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Wine Tasting Terms - From Round to Steely

Wine tasting thumb

If you're a steward/ess choosing a selection of fine wines for your yacht it helps to understand the peculiar wine tasting terms on the label. Many are apt descriptions, but it's not always easy to imagine the taste of a wine on your palate, or how to describe the flavours and sensations for your charter guests.

Here are 20 common wine tasting terms to get you started:


This describes a wine that hits your mouth in different places, generally unbalanced, lacking depth and with high acidity. 

A wine with buttery characteristics has been aged in oak and is generally rich and flat. There is often a creamy texture that hits the middle of your tongue with a smooth finish.

Bright wines are higher in acidity and make your mouth water.

A wine that tastes of charcoal is usually dry and high in tannins, with a gritty feel and rustic flavours. 

This term descirbes how the wine feels in the mouth (the mouthfeel), typically big and robust, like having a solid in your mouth, and common in a Shriaz or Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

A wine with a sticky or sickly sweet character that is not balanced with acidity.

A dumb wine is also a closed wine, meaning it will not improve.

Wine tasting 2

This is a common description for that awkward green and unpleasant finish on a wine, but it is sometimes used positively to describe an aroma of fresh, rich, clean soil. 

A wine with insufficient structure, particularly acid and tannin, to stand up to its other components is often described as flabby. It feels flat and without intensity and can even seem syrupy.

Green describes a wine with too much acidity.

As the term suggests, this describes a wine that is attractively high in alcohol.

A wine that is lacking fruit flavours. 

A lively wine is usually a young wine with good acidity and a thirst-quenching personality, fresh and opulent!
Buttery 600

Describes a wine with sufficient substance and flavour that it feels like you could literally chew it.

A wine with a dank, old-attic smell resulting from the processing of moldy grapes or dirty storage containers.

Wines that are high in flavor and intensely fruity.

A very desirable character of wine, roundness occurs in fully mature wines that have lost their youthful, astringent tannins, and also in young wines that have soft tannins and low acidity.

A steely wine has higher acidity and sharpere edges.

Rich, ripe, concentrated wines that are low in acidity are often described as thick.

When a wine is unctuous it feels oily on the palate.

Check out our video below and for further information or advice please contact us at Onshore Cellars and we'll be happy to help!

Onshore cellars video

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