What common wine terminology really means

Step Up Your Wine Knowledge

Unless you're a trained Sommelier all things wine can be a little confusing.

'Acidity' simply means how tart a wine is. Look for words like crisp and bright, or the opposite, flabby. 'Body' refers to how heavy a wine feels in your mouth. Usually the more body, the more alcohol.

The skin and seeds of grapes that give red wine structure are called tannins. Overly tannic wines make your mouth feel dry. And not to try to confuse you, but 'dry' itself is used to describe wine that tastes the opposite of sweet.

'Oaked' means the wine was matured in oak barrels or with oak chips.

'Vintage' doesn't mean the wine is old. It just means the wine is made from grapes that were all (or mostly all) produced in a single year.

And 'finish' is a term used to describe how long the flavor of a wine lingers in your mouth. It's not what you say when you've downed the entire bottle.

See more on wine types and where they come from:

Types of wine and where they come from
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What common wine terminology really means

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes originated in France. 

(Photo via Getty)

The earliest known use of the Merlot grape was in France. It is now the most widely planted red wine grape in the world. 

(Photo by Lori Lee Miller via Getty) 

Pinot noir grapes are most often associated with France. 

(Photo via Getty)

While Chardonnay's origin is in France, the grapes are now grown worldwide. 

(Photo by Bruce Shippee via Getty)

Moscato is made from the Muscat grape which originated in Italy. 

(Photo via Getty)

Pinot grigio is an Italian creation from the Pinot gris grape. 

(Photo by Karin Lau via Getty)

Malbec is a celebrated Argentinian wine. 

(Photo by Lara Hata via Getty)

The French Sauvignon blanc grapes are grown worldwide, especially in France, Chile, Australia, South Africa and California. 

(Photo via Getty)

Shiraz is blended from the DNA of various French grapes.

(Photo by Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Gewurztraminer grapes originate in Germany and flourish in colder climates. 

(Photo by Andreas-Saldavs via Getty)

Riesling grapes originated in Germany's Rhine region. 

(Photo by David Rigg via Getty)

Zinfandel grapes have similar DNA to several Croatian grapes, and are grown heavily in California. 

(Photo by Andreas-Saldavs via Getty)


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