Understanding Wine Terminology

Wine is a complex beverage with many different components and wine jargon that can be confusing. This article will define some basic wine terms used in tasting and wine production to help you navigate through the myriad of wines on the market.

Yeast: A microorganism that turns grape juice into wine during fermentation.

En Primeur: A French term meaning “in advance” and is typically used for Bordeaux wines that are bottled before they’ve been released. Wines bottled in this fashion are normally offered for sale at a higher price than once they’ve been released and usually have a shorter shelf life. Go here


Oaky: A descriptor for aromas and flavors imparted by oak barrel aging. This can include notes of vanilla, toast, smoke, coconut and nutty flavors. This can be a positive or negative trait depending on the amount of oak used.

Minerality: This tasting term describes a wine’s aromas or flavors that have a sense of stone, slate, crushed rocks and chalk. This can be a very positive trait in a wine especially when combined with fruit and acidity.

Savory: This tasting term describes the aromas of herbs or spices that are less dominant than fruit characteristics in a wine. This can include notes of kalamata olives, mint or dried spices.

Nervous: This term refers to wines that have high levels of acidity with a lively taste and finish. This can be a positive or negative attribute depending on the wine.