Wine Terms: Balance
Wine Terms: Balance
Jan 01, 2018


Balance is the ‘holy grail’ that winemakers and wine experts seek.


One thing's for sure: All good winemakers strive to achieve balance in their wines.

Wine experts often rate wine well or poorly depending on its balance. But have you ever wondered what exactly does the term ‘balanced’ mean? A balanced wine is one where its key components are all at optimum levels relative to each other. None of them should stick out like a sore thumb. Many have their own definition of what make’s a wine balanced. We’d like to put forward our definition in this article. For a wine to be well-balanced, 5 key components need to be in harmony. These key components are sweetness, acidity , tannins, alcohol, and fruit. Each of these components can take an entire article by itself to explain. But here’s a quick overview: SweetnessSweetness is something that we humans are hardwired to find pleasant. However, the sweetness has to be at the right level. Acidity (the next key component) complements sweetness very well. A sweet wine, like one from Sauternes, has a high level of sweetness that needs to be balanced with a high level of acidity.


Acidity is the component that brings a wine alive. At just the right level, a wine can be lively and will dance on your palate. Without it, a wine can taste flat and dull. Too much of it however, may leave a very tart feeling on your palate. TanninsTannins are something that you feel when you drink over-brewed tea. It sticks to the insides of your mouth and can make you thirsty. It’s much easier to feel tannins rather than to taste it. A high tannin level should be balanced with more fruitiness in the wine.


A wine’s fruitiness is something that gives character to wine. It is like the meat attached to the structure of the wine. Too little can cause a wine to feel hollow.


Alcohol is a component that helps you experience the flavors of wine. It helps carry the wine aromas to your olfactory senses. However, too much alcohol in wine and feel a lot of alcohol heat (and potentially a burning sensation). On the other hand, too little alcohol and the wine will struggle to expose its excitement.

Try to notice these 5 components when you take your next sip of wine. Assess for yourself if they are all in perfect harmony.

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