There comes a time in every wine lover’s life where an upgrade from cheap box wine is necessary. The first step towards tasting the finest wines in the country is to go to the nearest winery of course. And while no one is expected to become a wine connoisseur overnight, planning it helps to know the most common wine terms before visiting the best wineries in Santa Barbara County.
Familiarize yourself with the following terms so you don’t feel completely clueless on your first ever winery tour:
- Full-Bodied Wine
The best way to explain the term full-bodied when it comes to drinking wine is to think of it as wine’s texture or mouth-feel. A full-bodied glass of wine tends to have a full and heavy texture, much like whole milk, and it is not a texture that appeals to everyone. Don’t worry, there are also light and medium-bodied wines to choose from.
Although it might seem obvious that wines have a fruity flavor, this doesn’t apply to all bottles. Fruit-forward wines have a very dominant sweet fruit taste and are common in bottles from regions like California, Southern Italy, and Spain.
This term is used more to describe the aroma of the wine. Wine lovers who love the scent of wood or freshly cut grass are more inclined to appreciate earthy wines.
This is a wine term that means dry and is commonly used when describing sparkling wine. Brut wines typically have less than 1.5% of the residual sugar for every liter. The amount of sugar is less than an extra dry wine, but more than what is found in a bottle of extra brut.
Dry wine is another term used for wines that aren’t sweet. This term doesn’t mean that the liquid has evaporated. Unlike Brut that is used for sparkling wine, dry describes your traditional wine with very minimal residual sugar.
A wine blend simply means that the wine is made using different types of grapes.
Everyone, even those who don’t love wine have heard the word tannins used at least once. Tannins are some textural elements used to create that dry mouthfeel wine is associated with such as wood and seeds.
The best wineries in Santa Barbara County might show guests how the decanting process is done. This is the simple act of pouring wine into a different container to separate sediment from older wine or to aerate the wine. Decanting with the purpose of introducing oxygen brings out the flavors of the wine.
- Fortified Wines
These wines contain an added grape-based spirit such as brandy to increase alcohol concentration that stops the fermentation process.
- Wine Finish
The sensation that happens inside the mouth swallowing wine is referred to as the finish. The residual taste left behind can be tart, sweet, bitter, or smoky; all of which are called “finish”.
Barrel-aged wines tend to have a range of smoky or coffee-like taste because of where they were aged.
Wines can also have a savory flavor that is closer to vegetable bitterness than the usual fruit notes. After sipping wine and noticing flavors like olives and tomatoes, this indicates the wine is savory.
Spoiled wine due to cork tainting is referred to as “corked”. Spoiling is caused by the presence of microorganisms in the cork which creates Trichloroanisole which ruins wine instantly.