Miniscus: Wine Term
This word is not found in the usual dictionaries, but it means the edge or slight bulge of liquid where, within a glass, the wine contacts the rim of the vessel. The colour of the miniscus can be indicativeof many things – according to the original tone and colour of the wine, the rim will usually lighten as the wine ages and, in certain instances, it can show the rate of maturation. The tawny to a pale gold aureole of old claret is one example. With some lightish-toned red wines, the miniscus can seem very pale, even bluish. Certain red Rhone wines appear almost solidly black-red until they have acquired some bottle age. In white wines, the miniscus can also be so light that it is virtually colourless. This point may be the easiest to see some of the delicate lights in the wine: for example, the odd greenish glint in true Chablis, unique as far as I know, can be seen at the rim.
Another thing to look for in the miniscus is the way in which the wine clings to the glass – or does not. Some people assume that a wine appearing to be thick, almost semi-oleaginous at the rim, leaving long trails down the sides of the glass if swirled around, is inclined to be asweet sticky kind of wine, but this is not so. The suggestion of a firm texture and an almost glutinous character is usually indicative – in a table wine – of definite character and quality. In a sweet wine, of course, the rim will be thicker and more ‘oily’, and naturally also in many fortified wines, but a young claret or red Burgundy may indicate its future promise of greatness by this definite, apparently thick miniscus in addition to any indications provided by the colour.