Wine Glossary: S to Z


Sharp — Biting acidity or tannins; a desirable characteristic in some wines when not present in excess; hard, not soft.

Smoky— Aromas of smoke imparted by fired barrels (also Toasty)

Soft — Low tannin or acidic content.

Spritz — The effervescent frizz of carbon dioxide on the palate.

Steely — A slightly metallic or mineral taste in wines high in acidity and/or made from mineral-rich soil.

Structure – Those components which tend to support or bind the body of the wine, giving its lift and intensity, such as acid, tannin.

Supple — Round, smooth, in contrast to tannic or acidic.

Sweet —Wines with significant residue sugar and those with outstanding richness or ripeness.

Sulfur — A commonly used disinfectant in the winemaking process used to stabilize wine; helps prevent spoilage from oxidation from exposure to air, and from harmful bacteria or mold.


Tannin — Bitterness found in the skins, stalks, pips of the grapes and in wood barrels;  a preservative, essential for wines that are aged a long time. Harsh in young wines, but soften as bottled wine ages.

Tart —Acidic.

Terroir — French for the characteristics of soil, topography and climate in a wine

Thin — Diluted, watery; lacking in body.

Toasty — Aromas imparted by fired barrels (also Smokey)

Tough —Excessive tannin.


Vegetal — Herbal aromas and flavors

Velvety — Smooth-textured with deep, rich aromas and flavors

Vinous —Complex, lively and acidity beyond simple fruitiness.

Vintage — Year that grapes were harvested

Volatile — Containing a high level of acetic acid, imparting the flavor of vinegar. (See Acidity)


Yeast —Microorganisms that promote fermentation, naturally or intended.