We use some words that are important to understanding our perspective on wine. A lot of them are made up. Here’s some help when you need it.

Aromatique: This is basically how the wine smells. Wine snobs use terms like “oakey,” which is okey-dokey with us, but we’ve never actually tasted oak. Have you? Anyway, give your wine a sniff or two, kinda like you do those leftovers of uncertain vintage in your fridge before you heat them up.

Breathe: Any good wine-tasting should start with breathing. In fact, just about any activity worth doing should involve breathing. But when it comes to wine, it means letting it sit a spell before drinking. Maybe while you use the restroom. Especially if it’s not your first bottle of the night.

¡buen provecho: Bon appetít!

Capsule: That little thingie at the top of the bottle. (read more)

Dessert Wine: Sweet wines, typically served with dessert. The precise definition varies by country. In the U.S., any wine with an alcohol content greater than 14% is classified as a dessert wine. It also puts it into the “fortified” category which means it’s taxed higher, too. (read more)

Fulcrum: The point or support on which a lever pivots.

Swish: Some people say “swirl,” but we thought swish” sounded like shorthand for Swedish Fish, and we really like Swedish Fish.

Teetotaler: Someone who does not consume alcoholic beverages. (We aren’t that.)

Tippler: Someone who drinks alcoholic beverages, especially habitually or to excess. (via Free Online Dictionary)

Vino tinto: It’s just Spanish for red wine, but sometimes we professional reviewers slip it in just to sound fancy.

Vintner: This is a fancy-pants word for winemaker. Technically, it means wine merchant, but we Americans aren’t so particular about our usage.