Thread: jargon
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Old 27-08-2009, 11:53 AM posted to
Anders TÝrneskog Anders TÝrneskog is offline
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Default jargon

"RichD" skrev i melding
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)

Mineral: Think of the smell you get when you bang two stones together
Earth: Think of the smell of wet soil after rain (depends on where you
live, I think)

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

A light wine example is an ordinary red Beaujolais or a white vinho verde
from Portugal - simple and refreshing and easy to drink
A heavy wine would be a red Amarone from Italy or a Zinfandel from
California - viscous and alcoholic with much taste.
Simple: Onedimensional, short
Complex: Layers of taste, changing all the time, long lasting and varying
sensation in mouth
Body: Mouthfilling, chewy
Structu The combination of various parts of the wine - smell, taste,
texture, complexity. A well structured wine is where the parts form a
harmonious whole.
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.

Tannins are astringent. Eat banana peels.
Acids are sour. Eat lemons.

Tannic wines are mostly red ones. They will often need maturing to round
off, in a few cases up to 15-20 years... Tannins are often desired as being
the backbone of a wine structure. Some, like me, do appreciate tannic
wines, others prefer softer wines.
Acid wines are often white ones. Acids often diminish during storage and
thus you'll find more acids with younger whites with the result being a
sensation of freshness, even zing. Sweet whites will often need a high
degree of acidity to be considered balanced (well structured :-). A high
acidity is
What's the deal on oaked vs not oaked? Haven't
brewers been aging wine in oak barrels since Socrates?

Right. However, new oak barrels flavor wine very much more strongly. In
Europe barrels were used and reused for long times and so only a small part
of the wine saw new barrels. The blended end result would then have only a
moderate influence from oak.
In the US, notably, oak was taken as a quality marker and so the public
looked for wines with a heavy oak taste to the extent that some wine makers
not only used all new barrels but also filled up with oak wood chippings...
(that is not quite true... it was steel tanks that received wood chips :-)
Btw, most ordinary wine sees little oak wood but are fermented in steel
tanks. The use of oak barrels has largely disappeared in Germany, the
preference being for maximum fruitiness in all wines, up to the expensivest

Fortunately, the overly heavyhanded use of oak so common in the 1980ies has
For some wines oak still is necessary to give a desired structure and