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Wine Tasting 101- Five wine words you want to know

We know how it feels. You’re out to eat with friends and someone orders a bottle you’ve never heard of before. Or you’re spending a day checking out Nova Scotia’s own wineries and decide to taste a few new styles. Or maybe you’ve decided to attend a tasting event for the first time. No matter the situation, trying new wines and joining the conversation can be overwhelming.

We’re here to help! The most basic recipe for anyone to learn more about wine is: Look at it. Smell it. Taste it. Talk about it with others. Repeat.

When you’re listening or participating in conversations about tasting wine, here are 5 terms you’ll want to know:


The smell of the wine, which influences how you taste the wine. There are three main categories of aromas. 1) When people talk about wine you might hear words like “floral” or “cherry” which we recognize as primary aromas in the wine. Primary aromas come from the grapes themselves. 2) If people speak about oaky aromas or , they are referring to secondary aromas or aromas that come from the winemaking techniques. 3) Finally, if you hear words like leather or “raisin-y” then you know that they are referring to tertiary aromas which are aromas that appear as the wine ages and evolves.


This refers to the feeling and the flavours of wine in your mouth. The palate comes from the flavours in the wine, often quite similar to the aromas, and the structural elements of the wine: acidity, sweetness and tannin. 


The way the wine feels in your mouth. You’ll often hear people describe wines being full-bodied, medium-bodied or medium-weight, or light-bodied. A full-bodied wine is thicker and coats your mouth like honey, while a light-bodied wine is more refreshing and has a more watery feeling in your mouth.


The amount of time the sensations of taste and aroma stay in your mouth after you swallow the wine.


The taste that remains in your mouth after you swallow the wine. A long finish indicates a wine of good quality.

Remember, practice makes perfect and there are so many worse things to practice!


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