Ever looked at a wine list and felt like a helpless child? Or had a mild panic attack when a wine shop assistant asks what is it you’re looking for? Does wine tasting to you sound like a stressful day out?
Don’t fret, we all have to start somewhere. Even if you can’t tell a Sauvignon from a Grigio, or a Merlot from a Ribena, there’s hope for you yet with these seven phrases below. Fake it through your next dinner party with ease – and who knows, you might even be able to teach the wine snobs a thing or two.
1. ‘Ah, a German Reisling, what a treat’
Okay so first things first, you have to know from where your wine came. Country, region, colour and grape – now this may sound obvious, but do you really want to be that guy who compliments the French Beaujolais only to find out it’s a Californian Chardonnay?
Didn’t think so.
2. ‘Is that a.. I think it is, a Domaine Romanée Conti La Tache, my favourite’
In case you haven’t noticed, there are about eight billion different kinds of wine out there grown in pretty much every single region of the planet, including the garage where your weird uncle makes his own.
This makes it really bloody difficult to get your head around. However, all is not lost. There’s an easy formula for determining what is acceptable to utter around wine snobs and what isn’t. It’s simple – The Frencher, The Better.
Cabernet Sauvignon? You betcha. Pinot Noir? Excellent.
3. ‘Ah, I thought so. 2018, a very good year’
This one’s a cinch. Turns out that 90% of all wine is supposed to be drunk within the year it has been produced. Whopper.
Yes, it is true that some wine get better with age, but let’s never mind that. 90% is good enough for you.
4. ‘Mmm, robust’
When asked to taste wine before getting down to business and drinking it all, one must use a certain array of words to make sure one doesn’t sound like a twat.
Upon swirling, and consuming the first drop, under no circumstances should you use the words: ‘liked’, ‘didn’t like’, ‘good’, or ‘bad’. These are dead giveaways that you haven’t a clue what you’re on about.
Instead, pick any of the following words and, please, use them sparingly: Deep, Full, Smooth, Rich, Tangy, Soft, Bold, Robust, Acidic, Citrusy.
5. ‘Truly dense wine legs on show here, I do hope they serve the bread soon!’
Despite what you may be thinking, wine legs are a scientific phenomenon that can tell you key information about the alcohol level in the wine you’re consuming.
They’re the ‘tears’ that appear down the side of the glass after you swirl your wine. High-alcohol wines collect a higher density of droplets on the sides of the glass than low alcohol wines, and sweeter wines are more viscous, therefore the ‘tears’ will flow slower down the sides of a glass.
6. ‘I’m terribly sorry, but I do believe my wine is corked. Would you so mind, in your own time of course, fetching me a new one?’
Contrary to popular belief (among people who love to moan in restaurants), a wine being ‘corked’ does not mean that a piece of cork has fallen into the wine and has been left floating, and no that does not mean that you can send it back.
Corked wine is a term for a wine that has become contaminated with cork taint, meaning it basically tastes and smells like wet dog. If you are in doubt at all when you smell it just send it back.
On average, one in 12 bottles of wine are corked – people just are generally just too shy to say it when out for dinner. Not you though, you big connoisseur you.
7. ‘This Grüner Veltliner is ideal when paired with fresh herbs’
Good things tend to come in pairs. Mac and cheese, tea and scones, Netflix and chill – and it’s no different for wine and food. The two generally bring out the best in one another.
Cheese from one area may compliment wine from the next vineyard over, or a sweet wine may go hand in hand with salty foods.
Even though in your mind, wine tends to go with everything, throw this phrase around next time you’re out for dinner and wow your mates. They will certainly feel like they’re in the presence of wine royalty.