Use the this as a guide when you're tasting wine for fun, and I think you'll be surprised to see how well this list of descriptive terms will help you recognize those elusive characteristics.
FRUITY: Citrus - grapefruit, lemon; berry - blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, black currant (cassis); tree fruit - cherry, apricot, peach, apple; tropical fruit - pineapple, melon, banana; dried fruit - strawberry jam, raisins, prune, fig.
VEGETATIVE: fresh - stemmy, cut green grass, bell pepper, eucalyptus, mint; canned-cooked - green beans, asparagus, green olive, black olive, artichoke; dried - haw-straw, tea, tobacco.
NUTTY: walnut, hazelnut, almond.
CARAMELIZED: honey, butterscotch, butter, soy sauce, chocolate, molasses.
WOODY: vanilla, cedar, oak, smoky, burnt toast, charred, coffee.
EARTHY: dusty, mushroom, musty (mildew), moldy cork.
CHEMICAL: petroleum - tar, plastic, kerosene, diesel; sulfur - rubbery, garlic, skunk, cabbage, burnt match, wet wool, wet dog; papery - wet cardboard; pungent - acetic acid (vinegar); other - soapy, fishy.
PUNGENT: hot - alcohol; cool - menthol.
MICROBIOLOGICAL: yeast, sauerkraut, sweaty, horsey, "mousey."
FLORAL: orange blossom, rose, violet, geranium. SPICY: cloves, black pepper, licorice, anise.