is a frequent contributor to decanter.com and runs an interactive, community led wine forum, thewineremedy.com In 2004, he went to study in Bilbao, Northern Spain. Luckily for him, the famous wine region of Rioja was just over an hour away by car. He began to spend a great deal of time there, visiting the wineries in Rioja and speaking to local wine makers. Their passion for the subject and their pride in the wines was infectious. He began to realise what an amazing subject wine is and how wide and complex the world of wine could be. Subsequently James moved into wine retail while finishing his degree, and was hooked. James also enjoys food and travel writing - he lives for Italian and Thai cuisine!

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