Thread: jargon
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Old 26-08-2009, 02:26 PM posted to
DaleW DaleW is offline
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Default jargon

On Aug 26, 12:07*am, RichD wrote:
I'm fairly new to sophisticated wines, and need some
help trying to understand the descriptions tasters use.

I understand what is meant by fruity, spicy, sweet,
dry, those are straightforward. *But what is mineral,
or earthy? *I don't normally chew on dirt, and don't
see the attraction here. *And what about buttery?
(which applies to chardonnay only, apparently)

Also. heavy/light, simple/complex, body, structure,
texture... can anyone explain these?

Tannic vs. acidic is also unclear. *Tannic wines make
you pucker, right? *I don't get it, are there really drinkers
who enjoy that? *And is acidic different than tannic? *If
anyone could a list of tannic vs. acid wines, I'll try
them side by side.

What's the deal on oaked vs not oaked? *Haven't
brewers been aging wine in oak barrels since Socrates?



Lots of questions!
OK, a few quick replies, from a non-scientist
I think in Socrates' time amphora might have been more common. And
brewers make beer.
Most references to "oaked" have to do with new oak (first use
barrels). Older barrels (and larger containers like foudres, with more
surface space), impart more direct oak flavors. Some people like new
oak more than others.

Tannins and acids are not really related. A wine can be low acid low
tannin, high acid low tannin,. low acid high tannin, high acid high
tannin, and all variations in between. Tannins (yes, they can make you
pucker) provide structure- in the short term maybe good for dealing
with fat in rare meat, in long term can help age. Tannins and acids
should be in balance, but what that means varies to different people.
Without knowing what is available to you, hard to recommend specific
wines, because of availabilty. As a GROSS generalization, Loire Cab
Franc would be more acidic than Languedoc reds, etc.

When Chardonnay undergoes malolactic fermentation (malic acid to
lactic acids) certain malobacters can produce diacetyl, a substance
which is in butter and is added to margarine or "movie butter" to give
it the buttery flavor.

Earth and minerals are inexact terms to try and capture some of the
non-fruit based flavors in wines.