SUMMARIZE: Finish, Balance, Complexity
A wine is balanced, or harmonious, when no single structural element - acidity, alcohol, sweetness or tannins - stands out.
If one or more of these elements predominates, the wine is said to be "awkward" or "disjointed."
In white wine, the key elements are acidity, alcohol and sweetness or fruit. (Sweetness refers to the taste from sugars in the wine while fruit refers to the flavor from ripe fruit, which your brain can interpret as sweet.) The elements have the following relationship:
Passionate about wine? Wine Spectator seeks an assistant tasting coordinator in its New York office. Get more details.
Sips & Tips | Wine & Healthy Living
Video Theater | Collecting & Auctions
New! Ratings Flash | New! Unfiltered