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10 Popular Wine Descriptions & What They Mean


New The Know Your Wine Series

HOW MANY OF YOU have read a wine label and the words just did not make sense? That’s understandable. It is jargon but if we can put some logic to it, it would be simple and you can sound like a wine pro in no time. Here are some popular examples which can be at times confusing but worth defining.

Wine terms. Aren't they confusing?
Wine terms. Aren’t they confusing?

1. Astringent

This refers to the acidity and tannins. Acidity can be defined as how sour the wine is and tannins can be defined as how bitter the wine is. Technically, when we call a wine astringent, it means it is very acidic and tannic.

 2. Closed

I normally define wine as closed if I can’t get much of the aroma from the wine.

 3. Crisp

Another word for saying the wine gives you a fresh feeling. Like having a refreshing cool drink on a hot day.Wine-Glasses-8

4. Dark Fruit

The direct definition for dark fruit would be having flavour which resembles blackcurrant, plum, blueberry and black berry. It is also used to define wines that are full-bodied. When we mention that it is a full bodied wine, it generally has a higher percentage in alcohol exceeding 13%.

5. Flat

A wine that is not acidic and is less flavourful.

6. Jammy

The fruit flavour in the wine tastes like jam.

7. Legs

The presence of legs or tears in a wine indicates a higher alcohol content and legs can be found after the swirling process of the wines in the wine

8.  Short

The lingering taste of wine in the mouth is very brief and when the wine is defined as long, the taste lingers in the mouth for a longer period.

9. Red Fruit

When we say the wine has red fruit flavour, we are referring to fruits like cherry, strawberry, cranberry, raspberry and jam. The presence of red fruit in the wine also indicates a light-bodied wine which has lower alcohol level for e.g. 11%.


A tart wine is defined as wine with sour, equivalent to sour cream due to yeast flavours.


And that concludes the 10 most popular wine descriptions but believe me this is only the tip of the iceberg. I would be more than happy to share more wine descriptions, all you have to do is ask.

Till next time, Have a “WINEderful” Day! 


Trina is the founder of Wine Tasting Malaysia, an online based wine enthusiast group with weekly wine tasting events all around the Klang Valley. Often found with a wine glass in her hand, she truly believes life is so much more WINEderful with wines. She is currently on a quest to gather 1000 wine enthusiasts in Malaysia. Be part of her quest by joining Wine Tasting Malaysia via Wine Tasting Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) ─ Meetup  or Facebook’s winetastingmalaysia  She calls Subang Jaya her home and can be reached at

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