Wine Term: Cloying
Variations: Sweet, Flabby
What it really means: The wine is noticeably sweet, to a fault.
The wine is sweet. Destructively so. It’s flabby, unidimensional, and well…cloying.
Nothing good comes from this description of a wine, it’s a fault, even if the winemaker intended to make a sweet wine. Sweet wines should age gracefully and show evolving layers of flavors and bouquet, but always show layers and depths of flavor that can only express themselves from not being too cloying a wine.
If a wine is cloying, something is wrong; something is trying to be hidden in the sweetness. Imperfect harvest? Maybe. Less than optimal growing conditions? Maybe. Bad vintage? Maybe. So many things to hide.
If someone states a wine is cloyingly sweet, turn tail and run – it’s your safest bet.
How to effectively use it:
Don’t! If you are or on the verge of doing so, the wine isn’t worth it (or taking the time to mention it)!
If you find yourself able and willing to say, “Hey, this wine is cloyingly sweet,” don’t say anything, politely dump the glass in the spit bucket, thank them, and be on your merry way. No one has time for bad wine, even if it was (un)intentional. Nothing good will come of cloying wine, well…minus a good headache the next morning.