There’s a wine phrase circulating the internet that might sound weird at first blush. The term is “wine legs.” There are a lot of stories and mysteries hanging around it.
So, what exactly are wine legs? What is its importance in the sommelier’s world? In this blog, we’ve got to explain facts about wine legs in detail and debunk the myth behind it. So, here we go!
Get to Know Wine Legs
They call wine legs when you see wine droplets forming inside your glass. In its primary sense, these wine legs are the streaks of condensation your eyes can land into after the wine is sipped or swirled.
Want to see this spectacle right in front of your eyes?
Then try this one. After you pour the wine into the glass, gently and slowly tip it at an angle. Then, you’ll see the wine coating the side. Shift it back to its upright position and gaze as droplets form. These are the wine legs we’re talking about.
Because of tear-like features, people often refer to wine legs as “tears of wine.” In addition, wine legs are likened to church windows due to the elongated arch-like patterns they form on the sides of the wine glass.
Some even called wine legs to wine fingers. Whatever it’s called, wine legs are a regular phenomenon you can always encounter as you sip and enjoy wine.
The Misconception About Wine Legs
For a long time, people widely subscribe to a common misconception about wine legs. It is believed that the more legs wine had, the better its quality would be. Ultimately, this belief is false. While experts can’t precisely know how this myth starts, it’s a misconception roaming around for years.
Facts dictate that wine legs do not offer sufficient information about the wine. At the same time, some might think that wine legs are indicators of wine’s sweetness, quality, and viscosity. They do not. The truth is wine legs only represent the alcohol content of wine.
While wine legs might say something about wine sweetness, these won’t describe how sweet the wine would be in detail.
Sommeliers often argue that wine legs are a great representation showcasing the acidity and tannin levels inside a wine glass. But as of the moment, there’s no official research to back up this claim.
The Formation of Wine Legs
Now, let’s draw attention to how these wine legs are formed. The liquid surface tension causes wine legs. This phenomenon is where the resting liquid surfaces can shrink on a small area. In science, wine legs are best explained through the Gibbs-Marangoni effect.
The Marangoni effect leaves an explanation that liquids having different surface tensions tend to repulse each other. That is, they will most likely stay away from each other. As we all know, wines are loaded with water and alcohol.
These two contrasting liquids will then force each other out. The resulting instability effect is what we now call wine legs. So, wines with higher alcohol levels, like Red Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, will likely form wine legs.
To savor a premium wine-tasting experience, you’ve got to use all of your senses. Follow these steps to examine the legs forming into your wine glass.
- As you swirl your wine, tilt the glass on one side so the wine will freely flow on the other side.
- Afterward, level your wine glass and slowly observe your legs forming.
- Examine what the legs look like-how many and how slow the wine legs move.
The Importance of Wine Legs
Indeed, the slow formation of wine legs usually depends on many contributing factors. But experts suggest that the presence of wine legs most likely indicates an increased level of alcohol content.
So, you can use the presence of wine legs on your edge. It can assess the relative level of alcohol of the wine you’re drinking at a glance. The more wine legs your eye catches, the higher level of the wine’s alcohol content it would have.
If you only spot a few, the wine you’re having is probably lighter. In addition, wine glasses with more legs also indicate that there’s a higher sugar content. If the wine glass possesses several legs, you’ll probably feel the wine’s intense taste.
In this case, you should decant the wine. You can do this by placing the wine into a flask or large vase, increasing the wine’s oxidation level. Spending your time doing this can make your wines sit. And it would result in the perfect balance of acid and tannin.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re an avid lover of wines, chances indicate that you’re familiar with wine legs. But if you’ve only started drinking wine recently, wine legs might catch your attention.
To know more about this term, we collected the most popular questions on the web about wine legs. Discover more by reading the questions and answers below.
What does it imply when my favorite wine has legs?
As mentioned, wine legs are only streaks of water left in a glass after one drinks it. There’s no hidden or special meaning content to wine legs other than that they show the wine’s alcohol content.
Initially, wine storage temperature may affect the number of legs that might appear. But this number does not point to any valuable information about the wine.
Are wine legs indicate excellent or bad?
Study shows that there are no excellent or bad wine legs. These phenomena are neutral. Simply speaking, wine legs are only the remaining effect of drinking wine after you pour it. Since wine contains different ingredients, people think that wine legs hold detailed information.
This is not the case. Suppose you want to discover more insights about your favorite wines. It is better to refer to the manufacturer’s literature. You might even subscribe to their newsletter.
The Moment of Truth
Now you know the surrounding streaks you find on your wine glass. While it may be disappointing to know that these wine legs are not the secret codes waiting to be unlocked, it’s a fun and exciting topic for conversation.
While it may not have much, wine legs are still the fastest way of telling how high the alcohol content of your favorite wine has. So, unwind, and enjoy a fantastic wine!