Is the flavor buttery or oaky? Beginners shake their heads. Does any of this make sense? Yes, it does make sense - once you know the lingo. To help novice connoisseurs out, here's a quick guide:

  • Aftertaste: The flavor the wine leaves after it is swallowed. Also referred to as the "finish." Fine wines have a lingering finish.
  • Aroma: A broad term to describe a wine's smell. Younger wines have aroma, not bouquet.
  • Bouquet: The often complex aromas, such as black cherries, apples, mint or thyme, that develop with age in fine wines.
  • Buttery: Describes a wine with the aroma and flavor of butter. Most often used in describing Chardonnay.
  • Corked: Wines become corked when bacteria in the cork interact with chemical residues that remain in the corks or the bottles after they have been cleaned. Corked wine has a defective odor and flavor. Any wine - regardless of quality or price - can become corked.
  • Oaky: Aroma and flavor that derive from aging in oak casks or barrels. Characterized by smokiness, vanilla or other spices.
  • Oxidized: The stale, flat aroma and flavor of wine spoiled by overexposure to air.
  • Tannin: A natural component in the skins, seeds and stems of grapes. It's most noticeable in reds, where it creates a dry, puckering sensation in young wines. It mellows with age and gives some red wines a firm structure.
  • Varietal: Wine made from a specific variety of grape, such as Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot, Riesling or Pinot Noir. In France and other European countries, wines are named after the region where they are made, not the grape.
  • Vintage: The year the grapes were grown and harvested. The year of vintage is printed on the labels of most wines.- O.Z.
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