Wine Dictionary - How to talk about wine

How to describe wine


When it comes to wine and its taste expression, you must rely on specific words. Just in case you needed some help with words to describe wine to result fancy in front of your customers, here is the Choco wine dictionary exclusively for restaurants.

The Wine Aroma Wheel, introduced by Ann C. Noble in 1974, is the most popular example providing a language of descriptors based on the chemical compounds associated with different flavors and smells of wine. Below is our complete list of wine word categories, each one including specific descriptors you can use to express your wine's aromas, bouquet, or faults.


  • Fruits: citrus (grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarine), tree fruit (pear, apple, green apple, peach, cherry, plum), tropical fruits (melon, guava, lychee, passion fruit, pineapple), red berries (redcurrant, blackcurrant, strawberry, blackberry)
  • Floral: honeysuckle, hawthorn, orange blossom, linden, jasmine, acacia, violet, lavender, rose
  • Vegetal: vegetable (green pepper, tomato), fresh herbs (cut grass, dill, thyme, mint), dried herbs (tobacco, hay), leaves (blackcurrant leaves, eucalyptus)
  • Mineral: flint, kerosene


  • Spices: clove, nutmeg, licorice, cinnamon, pepper, vanilla
  • Nuts: almond, hazelnut, coconut
  • Woods: pine, cedar, sandalwood, oak
  • Yeast: bread
  • Malolactic fermentation: butter, yogurt
  • Animal: musk, leather
  • Undergrowth: tree moss, mushroom, truffle
  • Mineral: tar


  • Trichloroanisole: corked

  • Oxygen: sherry

  • Volatile acidity: vinegar, nail polish remover

  • Sulfides: rubber, rotten egg, onion, sweet corn

Alternatively— or better, after having mastered your wine palate— you can also express wine taste through your emotions. Epistenology explains how wine experts and artists can discover new tools to describe the taste of wine, involving painting or more creative practices such as describing your wine as a person.