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Why wine words matter

In last week’s blog I talked a little bit about ‘wine words’ - those all-important building blocks in the language of wine. But why do wine words matter? What benefit do we receive when we expand our wine vocabulary?

We humans are creatures of habit. Studies have shown that families will choose the same set of sunbeds every day during a fortnight’s holiday (and will be disgruntled if they can’t use those same beds because someone else got their first!).

It’s the same in the wine world. Many of us choose the same bottles, the same grapes every time, without even thinking about why we’re doing so, or whether we could’ve been a little more adventurous with our wine selections. And while there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having your tried and tested favourites, that bottle you always grab as part of your weekly supermarket shop or the special occasion wine that you know will put a smile on your partner’s face, it’s always a good idea to keep exploring the wonderfully varied world of wine.

There are so many options out there to discover and new ideas, vintages and styles to sample. The world is truly yours to discover - and wine words are the key to unlock the mysteries and opportunities in the world of wine.

One really simple use for wine words is to discover related wine styles. If you’re able to describe why you like a wine, you’ll be able to discover those wines which are adjacent to your current favourites in terms of style, texture and flavour. They could be your future favourites! Here’s a few examples to get you thinking.

Pinot Grigio. Everyone’s favourite Italian white. Your wine words here could include zingy, fresh and citrus notes. Take these wine words and look for similar styles and you might find yourself on the path to gruner veltliner (Austrian), picpoul de pinet (France) or perhaps even a sancerre (also France).

Malbec lovers. Your wine words here may incorporate chocolate, licorice or black fruits. Adjacent wines for you might be a punchy primitivo (Italy) or a zinfandel (US, SA) or even a negromaro from Sicily. Give them a try instead of a Malbec the next time you have a steak - and write down any wine words that come to mind when you take a sip!

Looking for a white wine to drink in winter? Your wine words now might include full-bodied, apricots, creaminess or richness. And your wine styles to explore could be Condrieu from France, a Hungarian furmint or a good-value Chardonnay from the Macon region of Burgundy. Don’t believe the ABC (anything but chardonnay) crowd - the worlds best whites are almost all chardonnays (Meursault, Puligny, Chablis, Chassagne-Montrachet and so on).

Hopefully this technique of locating your wine words and then using them as the route into new wine discoveries is useful. If you’d like to find out more about expanding your own vocabulary of wine words, why not join me on a virtual wine tasting?


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