Tasting or Drinking
Does tasting mean drinking? When you are drinking are you tasting? What volume in my glass distinguishes tasting from drinking? Is there really a difference? It’s probably best to always appear to be tasting, so there is at least the illusion that something is being learned. And so it is that something educational can be taken away from every occasion to drink wine. Consider the vocabulary lesson, below, that gets revisited every time a cork (or plastic) is pulled.
Acidity – The tang that helps a wine’s flavors linger and provides a counterpoint to a wine’s fruit (or sweetness). Wines with notable acidity are often called crisp, lively or refreshing. Overly acidic wines can be sharp or sour, while too little acidity can make a wine seem flabby.
Backbone – A quality in which the tannins and acidity combine for a good structure.
Balance – A key feature of truly great wines, balance is the state of harmony that occurs when sweetness, acidity, tannins and alcohol are present without any one quality dominating another.
Big – Used to describe wines that possess full-throttle body, flavor intensity and alcohol. Big wines are more about power than finesse.
Body – The degree to which the wine weighs on the palate. Wines are described as full-bodied when they compare in body to whole milk, medium bodied when akin to 2-percent milk and light-bodied when similar in weight to nonfat milk.
Elegant – The opposite of “big,” elegance brings delicate, graceful and subtle characteristics. Elegant wines are more about finesse than power.
Earthy – Used in a positive sense when a wine’s nose or palate suggests the soil. European wines are often described as earthy (versus fruit-forward).
Flabby – Overly soft wines that possess too little acidity, falling flat on the palate.
Fruit-forward – Describes a wine in which the fruity characteristics reveal themselves before any of the other aromas or flavors. New World wines (such as those from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand and South America) are often more fruit-forward than European (Old World) wines.
Tannins – Compounds found in grape skins, seeds and stems that contribute texture, sometimes to the point of making the wine feel rough and astringent (think strong black tea).
SOURCE: Publix Wine Guide
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“Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used”.
William Shakespeare, Othello, II. iii. (315)