wineglass-300x168While you don’t need to have an education in fine wines to enjoy a Traverse City wine tour, exploring Old Mission Peninsula wineries and chatting with the locals can be much more fun when you know a bit of the lingo used to describe the different wines.

Here are some of the most common descriptive terms used by wine aficionados that will help you get the most out of your next Traverse City wine tour on Old Mission Peninsula or the Leelanau Peninsula:


Big – we think of big as articulating size, but in wine appreciation it means an all-consuming flavor that washes over your entire tongue and mouth.


Buttery – this doesn’t mean the wine literally tastes like butter, but rather that it is a less acidic wine, most likely aged in oak, with smooth and creamy (for white) or silky (for red) rich characteristics.


Cassis – a term that denotes the fruity flavor of black currants (a unique fruity taste – try some before enjoying Traverse City wine tours).


Charcoal – you might associate charcoal with old-fashioned barbecues, but as applied to wine it is a term that helps to describe a flavor that is dry and gritty.


Complex – for many wines the flavor changes from the time you take your first sip to when you swallow, and this is termed complex. Pay attention to how the complexity is described and – if they don’t elaborate – ask!


Flamboyant – you might think this refers just to fashion, but flamboyant in wines means abundantly fruity.


High Acidity – the higher the acidity in a wine, the more tart and vibrant the taste. You may also hear it termed angular, which means the taste is sharp in specific ways or austere, which means it has little fruit flavor in addition to the acidity or bright, which means it sets your mouth watering.


Oaked – wines aged in oak barrels benefit from a variety of flavor nuances.


Tannins – this occur naturally in different fruits, seeds, and plants and is what make some types of wine taste drier than others. You may hear that a wine has chewy tannins meaning it is so dry that you will feel the residue of tannins on the inside of your mouth, or grippy tannins which means it will dry your mouth more with each sip.


Ready to broaden your vocabulary for wine descriptions? Learn from some of Michigan’s finest wine producers while you enjoy Traverse City wine tours.


Contact Old Mission Tours to select one of our popular tours or design a custom itinerary of the award-winning wineries near Traverse City, MI. For more information or a reservation, call us at (231) 883-TOUR.