Definition - What does Unbalanced mean?

Unbalanced is a word used to describe a wine which is out of balance. This characteristic may occur during the wine-making process or in a blending process by which other wines are assembled together to impart various characteristics from one another. A wine which is unbalanced may be lacking in acidity, have a high-alcohol content in relation to fruit/terroir characteristics, or the texture on the palate to finish may be uneven.

WineFrog explains Unbalanced

An "unbalanced" wine is determined by a few characteristics. The characteristics considered are the aroma, bouquet, flavor and texture.

To give an example, if one is to taste a dry white wine which has a "soapy" or "basic" finish, this wine is lacking in acidity and is thus, "unbalanced". On the contrary, wines with harsh acidity are also unbalanced.

If a wine shows high alcohol (not based on alcohol content), meaning the alcohol is stronger than the fruity or aromatic character of the wine, it is out of balance (also described as "hot").

Red wines which have tannin structure may also be out of balance if:

1. The tannin structure is too harsh and cancels out more pleasurable notes such as fruit, spices, etc.

*Note: This can often be corrected by cellaring (aging) a wine.


2. The tannins on the overall palate are perceived to be uneven. This can be noted when the front of your palate shows stronger tannin than the back portion of your palate, or vice versa.

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