While that glass of straw gold might taste beautiful, how are you supposed to know exactly where it’s from? Or whether it’s an €8 bottle of wine or an €18 top drop? Especially when the label’s in French?!
Well don’t worry. We’re not here to judge. But if we were, here’s where a lot of wine lovers slip up – even before they’ve taken the first sip…
1. You think you know your claret from a bordeaux but they’re actually one and the same. Claret is just another term for red wine from Bordeaux.
2. You say you don’t like chardonnay but love champagne. Chardonnay is one of the three grapes (and finest; blanc de blancs champagne is 100% chardonnay) in a classic champagne blend.
3. When you drink from the glass you grasp the bottom of the bowl rather than the stem. The stem is there for a reason, especially with fizz and whites – it’s to keep your hand away from the perfectly chilled wine. Even with reds, you should never cup a glass with your hands.
4. You’re in a glitzy restaurant and there’s a magnum of rosé being proffered; even though it’s three quarters empty, nearing the end, you accept a glass. Don’t. Chances are the wine will be oxidised (exposed to too much oxygen), lost its freshness and taste blah. Have the confidence to request a fresh bottle, and your taste buds will thank you.
5. There’s a special red wine you’ve been saving and think it needs to breathe. If the vintage has clocked up a few years and it’s at the peak of its drinking window, there’s no need to wait. All that time in the bottle means once it hits the air, it’ll only be at its best for about an hour or two.
6. You splash the wine into the glass instead of showing it some respect and pouring it softly, but surely.
7. You ask a sommelier or expert what their favourite wine is. A wine aficionado will likely enjoy the very best of everything, whatever the style or grape.
8. You’re a snob about supermarket own labels or house wines. Wine buyers invest a lot of time and money sourcing the highest quality at the most accessible price, so don’t write them off until you’ve tried and tested.
9. Prosecco is your go-to fizz but you don’t know it’s made from the glera grape, grown in the hillsides of the Veneto region in northern Italy.
10. An Argentinian malbec is your favourite red but you don’t know it’s a native variety of south west France.
11. When you’re alone, you don’t care what glass you drink out of, be it paper or plastic. But when you’re out and about, complain if you’re served a glass of bubbly in a wine glass, not a flute. Flutes are SO passé, sorry!
12. When a sommelier hands you a wine list, you’re too embarrassed to say what amount you’re prepared to spend on a bottle. A som is your best friend. Tell them your price range and not only will they thank you, but reward you with something much better than you would have chosen yourself.
13. You think a flight of wines is something that’s been flown in for a special occasion. Actually, it’s a group of wines, say six to eight, brought together to compare aromas and flavours, sometimes to taste with different food pairings.
14. You order the food and then the wine. A real wine lover will work the food around the wine!
15. Someone has generously gifted you a lovely bottle of wine and you place it in a sunny spot to show it off. Wine hates sunlight. Sunlight is to wine what daylight is to Dracula!