Wine can certainly be complex. But the basics are actually quite simple. It all comes down to 5 traits that are essential to all wines: 1) acidity, 2) tannins (a type of protein present in some wines), 3) amount of time aged in oak (if at all), 4) how sweet or dry the wine is, and 5) the weight or body of the wine.
Acidity gives wine its tart and sour taste. In scientific terms, all wines lie on the acidic end of the pH spectrum and most range from 2.5 to about 4.5 pH. In short...the higher the pH value, the less acidic the wine will taste...and vice versa. In our scale, the right hand of the spectrum represents lower pH and, thus, a more acidic taste. One important note: sweetness decreases the sensation of acidity.
Tannin in wine is the presence of phenolic compounds that add bitterness to a wine. Phenolics are found in the skins and seeds of wine grapes and can also be added to a wine with the use of aging in wood (oak). Tannin adds balance, complexity, structure and makes a wine last longer. Of notable importance: tannins are known to dry your mouth out. We score all of our wines on a 0 to 5 scale to help you select the tannic level best for you.
Not all wines are aged in oak barrels. Everything from the type, size, age, grain, and treatment of an oak barrel greatly affects the finished wine. But we believe the amount of time a wine is exposed to oak is one of the greatest indicators of how a wine will taste. Our scale will tell you how long a wine was aged in its oak barrel.
Wines are often described by either their level of sweetness or their level of dryness. Though some may hate to admit it, these two traits actually exist on the same spectrum! Often, the very first impression of a wine is its level of sweetness (or dryness). Each of our wines is scored on where along the dry-sweet spectrum it lies. You might discover that many dry wines will have a hint of sweetness that enhance that wine’s Body.
The body of a wine is a description of the way a wine feels inside your mouth. Wine body breaks down into three categories: light body, medium body and full body. A good way to think about the difference between them is the way skim milk, whole milk, and cream feel in your mouth. While there are many factors that can contribute to a wine’s body, the main factor is alcohol where higher alcohol content correlates to a fuller body.