What Does Wine Taste Like? All You Need to Know

what does wine taste like

Wondering ‘what does wine taste like?’ Tasting wine goes beyond simple statements such as “this is sweet” or “this is bitter.” While it’s not as complex as what wine connoisseurs do, it falls somewhere in between their level of expertise and the casual drinker’s. 


By understanding the flavor profiles of different wines, you can make better choices when selecting a bottle for your next dinner party. A classic example is pairing red wine with red meat, and in this guide, we’ll delve into why this is a winning combination. 


Whether you’re a newcomer to the wine lifestyle or a seasoned drinker looking to expand your knowledge, keep reading to discover the secrets of wine tasting!

Notes of Wine 

#1 Acidity 

Have you ever taken a sip of wine and the sensation made your entire face contract into a scrunched-up look of discomfort? That happens when the wine is just a bit too tart. The determining factor of tartness in wine is the acidity level. Wine tends to be on the more acidic side of the pH scale, and the most common ones are: tartaric, malic, and citric acid. 

#2 Sweetness 

It all depends on the type of wine you’re sipping, but the sweetness in wine can range from having no sugar to tasting sweet as honey. When you hear the term ‘dry’ in reference to wine, it typically means the bottle is lacking sweetness. 

#3 Tannins 

Not sure what the word tannin even means? Picture a wet tea bag on your tongue and the flavor seeping through is a great representation of what tannin tastes like. It’s described as the property of wine that dries the mouth, especially when sipping on a dark red wine. Tannins are what’s responsible for giving the wine its astringency, complexity, and body. 

#4 Palate 

Alcohol has a spicy flavor that warms the back of your throat. The typical alcohol content for wine ranges from 10% ABV to 15% ABV. There are a few exceptions that have a bit more or fall under 10%.

what does red wine taste like

What Does Red Wine Taste Like? 

Firstly, let’s establish what gives red wine its rich, deep coloring. The skin on the grapes determines the color of the wine. The longer the skin is kept on the grape during the process, the deeper red the wine ends up being. Red wine is usually enjoyed with chocolates and red meat and red sauces. Red Blends are increasingly popular and have a varied mix of flavors to them. 


  • Pinot Noir is a light, dry red wine with high acidity. It strays towards more earthy notes, and pairs wonderfully with salmon or beef stew. 


  • Merlot, a medium-bodied red, contains the perfect amount of boldness. Not too heavy on the tannins or the intensity of flavor. It’s best for sipping on with spaghetti, or anything for that matter! The versatility makes it perfect for every occasion. 


  • The classic Cabernet Sauvignon carries many flavors with it. The high acidity, strong tannins, and notes of vanilla create the warmest aromas in a glass. Enjoyed over a steak dinner, Cabernet Sauvignon is your red wine go-to. 


pouring white wine

What Does White Wine Taste Like? 

To produce a glass of creamy and succulent Chardonnay, the skin of the grapes must be removed as soon as possible during the wine-making process. Many people expect white wine to be lighter and more refreshing than its red counterpart – and this is true! 


White wine can vary from very dry to sweet, and it is unusual for it to have a bitter taste due to the minimal tannins it contains. After taking a sip, most people experience a crisp, fresh flavor with hints of fruitiness, citrus, and florals. 


A cold glass of white wine is the epitome of refreshment and celebration, making it a perfect choice for a relaxing day by the pool. So, next time you want to soak up the sun, consider opting for a sweet glass of white wine.


wine served on platter

What Does Expensive vs. Inexpensive Wine Taste Like?

Why is wine so expensive, you might ask? There are three key factors that contribute to its cost: oak, time, and terroir.


The most highly sought-after wines are aged in oak barrels, which imbue the wine with a vanilla and baking spice flavor and expose it to extra oxygen. This process has two effects: the tannins become less harsh, and the wine’s taste becomes smoother. A wine that has been aged in the barrel over time has a more intense and rich flavor profile.


The saying “the older the better” often applies to red wine. As it ages, the acidity and tannins decrease, and the fruit flavors become more nuanced, resembling dried fruit. Over time, the wine becomes rounder and smoother, developing into a delicious drink.


The quality of wine is also influenced by where and how the grapes are grown. Many vineyards prioritize producing high-quality grapes to enhance the wine’s flavor, resulting in fewer yields but more intense and flavorful wines.

So, What Does Wine Taste Like?

Wine is a beverage that is full of flavor and complexity. Whether you’re a seasoned drinker or a newcomer to the wine lifestyle, understanding the different taste profiles is key to making the right choice for your next dinner party. Wine can be tart or sweet, tannin-rich or light, and its flavor can vary greatly depending on factors such as the type of grape, the wine-making process, and the aging process. 


With its wide range of tastes and flavors, wine is an acquired taste that develops over time, and the best way to know what it truly tastes like is to try it for yourself. Whether you’re looking for a crisp, refreshing white wine or a bold, full-bodied red, there’s a wine out there for you.