Wine 101

Decoding common terminology: a beginners guide to all things wine 

hand holding wine on top of counter

When it comes to the intricacies of the wine world, it may seem like there’s a lot to learn (and there is!), but starting with the basics can help. Luckily, here to help. We’ve crafted a beginner’s guide to wine, decoding some common wine terminology to help you read between the lines… or should we say wines

Passionate about crafting a menu filled with both local and international labels, we believe a good wine list is all about balance and structure — and that’s exactly what we’ve crafted here at Peacock. Championing the notion that wine should be accessible, varying tastes and price points are carefully considered in an effort to showcase the hardworking craftspeople that share our passion for thinking outside the box.

Developing relationships with winemakers in Halifax and beyond, we’ve sourced unique products that cater both to seasoned sippers and those looking for a wine education that will help them discover something new. Having recently achieved #9 on the list of best new restaurants according to Canada’s 100 Best, it’s clear the ever-evolving list of small-production and hard-to-find bottles, paired with Chef Moira Murray’s menu of seasonal shareable plates, is hitting a note with Haligonians and visitors alike. 

For any diners who have spent way too long perusing a wine list only to panic-order at the last minute, or perhaps for those who don’t consider themselves wine aficionados, allow us to enlighten you with a helpful glossary of wine terms. With this vocabulary in your back pocket, you’ll be well on your way to amateur sommelier status. 

Bookmark this cheat sheet for later!

  • Terroir: The environment in which a grape’s vines grow, including everything from soil to altitude to climate.

  • Vintage Variation: Together with terroir, this includes all the environmental characteristics that affect a wine’s aroma, flavour, and overall quality from one year to the next.

  • Nose: The variety of aromas that pop off the wine when it is initially poured and as it develops in the glass.

  • Bouquet: A term used to describe the opening up of secondary and tertiary characteristics on the nose after decanting. More colloquially, the whole shebang of what you’re smelling.

  • Body: The structure of the wine along with its weight and length on your palate. 

  • Tannins: That tight, slightly vegetal puckering or astringency that gives the feeling of dehydrating your entire mouth. Essentially, a wine’s pucker power. Bitter, subtle, or finessed,  tannins paint a broader picture of vintages and varietals.

  • Macerate: The process of imparting colour, flavour, texture and tannin in the fermentation process.

  • Minerality: That feeling as if you licked a salty stone — in a good way. In essence, truly tasting all aspects of the soil in which the vines grow.

  • Brut: A direct translation for dry.

  • Biodynamic Wine: Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition. For wine, this means treating the vineyard like a living, breathing organism in combination with organic farming. Simply put, no chemicals, no pesticides, and no additives. Biodynamic wine is the product of winemaking with the lowest intervention possible.

  • Skin Contact: Either a little or a lot of maceration time. Typically, maceration is more frequently used for white wine fermented with the skins. Colloquially called orange wine, but it’s not always orange!

  • Coravin: A very handy tool that allows you to pour wine out of a bottle by penetrating the cork via a system that replaces oxygen with argon gas. By using a coravin at Peacock, we’re able to pour high-end wine without the risk of spoilage and offer a small taste of something truly special.

There you have it, a quick go-to glossary of the basics to keep you on top of your wine game. Need a recommendation? Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are always available to answer any questions, share their favourites, and provide a rundown of what’s new. Whether you plan to stop in for a quick sip or relax and linger over dinner and a couple of bottles or glasses, our cozy waterfront nest is the perfect hideaway for quick pop-ins and leisurely evenings out.

See you soon!

When it comes to the intricacies of the wine world, it may seem like there’s a lot to learn (and there is!), but starting with the basics can help. Luckily, our very own General Manager and Wine Director James Pottie has crafted a beginner’s guide to wine, decoding some common wine terminology to help you read between the lines… or should we say wines

Passionate about crafting a menu filled with both local and international labels, James believes a good wine list is all about balance and structure — and that’s exactly what he’s crafted here at Peacock. Championing the notion that wine should be accessible, varying tastes and price points are carefully considered in an effort to showcase the hardworking craftspeople that share our passion for thinking outside the box.

Developing relationships with winemakers in Halifax and beyond, James sources unique products that cater both to seasoned sippers and those looking for a wine education that will help them discover something new. Having recently achieved #9 on the list of best new restaurants according to Canada’s 100 Best, it’s clear the ever-evolving list of small-production and hard-to-find bottles, paired with Chef Moira Murray’s menu of seasonal shareable plates, is hitting a note with Haligonians and visitors alike. 

For any diners who have spent way too long perusing a wine list only to panic-order at the last minute, or perhaps for those who don’t consider themselves wine aficionados, allow us to enlighten you with James’ helpful glossary of wine terms. With this vocabulary in your back pocket, you’ll be well on your way to amateur sommelier status. 

Bookmark this cheat sheet for later!

  • Terroir: The environment in which a grape’s vines grow, including everything from soil to altitude to climate.

  • Vintage Variation: Together with terroir, this includes all the environmental characteristics that affect a wine’s aroma, flavour, and overall quality from one year to the next.

  • Nose: The variety of aromas that pop off the wine when it is initially poured and as it develops in the glass.

  • Bouquet: A term used to describe the opening up of secondary and tertiary characteristics on the nose after decanting. More colloquially, the whole shebang of what you’re smelling.

  • Body: The structure of the wine along with its weight and length on your palate. 

  • Tannins: That tight, slightly vegetal puckering or astringency that gives the feeling of dehydrating your entire mouth. Essentially, a wine’s pucker power. Bitter, subtle, or finessed,  tannins paint a broader picture of vintages and varietals.

  • Macerate: The process of imparting colour, flavour, texture and tannin in the fermentation process.

  • Minerality: That feeling as if you licked a salty stone — in a good way. In essence, truly tasting all aspects of the soil in which the vines grow.

  • Brut: A direct translation for dry.

  • Biodynamic Wine: Biodynamics is a holistic, ecological, and ethical approach to farming, gardening, food, and nutrition. For wine, this means treating the vineyard like a living, breathing organism in combination with organic farming. Simply put, no chemicals, no pesticides, and no additives. Biodynamic wine is the product of winemaking with the lowest intervention possible.

  • Skin Contact: Either a little or a lot of maceration time. Typically, maceration is more frequently used for white wine fermented with the skins. Colloquially called orange wine, but it’s not always orange!

  • Coravin: A very handy tool that allows you to pour wine out of a bottle by penetrating the cork via a system that replaces oxygen with argon gas. By using a coravin at Peacock, we’re able to pour high-end wine without the risk of spoilage and offer a small taste of something truly special.

There you have it, a quick go-to glossary of the basics to keep you on top of your wine game. Need a recommendation? Our friendly and knowledgeable staff are always available to answer any questions, share their favourites, and provide a rundown of what’s new. Whether you plan to perch and pour during Happy Hour or relax and linger over dinner and a couple of bottles or glasses, our cozy waterfront nest is the perfect hideaway for quick pop-ins and leisurely evenings out.

See you soon!

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