Wine Words Demystified: Balance

You know the deal, the more some folks learn about a topic, the more shortcuts/slang/acronyms/initials can be tossed around.  I’m here to help you understand those sometimes mysterious words and phrases, thus – Wine Words Demystified!

This week’s word is balance

According to Karen MacNeil‘s The Wine Bible:

An equilibrium among the components of wine (ACID, ALCOHOL, FRUIT, TANNINS, and so on) such that no one characteristic stands out like a sore thumb.  Great wines have balance.

In other words no single component should overwhelm the others.  The usual suspect for an unbalanced wine is fruitiness.  What’s wrong with fruity you may ask?  After all wine is made from grapes shouldn’t it be fruity?  Yes, it should, but using orange juice as an example, there’s a difference between fresh squeezed orange juice, and cheap supermarket orange drink.   With fresh squeezed orange juice there’s some acidity to balance the sweetness of the juice.  With the cheap orange drink there’s only the sweetness of the fruit.

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