Tongue Spanking, Leathery, Chunky?! Wine Terms Prove Confusing, Study Says (and So Do We)

Hey, wine lovers: Do the wine terms "minerality," "leathery," and "chunky" confuse you? If your answer is "yes" or "maybe," you are not alone, according to a new study. According to The Telegraph, a survey conducted for Laithwaite's Wine asked respondents to rank terms and phrases used to describe wine by relative usefulness.

Trying to convey the taste of a particular wine can be tricky, and it's not uncommon for producers and experts in the field to get a bit too creative when describing wine. Descriptions should help you understand how something you've never tried actually tastes and if you're going to like the wine.

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The survey of 1,000 people conducted by the research firm One Poll founds the most confusing (and ridiculous) terms are: "firm skeleton," "old bones," "nervy," "wet stone," and the humorous "tongue spanking." These terms are more creative than common descriptors like "smooth," "fruity," or "oaky," and were taken from actual bottles of wine, articles by wine critics, and well-known wine websites. Apparently, "tongue spanking" is often used in reference to a wine as a higher-than-average alcohol content.

What were the better terms? According to The Telegraph "The most helpful terms were 'fresh' (considered useful by 47 percent), 'zesty' (43 percent), and 'peachy' (31 percent)."

When reading about a wine's flavor, it is best to find something specific, such as Pavle Milic's recent review for Chow Bella: "I also appreciate the lack of overbearing oak on this wine, and that's, of course, due to the fact that it is aged in stainless steel and neutral oak."

This description actually explains why this wine might have a slight "oaky" flavor.

Obviously, most descriptive wine words are subjective, but I'll take a "dry, zesty" wine over a "nervy" wine any day.

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Kate Crowley
Contact: Kate Crowley