Glossary of Wine Terms
SALMANAZAR — Oversized bottle equal to twelve 750 ml bottles.
SHALLOW — Applies to a weak or watery wine.
SHARP — Describes a wine that is hard or highly acidic.
SHORT — A commonly used negative term for describing a wine with a finish that lacks distinction and disappears too quickly.
SILKY — Describes a wine that is soft, smooth, fine textured and velvety.
SMOKEY — Describes wines that have the flavor or aroma of smoke, which can come from the soil in which the grapes were grown or from the barrels used in aging.
SOFT — Describes a wine that is round and low in acidity; not hard or harsh.
SOLERA — Spanish system used for blending and aging fortified wines by progressively adding younger wines to older ones.
SOUR — Denotes a wine that has spoiled to the point of becoming undrinkable. Often used incorrectly to mean the opposite of sweet.
SPICY — Describes wine that have flavors and aromas characteristic of certain spices, such as clove, nutmeg, pepper and cinnamon.
SPRITZY — Describes wines with a tiny amount of sparkle-specks of carbonation left over from vinification. Usually undesirable, though sometimes adds liveliness to light, simple white wines.
STALKY — Describes wines that have a green or vegetal flavor or aroma due to contact with the stems.
STORAGE — See Cellaring
STRUCTURE — Term used to mean the way in which a wine is held together in regard to its components (fruit, tannins, acids, etc.)
STYLISH — Applied to young, well-structured wines that show a certain dash and verve or personality.
SULFUR DIOXIDE (SO2) — Chemical used to prevent wines from oxidizing. The gas can give an unpleasant odor to a wine if it becomes noticeable. Often it will “blow off” quickly after a bottle is opened
SUPPLE — Term of praise used to indicate that a wine is velvety and round.
SUR LIE — Practice of aging wines “on the lees,” in contact with dead yeast cells and other sediments left over from vinification. Increasingly common practice with fine white wines, sparkling wines, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc to add complexity to the wine.