Wine Word of the Week: Legs

By Kori ~ July 31st, 2008.

This week’s Wine Word of the Week is legs (sometimes referred to as tears).

Official definition from Jancis Robinson’s The Oxford Companion to Wine:
Tears is a tasting term used to describe the behavior of the surface liquid layer that is observable in a glass of relatively strong wine. The wine wets the inside of a clean glass and climbs up a few millimeters. At the upper edge of the thin layer on the inside wall patches of the film thicken, become more drop-like, and eventually roll back down the inside wall to the liquid surface. These traces of what look like particularly viscous droplets are also sometimes called ‘legs,’ and may give some indication of a wine’s alcoholic strength.

Layman’s terms from Kori:
When you swirl a glass of wine or take a sip and then hold the glass upright and still, the residual “clear” liquid that you notice slowly dripping down the inside of the glass is called legs. Legs are simply an indication of alcohol. They are not an indicator of a wine’s quality.

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