What Does Wine Structure Mean?
Wine structure refers to the main elements of a wine that one can assess while tasting. Meaning, you do not need to be a wine expert to pick on these elements. They are acidity, sweetness, body (if you remember, we have discussed that the term body refers to the viscosity or consistency of a wine. For example, a light bodied wine can be likened to water in its lightness), alcohol and tannin (another reminder is due here: tannin refers to the bitterness, astringency and complexity of the wine).
Talking about wine structure is really a way of providing flavor descriptors. For example, if you are interested in a low acidity wine you typically won’t go into a shop, restaurant or tasting room and ask for something low acidity. Rather, you might express that your preference is not for sour wines. A sour wine suggests higher levels of acidity. Acidity reduces the ability to perceive the sweetness of a wine and can even make your mouth water. For some people that is a highly desirable feature, but for many low acidity wines are easier to drink and all around more enjoyable.
Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are all examples of low acidity wines. If these are the wines you typically enjoy most you can think about the structure more in terms of flavor. For example, you may decide you prefer a sweeter white wine and try different Chardonnays.
If you’ve been frustrated by the difficult nature of describing the wine you know you want - you’ve tasted it but what are the words to describe it - you may be relieved to learn more about wine structure. This will open up a new world of communication and help ensure you are able to get your point across and seek out the wines you love and enjoy the most.