What are the “Legs” in Wine?
Legs? Love ’em!
Wine Legs? The thought may conjure up the image of a sea of men in tuxedos, sipping and swirling the finest of wines, and concluding that yes indeed, “The wine is deep and pronounced with incredible legs,” as they all concur, “Yes, indubitably.”
Fancy wine speak and flowery terms such as “wine legs” are often the cause of derision during a wine tasting. It doesn’t have to be this way! Tasting wine can be fun and enlightening, without being snobby or intimidating. Wondering what to discuss when tasting wine? Here’s a tip: stick to what you enjoy. You may have heard of wine legs, but to most of us, the term is not insightful.
So what do they mean?
What Are the Legs in Wine?
The legs of a wine can be a sign of two things; alcohol level, and the level of sweetness.
When you swirl wine in a glass and it coats the side of your glass, alcohol, and aromas evaporate, leaving the water-wine mixture behind. The mixture forms into droplets that drip back down into your glass. The higher the alcohol or the sweeter the wine, the thicker the droplets will be, and the slower they will stream down. And there you have the legs. Are these drops a sign of quality?
No. There are plenty of low-quality wines that are high in alcohol, or sweet and therefore have thicker legs. (We are regrettably thinking of that Port that we drank way too much of back in college.)
Likewise, there are plenty of high-quality wines that might be lower in alcohol and completely dry, showing less pronounced legs. (Now we are thinking of delicious Folded Hills Grenache.)
What Should you Talk about when Wine Tasting?
There is nothing wrong in talking about the “legs” of a wine if it’s something that truly interests you. But there are so many other fun topics to discuss during a wine tasting. Here are some of our favorites.
Aromas – It has been said that humans can discern up to 2,000 aromas, 200 of which can be found in wine. This topic is fun, challenging and never-ending. Deciphering aromas constantly changes as your ability to identify aromas improves, and as the wine changes in the glass from minute to minute, or in the bottle from year to year.
Region – Which can include a wines appellation, climate, soil, and elevation have a major impact on the taste of a wine. Even wine from two vineyard blocks, directly across from each other, made exactly the same way, can end up tasting completely different. It boggles the mind and can keep us talking for hours.
Stories – At Folded Hills, we love a good story. Stories are all around us; in the relics of the land, the original settlers, our family history, and every member of our team. Wouldn’t you love to know how a winemaker first knew they wanted to make wine? What are their favorite wines they have ever made, or tasted? Where do they love to travel to and taste wine? Just ask. Believe us, the employees of a winery love to talk about more than just the legs!
Everything else – Just because you are wine tasting, doesn’t mean the conversation has to be all about the wine. If you are with friends and family, use that time to catch up and be present with each other. Sometimes people feel like they need to make an insightful comment on the wine or be quiet and courteous just because they’re in a tasting room. No way! Wine tasting should be fun and celebratory. A time to cherish with good friends. Enjoy every moment in whatever way is most comfortable to you.
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