How To Identify The Characteristics Of Wine

Home / Wine 101 / How To Identify The Characteristics Of Wine
Photo by Timur Saglambilek

Wine is composed of four main elements: acidity, sweetness, tannin, and alcohol. These characteristics affect a wine’s taste, smell, and body. Join us as we explore the different ways to identify the characteristics of wine.

A wine’s acidity level is perhaps the most important factor in determining its taste. Acidity provides wines with their tart and tangy flavors. It also gives wines their crispness and freshness. When sipping on a glass of white wine, you might notice that your mouth feels dry or puckers up a bit. That’s because of the wine’s acidity levels. The higher the acidity, the drier and more puckering the experience will be.

Next, we have sweetness. As you might have guessed, this is the element that makes wines taste sweet. However, it’s important to note that not all sweet wines are dessert wines. In fact, many dry red wines have a slight hint of sweetness to them due to their grape variety or winemaking style. The key is balance; too much sweetness can make a wine cloying while too little sweetness can make it seem harsh.

Photo by Michelle Williams on Unsplash

Tannin is what gives red wines their astringent quality. It’s also responsible for the dry feeling you get in your mouth after drinking red wine. Tannin comes from grapeskins, stems, and seeds and it gives wines their bitterness, structure, and aging potential. You’ll notice that young red wines tend to be more tannic than older red wines; that’s because tannins soften and round out with age.

Last but not least, we have alcohol. This is the element that makes wines taste warming or hot. Alcohol levels can vary greatly from one wine to another; some may have barely any alcohol while others may pack quite a punch. In general, white wines tend to have lower alcohol levels than reds but there are always exceptions to the rule.

Now that you know a little bit more about the different characteristics of wine, we hope you’ll be able to enjoy your next glass (or bottle) even more! If you are ready to test out your new skills, then check out these Texas Wine tours!