Definition - What does Backbone mean?

Backbone is a term that characterizes a full-bodied, well structured wine with an evident level of tannin and acidity. The term is commonly associated with both red and white wines, but more often with red wines due to higher percentage of tannin and acidity as compared to white wines.

WineFrog explains Backbone

Backbone is a core term used to describe the structure and main root of a wine's branched characteristics. It describes a wine's balance of acidity, tannin, alcohol and fruit levels, varying depending on the style of wine, as each have a staple core characteristic that makes them unique, making the backbone exclusively relevant to the wine's style.

For example, the grape varieties used in red wines generally contain more tannin, and thus, it serves as a backbone to the overall firm and bitter taste of the wine, whereas white wines are backboned by acidity for their crisp and tart taste.

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