The world of wine can often seem stuffy, and you may turn your nose up at using frou-frou wine jargon to avoid sounding pretentious. However, there are some genuinely amusing words that we reckon you’ll enjoy adding to your wine vocab. Let us introduce you to a few.
You may be familiar with magnum bottles, which are twice the size of regular 750ml wines, but what do you call a bottle twice the size of a magnum? A Jeroboam, that’s what! This fun word is just a drop in the barrel for sensational names given to ridiculously large bottles (look up balthazar and nebuchadnezzar).
Before the champagne flute was introduced in the mid-1950s, the coupe was the vessel of choice for enjoying the coveted bubbly beverage. Legend has it that the bowl-shaped stemware, often made of expensive crystal and decorated with elaborate designs, was used by famous champagne connoisseurs throughout history, like Louis XVI, Napoleon and Marie Antoinette. Associated with a touch of nostalgia and class, the Gatsby-worthy coupe glass is back in a big way, for champagne and beyond.
The single most important quality of a wine is its drinkability. While this word may have different definitions for each drinker, the consensus is that a drinkable wine does well on its own, without food, and holds a good balance so as not to tire the palate.
A great word for all cork dorks out there. While too much air contact can turn a wine to vinegar, an optimal amount releases a wine’s aromas. Whenever a bottle is too closed or shy to show its true character, leave it open or pour into a decanter to aerate.
Another champagne-related word, mousse describes the texture and aggressiveness of a sparkling wine’s effervescence. Now you’re equipped with another way to say “bubbles” at your next dinner party.
A fancy way to describe everything you smell in a wine, the word bouquet feels even more relevant when the pour in question has wonderful floral notes. However, the bouquet isn’t always “violets and roses”, and a different style might smell of “barnyard and tobacco”.
Some feel that unadulterated expression of the grape is the best way to make wine, and a naked wine is exactly that, created with minimum additives and winemaking techniques that manipulate the flavour of the end product. This could mean no oak, no blending and, sometimes, no sulphites.
The squiggly screw part of the corkscrew is the worm.
At the bottom of the bottle there are often solid bits left over, and those are the dregs. “Draining the dregs” means to completely empty a bottle, down to the sediment.
Wine is alive, and, thanks to its unique chemical make-up, its flavours develop in a positive, diverse way once it hits the bottle. This change in composition is the wine evolving. The journey doesn’t end there, though, as the wine continues to open up and change in the hours after it is uncorked, which is as close to real life magic as you can get in the dining room.