Wine Tasting Terms. What Do They Really Mean?

Wine has its own language. Yes, there’s a secret set of words that wine lovers, producers, wine retailers and sommeliers use, and only they know what they mean.

Well, today, we’re exploring the complexities but also the beauty of using the right words to describe wine. Why? Because wine is a complex beverage — you can find dozens of unique aromas in a glass of wine, and then there’s all those flavours and textures on the palate!

If you want to learn how to taste wine like a pro, take a private wine tour experience to the Yarra Valley with Chauffeur Drive, Melbourne, Yarra Valley and learn more, discover more and train your palate in one of our Masterclass experiences, learn direct from the wine makers themselves, taste up to 15 or more wine on taste for the days experience, you won’t be disappointed it’s a must do !

Here are the most used wine tasting terms and what they really mean.

Red and Blackberries

Red wine tastes like fruit; that’s why we love it. It can taste like any fruit, although grapes are rarely amongst of them. To further understand the fruits you perceive, it’s helpful first to identify if these are red or black fruits.

Red berries include strawberries, raspberries, red forest berries and cranberries. You can perceive them as tart red berries or ripe red berries, sometimes even as jam! Black fruit aromas include blackberries, black currants, blueberries and plums. Visit a winery in Yarra Valley to find lots of fruit aromas in the region’s Pinot Noir!

Some wine grapes display black fruit and others red fruit, so the aromas perceived can help you identify the variety. The perceived fruit ripeness has to do with the weather in which the grapes grew — tart fruit comes from cold climates while ripe, jammy aromas mean the grapes come from a warm region.


We often use the term tropical in wine tasting when assessing white wine. Some white wine smells and tastes like apples and pears; others taste like citrus fruits.

A few others taste like tropical fruit, which often means the grapes grew in warm conditions.

You might find aromas reminiscent of bananas, lychee, guava, passion fruit, pineapple or papaya. These aromas are common in wine from warm regions, but you can definitely discover them in cooler climate wine regions of the Yarra Valley.  You’ll find more balanced wines on a visit to the Yarra Valley, where the weather is temperate and precisely right.


Spice scents are typical in white and red wine, and there are several sources for these aromas. Some spices come from the oak barrels used to age the wine, including scents redolent of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, vanilla and other baking spices.

Other spice scents are unique to some grape varieties. Shiraz is known for its freshly cracked black pepper scents, and Cabernet Sauvignon often displays a complex spice-box scent. Who doesn’t love a spicy glass of wine?


Minerality in wine is hard to describe. Most people just say they perceive it because it sounds good. Still, some marine salinity in wine comes from vineyards near the coast, and highly acidic wines tend to have a mineral taste to them, too. What we do know is that the type of soil where the grapevines are planted doesn’t influence the wine’s minerality. Interesting right, learn more about how the terroir does impact the wines final release when you travel on your private wine tour experience to the Yarra Valley with Chauffeur Drive, Melbourne, Yarra Valley, there is something for every taste, sit back and relax while we spoil you.


Freshness in wine is critical and a clear sign that you’re in the presence of a balanced wine. Wine tastes fresh when it has noticeable acidity. That’s why lemonades are fresh, too. Acidity, though, is difficult to achieve. Adding acid (or any additive is frowned upon in the wine world) and wine grapes lose their edge as they ripen.

You’ll find fresh wine in cold climates like the Yarra Valley, where the grapes keep their acidity better. When wine doesn’t have enough acidity or isn’t fresh enough, it doesn’t taste very interesting. Take a tour to Yarra Valley to experience what fresh wine is with us!

Muted Aromas

You’ll also find wine experts talk a lot about muted aromas, and they’re just that. Aromas that seem tuned down, sometimes because they’re behind more intense scents, or sometimes because they’re subtle.

The opposite of muted is expressive when the wine’s aromas are intense. Sometimes swirling your glass is enough to wake up those scents! Swirl away on a luxury tour to the Yarra Valley and see what we mean, we can’t wait to show you, family, friends and loved ones, couples, romantic getaways it’s all here!

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