The fluidity of a wine is a measure of its degree of alcohol and or of residual sugars. It can be determined by simply tilting the glass and giving it a half-swirl, then observing what are calle dthe “tears” that run down the sides. The speed with which these traces mark the glass serves as a test. An abundance of tears that run dwn the glass slowly indicates a wine with strong alcohol content. Compare mineral water, which disappears in no time, with a cognac that meanders down the sides of the glass, lazy as a lizard on a stone in the sun.
Chaptalization, the addition of sugar to the must - though never to the wine - is practiced in certain viticultural regions, especially during the cold years (consequently weak in alcohol), and it can fool the wine taster. He finds himself before a wine that is rich in acidity, but with a consistent level of alcohol. Alcohol on one hand, acidity on the other, the result is a curious sensation in the mouth, something of a void. If the producer is in the habit of doing this to compensate for a lack of maturity of the grape due to excessive yield, or to harvest the grapes prematurely, by machine, without love or respect for the vine, it si an entirely condemnable act. This appearance can mislead the wine taster during the visual examination; he may perceive what appears to be a dense consistency.
There are five parameters that determine the degree of fluidity of a wine. Liqueurs and spirits are considered to be viscous. This is easily observed: the tears stroll down the glass like a bride walking down the aisle.
Very dense fluidity is tupical of vermouth and other mistelles of its type often consumed as aperitifs, fortified wines, port, and the products of late harvest. These are characterised by strong capillarity, an abundance of tears, and legs that are fine and close together.
The products of a very sunny terroir, dry wines whose structure is high in alcohol content, such as Mediterranean wines, or those from the New World, are considered dense.
In contrast, wines whse tears flow rapidly down the sides of the glass, often from oceanic climates such as those of the Loire, Calicia, New Zealand, or Japan, fall into the category of thinner.
Fluid wines, those that are light in alcohol and lacking in residual sgars, from particularly chilly climates such as those of Ne York, Germany Canada, Pagagonia and even Tasmania, have tears that plunge down the sides of the glass like seals off a bank, sliding into the welcoming sea of wine.