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    What Does Wine Taste Like?

    Wine Taste Guide

    Not many drinks have an entire aisle dedicated to them in the supermarket, but part of wine's charm is its versatility and almost global popularity. 

    But what does wine taste like?

    And how can you describe wine to other people?

    Let’s break down the elements of a wine's taste so at your next gathering you can start describing your wine like a pro.

    What Does Wine Taste Like?

    Wine TastingDescribing a wine may seem daunting at first, but the key is to break the wine down into 3 more manageable elements:

    • Tannins
    • Body
    • Sweetness

    Once you can separate your acidity from your tannins and your body from your sweetness, talking about wine becomes lots of fun. 

    Wine tastes complex because it is!

    It is made up of different tastes such as tannins, sweetness and acidity that all contribute to the wines final flavour.

    So how can you taste wine properly?

    How to Taste Wine?

    Woman tasting wine

    The different components of wine trigger various sensations in parts of your mouth and tongue that send signals to your brain.

    Stay with us...

    It sounds complex but all it requires it a little bit of attention and you’ll be separating your acidity from your tannins in no time.

    1. Find Out The Sweetness Of The Wine

    Tasting The Sweetness of WineFirst things first.

    How sweet is your wine?

    A dry wine is a wine with no residual sugar and you sense the sweetness of a wine by paying attention to the way your mouth responds.

    Try holding your nose when you take a mouthful.

    Sometimes very fruity aromas can trick your brain into thinking a wine is sweet, so by blocking off your smell for a sip you can give your tongue a chance to detect any sugar.

    2. How Acidic Is The Wine?

    Acidity in Wine

    Next up is acid, and acidity is what helps to get our mouth literally watering for the next bite of food or sip of wine.

    Acidity produces saliva so a great way to determine how acidic your wine is is by paying attention to how much your mouth waters in response!

    Crisp wines will have lots of searing acidity and these make fantastic food wines. Softer wines may have a noticeably lower level of acidity in comparison. 

    3. Tasting Tannins?

    Tannins In WineLast, but definitely not least, we have tannins.

    Tannins are present in the skin of grapes and are responsible for the dry sensation you may feel after drinking a glass of smooth red wine. 

    You can feel tannins on your gums and your tongue and the higher the tannins in the wine, the higher the drying effect will be on your mouth.

    Low tannin wines can be described as soft and subtle, whereas wines with higher tannins can be described as astringent and structured. 

    But how do these elements all work to affect the taste of your favourite wine?

    What Affects The Taste of Wine?

    The final taste of a wine is determined by how much of each other above elements are present.

    • A sweet wine may have lots of ripe fruit flavours, for instance
    • And a very acidic wine may have lots of crisp citrus notes
    • Red wines with noticeable levels of tannins may have more developed tertiary aromas of tobacco and leather

    Every element has a very important role to play when it comes to the taste of wine, which is why learning to notice each one is vital when it comes to describing a glass of wine in good detail.

    But what tastes are associated with different types of wine? Does all wine taste the same?

    5 Types of Wine Taste

    Here are the main styles of wine you may come across and the tastes associated with them:

    1. Red Wine

    Red Wines

    Red wine taste tends to be deeper, darker flavours with tendencies towards spicier and earthier characteristics.

    This very much depends on the red wine in question and how receptive you are to tannins and alcohol levels.

    2. White Wine

    White Wines

    White wines may lack tannins but they make up for it with acidity and as a result these wines tend to taste crisper and more perfumed and aromatic in comparison.

    White wines will taste a little bit lighter than red wines as they don’t have any tannins to contribute towards body and structure. 

    3. Rose Wine

    Rose Wines

    Pink or Rose wine taste almost like a halfway house between red and white wine.

    Think the light, crisp nature of white wine with a little more oomph and the sweet, darker fruit flavours that you may associate with red wine.

    4. Sparkling Wine

    The fizz and the sparkle of these wines really take over, with all that bubbly carbonation causing a beautiful sensory experience for our mouths. 

    Sparkling wines like Prosecco or Champagne tend to be higher in acid and lower in alcohol so are lighter wines, with lots of fun fizz to compliment their aromas.

    5. Dessert Wine

    Dessert wines are all about the sugar!

    Not one for those lacking a sweet tooth or two, dessert wines tend to have lots of rich and sweet flavours with a very full opulent body on account of all the residual sugar detectable in the glass.

    And there we have it, a guide to getting your head around the elements your tongue will be experiencing when you drink a glass of wine.

    Once you start to separate the sensations of acid and sugar and tannins in your glass you’ll be describing your wine like a fully fledged sommelier in no time.

    Before You Go...

    Wine Tasting

    We hope this article answers all your questions on what wine tastes like.

    If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, or email us at info@expertwinestorage.co.uk

    You can browse more posts on Wine Tasting here

    Expert Wine Storage can help you find a luxury wine fridge to store your precious wine collection.

    philip thompson Author: Philip Thompson
    Philip is the General Manager at Expert Wine Storage, and is very knowledgable about all things relating to wine and wine storage, including wine fridges. He is regularly featured in media outlets sharing his knowledge on wine. Connect on Linkedin