What do you call white wines that have a citrusy, fizzy sensation?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

Is there a term to describe a still dry white wine that has a fizzy mouthfeel similar to that of a lemon-lime soda or a sparkling wine? Every time I drink a Riesling or a Sauvignon Blanc, I get that fizzy mouthfeel.

—Chris, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Dear Chris,

I’m guessing you’re picking up on acidity, which can come across as a tingle in your cheeks and on your palate, like a squirt of lemon juice. Acidity is present in all wines, but it’s more prominent in white wines. I don’t typically hear acidity described as “fizzy,” since that’s a term usually associated with sparkling wines and their carbonation, but both are mouthwatering sensations.

There are a lot of fun ways to describe acidity it in a wine and because of that, it’s one of my favorite terms. Some of the words used to describe include but are not limited to: lively, fresh, tangy, zingy, racy, tart, crisp, clean, zippy, zesty, juicy, jazzy, energetic, biting or mouthwatering.

However, there are some white winss that do have a touch of carbonation, most notably some Portuguese Vinho Verdes, and those are often referred to as spritzy or having effervesence.

—Dr. Vinny

Ask Dr. Vinny How to Taste Tasting Descriptors

More In Dr. Vinny

Short-term, is it OK to store wine at room temperature?

Wine Spectator's resident wine expert, Dr. Vinny, offers tips on how to keep wine at its …

May 10, 2021

Can I ask a restaurant to store my own bottle of wine there for a few weeks before I come in to drink it?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers advice for corkage and BYOB etiquette.

May 3, 2021

How long does it take a new vineyard to yield grapes?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how long it takes a grapevine to produce …

Apr 26, 2021

Which wines are “clean”? What does that even mean?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains that there are no "unclean" wines, and the term …

Apr 19, 2021

How many gallons of wine are in a ton of grapes?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains how many barrels, gallons, cases and bottles of …

Apr 12, 2021

Does wine age the same under synthetic and natural corks?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the pros and cons of a variety of wine closures, …

Apr 5, 2021