Definition - What does Steely mean?

Steely is an adjective used in wine tasting to describe a wine which is perceived to be prominent in acidity and is often used when describing young, light-bodied white wines. Steely may be synonymous with "sharp."

Such a wine may also be considered "green" and young or with characteristics similar to certain crisp fruits as green apple, lemon and lime. These are wines that are typically not aged in barrels.

WineFrog explains Steely

A steely wine is one which is perceived to be harsh in acidity. For some, this is undesirable, while for others, it is the opposite. Steely may also be synonymous with other descriptors which describe a wine that is most prominent in its acidity. It is not to say that the wine is out of balance.

Such a wine may serve a purpose as an aperitif to whet an individual's palate. It may also be served deliberately as its acidity balances well with foods that contain a high fat content, such as creamy cheeses or with a cream-based sauce, where acidity is meant to lighten fat content on the finish.

Some examples of steely wines may be Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris, Semillon or even some unoaked Chardonnay.

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