Many wine drinkers find themselves in a situation in which they have just tasted a fantastic wine but are at a loss as to how to express in words the attractive color, heavenly aromas and the beautiful complexity (sometimes cacophony) of tastes on their palates.
Let’s start with appearance. Some will say, “The wine is white”. While we establish that a white wine swirls in front of our eyes, a
wine’s appearance may offer important clues as to the wine’s method of production, its age and its élèvage (post-fermentation care).
Clarity, intensity, and color, better yet, its shade, offer us a few ways to describe a wine’s appearance and determine part of its character. I have broken down these categories and compiled a list of vocabulary to inspire the poet within you the next time you imbibe. See if you can use some of these descriptors when sharing your experience with your friends.
Clarity: is the wine clear?
-clear, clean, bright, shiny, lively, luminescent, brilliant, transparent, dull, hazy, cloudy, dense, dirty, foggy, opaque, impenetrable
Intensity: how intense is the color?
-pale, light, medium, dark, deep
Color: what color(s) do you see?
White-water white, straw, greenish yellow, canary yellow, golden, tawny, caramel, copper, chestnut, amber, brown
Rosé – light salmon, (yellow) onion-skin, fuchsia, cherry, pink, orange rose, apricot
Red – Violet, ruby, garnet, mahogany, mauve, brick red, scarlet, vermilion, coffee, pomegranate, ochre
Additional impressions: do you see bubbles, legs, sediment, crystals?