How to sound like a wine expert

Wine expert Victoria Moore reveals what you need to know to talk wine with confidence

How to sound like a wine expert

Do say

There are some great wines coming out of Etna, the Jura, Porongurup and Swartland.

These four are among with world's trendiest wine regions. Look out for nerello mascalese from the volcanic region of Etna in Sicily; the beautifully named light red made with the trousseau grape from the Jura, France; the crystalline riesling from Porongurup in Western Australia and wines made with old vines from Swartland, South Africa. 


Mention the legs.

Legs are the rivulets of wine that run down the glass after you've had a good swirl. For some reason I've never been able to fathom, they are the first thing that wannabe wine gurus comment on, but are never mentioned by anyone else. 

Do say

Could we have an ice bucket for this red, please? 

Red wine is often served too warm - you'll know if the alcohol rushes up your nose when you take a sip and it lacks shape and definition. Stick it in an ice bucket (or the fridge if you're at home) for 10-20 minutes and it will taste more expensive. 


Stick to the big names

You pay a premium for the brands, particularly for Champagne, that everyone has heard of. Go off-piste, like those in the know. There are brilliant and great-value wines to be found in all sorts of country nooks and crannies. Try a Tasmanian sparkling wine or a South African cabernet sauvignon/merlot (also known as a Bordeaux blend, because it combines the same grapes used in the prestigious French wine.)

Do say

Screwcapped wine can be 'corked'. 

The chemical responsible for making a good bottle of wine smell like soggy old cardboard is called TCA. Although it's associated with cork closure, it can linger in a winery and go on to infect whole barrels or vats of wine - including those that are subsequently bottled under screwcaps. 


Hesitate or apologise.

So many people approach me with an apology - they don't know enough, they've always felt they ought to learn more... Stop right there! Even the nerdiest of wine experts doesn't know it all, but you'll rarely hear them admitting to that. Instead they will bluff, nod and spout on confidently. You should do the same - no one will ever know. 

Do say

This wine's showing well (or not showing well.)

I think we've all found ourselves in the awkward position of opening a favourite bottle for friends only to feel disappointed and faintly embarassed when they obviously don't like it. Wine experts never let themselves lose face over this. Instead, talk about the wine as if it's a prize poodle that's having a bedraggled day and say 'it isn't showing well.' Everyone wins. 

Check out our guide on how to match food with wine for further expert info. 

Any tips or tricks for sounding like a wine afficionado? Let us know in the comments below...

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