You may often see the term “cloying” used in the highbrow wine magazine reviews — most often when describing overly ripe white wines and dessert wines. Merriam-Webster defines cloying thusly:
” disgusting or distasteful by reason of excess
In wine terms, cloying is used to connote a wine that is excessively sweet in flavor (sentimentality might enter the picture, though it depends on your mood). Like most descriptors used in wine tasting notes, it is a subjective term — what one finds cloying, another may find “just right”.
However, seeing the term in a taster’s notes can be helpful to you. In nearly all cases, a wine that is described as “cloying” will have a high level of residual sugar, and therefore a sweet taste. Similarly, a wine that is described as ” .. ripe fruit, but not cloying .. ” suggests that it will have a flavor that might give the perception of sweetness, but not be overpoweringly sweet.