Understanding Common Wine Terminology

“Paul, I joined the club to learn about wines and enjoy thoroughly the wines you have sent. The in­formation is great and educational and I like the way it leans toward the humanist side rather than the technical side. Some of the bottles you have sent to me, however, list interesting information of which I… read more »

The Matter of Wine Glasses

The maximum enjoyment of fine wines can only be accomplished by observing certain basic guidelines about how they are served. The service of wines includes the consideration of optimum tempera­ture, the age, the uncorking of the bottle, and the pouring of the wine into the glass. The question is…which glass? Other than the clos­est drinking vessel at hand,… read more »


The smell of yeast in wine. Can be interesting in young wines, when present in minimal amounts. Any domi­nant odor of yeast is a negative and usu­ally a sign of incomplete fermentation. An aged yeasty bouquet is desirable in certain sparkling wines like Champagne.


Has been used interchangeably with ‘oaky’ where, in moderation, is de­sirable in some wines. Can also imply other non-oak wood qualities derived from defective barrel ageing, and would be considered to be faults in the wine.

Volatile Acidity

A vinegary quality in a wine, due to the presence of acetic acid along with ethyl acetate in the wine.


The presence of acetic acid in wine, detected by odor and taste. A def­inite fault.


The feel of a wine when it is thick, soft, and smooth on the palate.


Taste and smell sensations of a vegetable nature. They add to the over­all complexity of a wine in small amounts, but undesirable when exces­sive.