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Tuesday 28 March 2023 Dublin: 11°C
6 foolproof phrases to convince your mates you're a wine connoisseur
Fake it til you make it…

ALWAYS WANTED TO be a wine expert, but haven’t quite got the time (or spare cash) to hit the vineyards and study up?

Well, never fear. Wine doesn’t have to be daunting. We’ve got the ideal, failsafe crash course in sounding like a sommelier – oh, that’s a wine waiter to you and me. See? You’re learning already.

Just a few more quick lessons and we’ll have you blagging your way to the top table in no time…

1. First things first

The basics: back to brass tacks. It might sound obvious, but everyone has to start somewhere, so start with the country, colour and grape. There are many grape varieties around the world, including newer hybrid grapes. Italy, France and Spain are the three top wine-producing nations, and therefore account for some of the world’s most popular wines.

Forget whether or not you were crap at Chemistry in school, because this is one periodic table you’re going to enjoy studying.

What to say: “Ah, this is a Beaujolais? I love French wine.”

What you really mean: “Beaujolais definitely sounds French, I know that much.”


2. Walk the walk

Once you’ve figured out what kind of wine you’re getting to grips with, it’s time to store it – somewhere cool, dark and dry. Then drink it, of course. When you’ve got the wine in your mits, one dead giveaway is the way you hold your glass. Yep – always by the stem, and never by the bowl.

How to hold wine glass Matti Mattila Matti Mattila

3. It was a very good year

Ever wondered why dates are important when it comes to wine? Well, the good news is that 90% of wine is meant to be drunk in the year it’s produced, so vintage isn’t something that many people will need to worry about. However, some wines do improve with age. (Just like people, wha’?)

What to say: “Ah, yes. 2014. A very good year.”

What you really mean: “Where’s the corkscrew?”


4. Buzzwords

There are four stages to wine-tasting: the appearance, the in-glass aroma, the in-mouth sensation and the finish (or aftertaste). Wines are often served “blind” so that the bottle or label doesn’t affect the tasting. Once you’ve got those basics down,  try breaking out some of the more out-there phrases wine experts use like: “astringent”, “zippy”, “legs”, “unctuous”, “fleshy” and even “angular”. Yep. Really.

Cheat sheet: “Wow, this full-bodied Merlot is really refined.”

Meaning: “Hope they bought that.”

winepour Giphy Giphy

5. Olfactory settings

Swirling a glass aerates a wine and releases its aroma - go on, get in there and give it a sniff. To taste a wine, swish it around your mouth and make sure it rests on your tongue before you swallow.

Cheat sheet: “Did you know that swirling a wine releases its aromatic compounds?”

Meaning: “Jaysus, I hope I don’t get this up my nose.”

swirl YouTube / expertvillage YouTube / expertvillage / expertvillage

6. Match made in…

Pairings can bring out the best in wines. Traditionally, a regional match is considered best – so if a wine is from a certain place in France, cheese from that area will often complement it. Other things to think about are: acidic food with acidic wine, sweet with salty, bitter with fatty, etc.

Cheat sheet: “This Bordeaux is ideal when paired with a steak.”

Meaning: “Let’s be real – wine goes with everything.”

PastedImage-69470 Shuttershock Shuttershock

Lidl are delighted to bring you an extraordinary and diverse selection of fine French wines, in store from Monday the 2nd of March, while stocks last. Choose from our hand-picked selection of wines from regions such as Bordeaux, the Rhone Valley and Alsace – with a nose to suit every taste. Find out more at

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