There are a lot of books about wine, but I haven’t seen much about how to describe its taste, adjectives, or anything in this area?
I fell in love with wine through visiting the most beautiful villages in France!
I used to be more of a beer drinker, but after touring France’s most beautiful villages and participating in the Medoc Marathon, I somehow fell in love with wine.
On our way from one beautiful village to another, we frequently see vineyards like this one. It’s a sight I’ve seen enough of.
And when you stop in a village like this, or even stay overnight and go to a little restaurant…
You can drink the wine of the region in these pitchers. Often there is no beer, or if there is, it’s cheaper than that.
When I was touring the beautiful villages, especially in the south of the country in the Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrenees, I would stay up until 8 pm every day to see the sights and drink these wines in the evening at the hotel, and they were cheap and delicious! After doing such repetition, I somehow fell in love with wine.
It’s hard to « describe » the taste of wine.
By the way, isn’t it difficult to describe the taste of wine? Most of the time, it’s « dry or sweet? « fruity » or something like that?
So, when you go to a restaurant, what kind of wine do you like? Have you ever had such an experience? I’m still like that. Anyway, I don’t have much vocabulary and I don’t know how to express myself.
By the way, if you go to a nice restaurant in France and look at the wine list, you will see this amount of wine. (It’s hard to tell from the picture, but it’s as thick as a dictionary!
It is very difficult to find the wine you like from such a wide range of wines, even in Japanese restaurants. So, I ask for advice from the staff of the restaurant or the sommelier, but I don’t know how to listen to them, it’s difficult….
Aim to de-frustrate! Use French to enrich your expression!
That’s where the French come in! Because French has so many expressions related to wine, right? It’s so funny how much these people love wine.
It’s impossible to use expressions as well as they do, but it’s good to know that there are some ways to express yourself. Even if you don’t speak French, I thought it would be useful to know the meaning and express it in Japanese.
So, I’m going to introduce some expressions that I thought I could use from my limited experience. I’ll try to write them with examples (mainly French wine) whenever possible.
The expressions I’m going to introduce are mainly based on the following sites.
I have been referring to this site from time to time.
Useful Expressions #1: « enveloppé » A little high in alcohol, but mellow.
In France, it’s just one word, « enveloppé », but it seems to have this meaning. It’s a powerful wine with a slight alcohol content of over 14 degrees, and you can certainly feel the alcohol content, but it’s well aged and feels elegant.
I think there are many Syrah and Grenache-based wines from the Cotes de Rhone.
Expression #2: « ouvert, » as in blossoming, maybe ready to drink.
It may be hard to judge when it’s time to drink, but I think it’s a good way to express yourself that you should know as a vocabulary. It’s just subjective. You might want to check the vintage of the wine (when it was made) before you use this expression.
The first wine that comes to mind that fits this description is a Pinot Noir from Burgundy. It might also apply to a nice, mature Bordeaux-type wine, but there seems to be a lot of high-end products here.
Useful Expression #3: « limpide » A feeling of transparency and lack of stagnation.
I think this is one of the expressions that can be used for wines that are refreshing, have a clean aftertaste, are free of habits, and are easy to drink, yet are of high quality. The word « clarity » doesn’t immediately come to mind when describing taste, does it? But I think it’s a word that conveys the meaning easily. We tend to use expressions like « light » or « refreshing, » but I think the word « transparency » has much more expressive power than those.
Wines that go well with this expression would be white wines from Provence, the Côte d’Azur and Italy.
Useful Expressions #4: « fondu » to blend together, to harmonize all components
This may be a bit of an advanced expression, but in short, how about using it when you drink a very nice, expensive wine?
Wines that fit this description would be Bordeaux wines such as Margaux and the Medoc region. I find it useful because it’s much more expressive than just « full-bodied ».
Other: Expressions that feel popular but don’t come up as quickly as you might think.
Here is a list of other expressions that I found useful. I thought it would be easier to visualize them in French. Of course, you can also use them when you travel.
- élégant 優雅
- équilibré バランスがいい
- étoffé 厚みがある
- frais フレッシュな
- glissant なめらか
- jeune 若い
- noble 高貴な
- puissant 力強い
- rond まろやか
- tendre 優しい