Last week we learnt the 5 basic wine terms that everyone should know (and how to use them). When you can confidently pick if a wine is dry, off-dry, sweet, acidic, or heavy in tannins you’re on your way to ordering a great drop.
Next, we’re looking at how to tell if a wine is earthy, fruit forward, mineral driven, or full of body.
Earthy wines fall into the savoury category and contrast those that are fruit-forward. You may taste anything from soil, to flint, to whole bunch pressing, think anything from the forest floor! Earthy characteristics can be found in, but aren’t limited too, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Pinot Noir and Tempranillo.
Come in and ask for Domaine de la Guicharde, Cuvee Genest, Cotes Du Rhone.
As mentioned above, fruit forward and earth wines contract each other. Just like the name suggests, think cranberry, strawberry, raspberry, cherry or jam! These characteristics are most common of young, light wines such as Gamay, Grenache, Pinot Noir, Lambrusco, Zweigelt, and Zinfandel. Wines like this are great for summer drinking.
Come in and ask for Jaja Vanaise, Malbec & Cabernet Franc, Loire Valley.
I read once that mineral wines are like the taste of licking wet stones with a chalky texture to match. Minerality is another one of those wine terms that can vary depending on who you’re talking to. It can refer to both taste and aroma, and is most commonly used when referring to white wines – not to say that we can’t use it when speaking about reds. Terms often used when describing mineral driven wines are wet stones, crushed rocks, and salty air.
Come in an ask for La Pierre Frite, Chenin Blanc, Loire Valley
Body often relates to how a wine feels in our mouthes. A great way to think of it is like the difference between skim or full fat dairy products. Light body wines are delicate on your palate, this doesn’t mean that they are lacklustre or don’t have an aftertaste, more that they are subtle, floral, lively, airy and lean!
For a full bodied wine think texture and intense flavour – like a hot climate shiraz. When explaining them you might say rich, buttery, lush, structured or bold!
Come in and ask for Syrahmi, Mourvèdre, Heathcote
Once you fully understand and can happily use these terms the wine tasting world will open up, and there’s no better way to get to know them than through practice.
Come in and ask our staff to test your knowledge on a mystery tasting, or chat to our sommelier about the specific characteristic you’re after!
Read more: 5 basic wine terms, and how to use them.