Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Is there a term to describe a still dry white wine that has a fizzy mouthfeel similar to that of a lemon-lime soda or a sparkling wine? Every time I drink a Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc, I get that fizzy mouthfeel.
—Chris, St. Petersburg, Fla.
I’m guessing you’re picking up on acidity, which can come across as a tingle in your cheeks and on your palate, like a squirt of lemon juice. Acidity is present in all wines, but it’s more prominent in white wines. I don’t typically hear acidity described as “fizzy,” since that’s a term usually associated with sparkling wines and their carbonation, but both are mouthwatering sensations.
There are a lot of fun ways to describe acidity it in a wine and because of that, it’s one of my favorite terms. Some of the words used to describe include but are not limited to: lively, fresh, tangy, zingy, racy, tart, crisp, clean, zippy, zesty, juicy, jazzy, energetic, biting or mouthwatering.
However, there are some white winss that do have a touch of carbonation, most notably some Portuguese Vinho Verdes, and those are often referred to as spritzy or having effervesence.