This post was originally published in 2016
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2016 Wine and Beer Event: Tasting Cheat Sheet

So you are coming to our Wine and Tasting Event (we hope), and you want to sound like a true wine/beer connoisseur. Well you came to the right place because Winnetka Community House and the Woman’s Board want you to have a great event so we have put together a “Wine and Beer Tasting Cheat Sheet”.

Here are some words to know and help you the wine sipper sound like a pro:

  • APPEARANCE: Refers to a wine’s clarity, not color.
  • AWKWARD: Describes a wine that has poor structure, is clumsy or is out of balance (please don’t use this to describe the person next to you).
  • BALANCE: A wine has balance when its elements are harmonious and no single element dominates.
  • BRIGHT: Used for fresh, ripe, zesty, lively young wines with vivid, focused flavors.
  • BRILLIANT: Very clear (and transparent in white wines) appearance with no visible particulates or suspensions. May be sign of flavour deficiency in heavily filtered wines (unlike awkward you can use this one to describe WCH staff, volunteers, and sponsors).
  • FRESH: Implies the lively fruity acidity, maybe even a little bite of acid, found in youthful light reds, roses and most whites. All young whites should be fresh. The opposite is flatness or staleness.
  • HALF-BOTTLE: Holds 375 millilitres or 3/8 litre (the raffle winner gets a bottle that holds EIGHT half-bottles).
  • NON-VINTAGE: Blended from more than one vintage. This allows the vintner to keep a house style from year to year. Many Champagnes and sparkling wines are non-vintage. Also, Sherry and the non-vintage Ports, the tawnies and the rubies.
  • PUNGENT: Having a powerful, assertive smell linked to a high level of volatile acidity (you won’t use this one but pungent is a fun word).
  • VIN: French Word for Wine (if we hear you using this we will expect you to answer this question “Parlez-vous français?”).

Now for you Beer Drinkers here are your words to sound like a Beer Snob:

  • AMBER: Describes medium intensity colored beers, ranging between pale and dark.
  • BITTERING-HOPS: Refers to hop additions that take place early in the boiling stage of the brewing process. The longer hops are boiled, the more bittering characteristics will come from those hops.
  • BITTER: Marked by a sharp dryness derived from hops’ alpha acids or roasted malts.
  • CRISP: Dry and firm in bitterness, mouthfeel or flavor.
  • DELICIOUS*: Highly pleasant to the taste.
  • HOPPY: Generally, having a high quantity of hops or hop characteristics; bitter, floral, citrusy, herbal or puckering in aroma or flavor.
  • THIN: Sparse and light in mouthfeel, body and/or complexity.

*For use by amateurs

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Wine and Beer Selection

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