Wine is one of the well-loved drinks in the world. It is because of its social and cultural significance, health benefits, and unique taste. Perhaps you haven’t tasted this beverage yet. You may be asking yourself, “what does wine taste like?” This article reveals the different flavor profiles of red and white wine.
How to Taste Wine
To fully appreciate a wine’s taste, you have first to understand the elements to describe it. When you take a sip, your tongue detects the taste sequentially, and the brain processes them. Following the natural tasting sequence will allow you to best describe the wine’s taste.
1. Identify the Sweetness
The wine’s sweetness levels are the first characteristic you will notice when you take your first sip. The term “dry” refers to being the opposite of sweet. You can classify the wine’s sweetness into dry, off-dry, and sweet.
You can describe wine as fruity with distinct fruit flavors and aromas. We “taste” the wine’s fruity aromas through the retronasal passage. In other words, you are basically “tasting the smell.”
On the other hand, sweetness is a tactile sensation on your tongue. The best way to know if the wine is sweet is to pinch your nose when tasting. You will taste the sweetness (or lack thereof) without the fruity smell getting in the way.
Learn about the difference between dry vs. sweet in this video.
2. Determine the acidity
Grapes, a wine’s main ingredient, contains tartaric acid. However, the acidity levels across all wines vary. You can feel the acidity in your tongue’s mid-palate or the middle. The clue to a wine’s acidity level depends on how much you drool after taking a sip. Highly acidic wines can trigger your mouth to produce more saliva.
Acidity is the backbone of white wine. You can classify a wine as “crisp” when you taste distinct tartness. Meanwhile, you can describe it as “soft” when it has no strong tartiness. It’s often referred to as easy drinking wine.
3. Taste the tannin
It is probably due to tannin if you have tasted red wine and felt dry in your mouth. It is found on grapes’ seeds, stems, and skins. Tannins, the backbone of red wines, can cause bitterness in the wine. However, the levels of bitterness are different for every wine type.
A wine taster tastes tannins in the mouth’s rear, on the gums, and inside your cheeks. When you taste red wine, you can describe it as firm, astringent or soft.
What does red wine taste like?
You probably have heard that red wine is good for the heart. It’s also an excellent accompaniment to chicken and red meat. Read on to give you an idea of how it tastes.
What is red wine?
Red wine is made through the fermentation of dark-skinned grape juices. Its production process includes macerating pressed grape juice called must. The next step would be fermenting the must with dark grape skins to provide flavor, tannin, and color to the wine. When yeast converts grape sugar into carbon dioxide and ethanol, the resulting product is alcohol.
How does red wine taste?
A red wine’s taste usually depends on the taster’s palate and flavor perceptions. Red wine lovers typically disagree about how their beloved drink tastes. Generally, red wine has a sweet, dark flavor.
Some varietals can be bitter and drier than others. Wine enthusiasts consider red wine good if it has the perfect balance of sour, bitter, and sweet elements. However, some red wine varieties have spicy or salty flavors, although rare.
Do red wine, and grape juice taste the same?
Some beginner wine tasters might expect red wine to taste like grape juice since they both come from grapes. While most have a slightly similar taste to grape juice, some varieties have no resemblance to grapes at all.
The wine’s sharper taste comes from fermentation, which converts sweet grape juice into alcohol. Other ingredients such as fruit flavors make red wine different from grape juice.
If you’re looking for a red wine that’s reminiscent of grape juice, you may try the following variants:
- Pinot Noir
Check out the Pinot Noir and Merlot wines in this video.
What are red wine tasting characteristics?
Understanding red wine tasting terms can help you appreciate its flavors. These elements contribute to the overall taste of wine and allow you to describe them better.
|Fruity taste, light, and crisp
|Slightly heavier with fruity flavors
|Complex and dry taste; sometimes bitter and acidic
|It leaves the mouth feeling dry; the higher the tannin, the drier the feeling in the mouth.
What does white wine taste like?
Many people know white wine to be lighter and more refreshing than its red counterpart. It’s also good for the health due to its antioxidant components. If you’re planning on drinking this beverage, check out how it tastes.
What is white wine?
White wine comes from white or green grapes. Like red wine, it also goes through fermentation. However, it goes through the process without the grape skins. Since it doesn’t get into contact with the skin, it produces a yellow-gold cold color and creates a lighter taste.
How does white wine taste?
White wine can range from dry to sweet. Generally, it isn’t bitter due to the lack of tannins. It doesn’t have the same grape skin contact as red wines since manufacturing requires only the fruit pulp.
The flavor of white wine is crisper than red wine. Imagine hints of freshly cut grass, citrus and stone fruit notes, and floral flavors. Wine enthusiasts reveal that the best-tasting white wines are more acidic than red wine.
Does white wine taste like citrus juice?
You can find a hint of highly acidic fruits such as lime, grapefruit, and lemon in some white wines. An Italian Pinot Grigio can provide the same refreshing feeling as a cold glass of lemonade. You can also taste these flavor profiles in dry and young wines such as the following:
- Dry Riesling
What are white wine tasting characteristics?
White wine is often associated with celebrations and fun gatherings with friends. It would be nice to appreciate it more using the following characteristics:
|No perceivable sweetness
|A dry wine that offers a clean taste in the mouth
|The taste of sugar is dominant
|There’s a perfect balance between sweetness, bitterness, and acidity
|High in acidity and tannins
|A pleasant flavor of fruit was noticed by the nose and mouth
|White wine processed with carbon dioxide
|An intensely floral and fruity sensation in the nose and mouth
What are the flavors of famous red and white wines?
Now that we know more about the basic tastes of red and white wines, it’s time to discuss the specific variants and their flavors.
How do famous red wines taste?
You may find the following red wine options in restaurants, bars, and liquor stores. Each one has a unique taste and flavor profile.
This Argentinian wine combines mild hints of spice with dark fruit flavors. It pairs nicely with beef dishes due to its tastiness and flavorful aroma.
Wine enthusiasts consider this wine the best red wine available on the market. It has complex yet delicious flavors. It takes years for the tannins to mellow down and mix with other flavors to create a perfect balance.
A popular savory food companion, the Red Zinfandel has robust and bold flavors. It also has high alcohol content.
This famous wine perfectly blends the flavors of cherry and chocolate. It isn’t dry, unlike other red wines, making your mouth feel refreshed. You may pair it with light beef dishes and pasta.
This wine option is best for people who like a lighter red with high acidity. It’s a dry type of wine with a variety of earth flavors. Being crisp and light, it goes well with any meal.
How do famous white wines taste?
White wines may not be the top choice among wine connoisseurs. However, the following are popular options that are all worth trying:
Generally, you can taste a succulent, creamy flavor with hints of stone and citrus fruits. Its crisp and clean flavors make it a great food pairing companion.
This wine is famous for its lime, green apple, and lemon flavors. It’s a crisp, refreshing option that pairs well with many dishes.
This favorite lunchtime wine combines the flavors of tropical fruits with mineral notes. It has a fresh, clean taste that’s perfect when chilled.
This wine has apricot, sweet peach, and citrus flavor profiles. It’s a sweet, dry wine best for dinner or dessert.
Here’s a video showing the five white wines you need to taste.
Take a Sip and Taste the Wine
If you are a wine newbie, you may have asked yourself, “What does wine taste like?” This article explores the various tastes of red and white wine. Next time you’re at a party or dining at a restaurant, you can confidently try the best wine for your palate.
George Moore, co-founder of Wine Flavor Guru, is a charismatic entrepreneur with a rich background in California’s wine industry. Alongside Sylvia, he transformed a Sonoma County vineyard into a source of premium wines. George’s expertise in sourcing exceptional grapes and his approachable style make wine appreciation both accessible and engaging.