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Use these wine terms to sound like a Swan Valley wine tasting expert in no time!

22nd June 2018

You’re planning on a Swan Valley wine tour for some wine tasting fun. You really want to impress, but haven’t been wine tasting before or ever completed a wine appreciation course. It’s safe to say you’re not a wine tasting expert!

What if you want to come across as one anyway? What do you do?

Never fear! In our latest blog we are going to share some wine terms that’ll make you sound like a Swan Valley wine tasting expert in no time.

wine tasting

The Fruit

First thing you want to start with is identifying the fruit level. The wine will either be more fruity or more savoury. Common terms you can use here are:



Wine Fruit

The Sweetness

Now, to get in touch with your sweeter side.

Wines get their sweetness from residual sugar, which is basically leftover glucose from grape juice, which wasn’t completely fermented into alcohol.

The level of sweetness you taste can be characterised and described as follows:

Bone Dry

This term implies extreme dryness with no residual sugar and is usually accompanied by some astringency (dry and chalky).


Most still wines fall into the dry category, even though our taste buds might tell us differently. Dry wines range from no residual sugar to 1 gram per 150ml serving.

Off Dry

This is a popular term to describe wines with a touch of residual sugar, which can be anywhere from 2–3 grams of residual sugar per 150ml serving. Most off dry wines, are white wines.


Sweet wines are generally dessert wines and have a wide range of sweetness varying from about 3–28 grams of sugar per 150ml serving, depending on the style.

The Body

It’s time to talk about the body – the wine body we mean.

To keep it simple, think of the body of a wine as the difference between skim and full cream milk.

Light Bodied

Light bodied wines sit in your mouth more like a delicate unsweetened iced tea and are usually easy drinking.

Medium Bodied

The term medium bodied usually applies to red wines and is in the middle of the spectrum between a light red with low tannin and a full-bodied red, with high tannin.

Medium bodied red wines are known as “food wines” and they are moderate, elegant, fleshy, mellow and soft.

You can describe medium bodied white wines as airy, lean, crispy, brilliant, or lively.

Full Bodied

Full bodied wines fill your palate with their texture and intensity. They are rich, lush, opulent, buttery, bold, firm and structured.

The Big Finish

Now, for the big finale.

You’ve finished your first mouthful of wine – How does it taste? How is ‘the finish’? The finish is often the defining factor between a mediocre wine and an exceptional wine. So, what are the common types of finishes in wines?

wine tasting expert

Smooth Finish

Similar to a full-bodied wine, it’s common to refer to wines with a smooth finish as: plush, round, velvety, supple, opulent, voluptuous, creamy, buttery, lush, soft, or silky.

Spicy Finish

Spicy wines are a little more intense: Juicy, sharp, balsamic, austere, peppery, lean, edgy, or lively.

Bitter Finish

Bitterness is more like an astringent feeling that has the sensation of scraping the insides of your mouth.

For red wine: Chewy, muscular, structured, firm, rigid, closed, coarse or dense.

And for white wine: Quince, bitter almond, green mango, green almond, or chalk.

Why not try a few wines this evening and try it out yourself?

You might find yourself sounding something a little like this: “Oooh I just love this wine! It’s quite earthy and has a very rustic feel about it. It’s dry, definitely not a lot of residual sugar in this one and it’s most definitely full bodied opulent, rather. Oh! And that finish! It’s so strikingly supple – how divine! (Insert British accent here.)

Wine Tasting Expert

Start practising these wine terms and you’ll sound like a wine tasting expert in no time (just don’t tell anyone where you got them from).

Now, you’re ready to get out of Perth and go on your Swan Valley wine tour!

Haven’t booked one yet? Head to our bus tours page to book the Swan Valley wine tour today.


Posted in Wine Guide and tagged , on 22nd June 2018.

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