Wine Words: “Hot” Wines

Photo by David Wilbanks via fotopedia
Photo by David Wilbanks via fotopedia

 

Often, when wine people (winemakers, professional critics, tasting room folk, etc) talk about wine, they describe its technical characteristics rather than the different flavors you can identify. While a flavor profile is a good start and can lead you to deductions about the technical profile of the wine, it is by no means the be-all-end-all of wine talk.

One thing that comes up frequently is the “heat” on a wine; this refers mostly to alcohol levels, although it can sometimes mean the acidity of a wine. If a wine is high in alcohol (like many US wines, especially some Washington reds), it can have a burning or hot sensation in the back of your mouth or on your throat as you swallow. You can say things like “this is a hot wine” or “this wine has some heat on it”, and people will know that it’s fairly high in alcohol.

Alternately, they are talking about mulled wine and it is the holiday season. Use your context. 

 

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