Thursday, 9 August 2012

Drink Me! How to Choose, Taste and Enjoy Wine by Matt Walls

I discovered this book through Henry’s World of Booze and given that my tastes in wine normally veers nearer to ‘pish’ than ‘posh’, I decided that a easy reading guide to getting more out of your glass was just what I needed and promptly ordered in a copy. What more do you need than a simple crib to which wines will impress the father-in-law, how to tell what a wine tastes like by the name of the grape variety, and which wines work with which foods?

It is, of course, a serious book on enjoying wine, and I’m learning a lot while reading it. That said, Walls has a good turn of phrase and not all the book is dedicated to the more erudite pleasures of oenophily. There are, for instance, occasions when you need to pretend to know more than you actually do. His chapter on ‘Blagging it’ is a good place to start:

At certain times you need to look like you know what you’re doing: at a wine tasting, for example, or if you’re going on a date with someone who’s really into wine. Here are a few things to remember to make you look like a pro.

1. Only fill a wine glass a third of the way up. This gives you room to swirl it around the glass before you take a sip – without getting it all over your companion’s shirt/dress.
2. Swirl the wine around the glass before you take a sip! Don’t just dive in, take a slurp, gulp it down and go ‘aaaah’. First, look at the wine to gauge its colour. Then take a sniff to see what it smells like. Only then take a sip.
3. Pause briefly after you’ve swallowed to make you look like you’re thinking about what you’ve just tasted.
4. Now say one of the following:
- If it’s a recent vintage: “Quite developed for a young wine.”
- If it’s an older bottle: “Lovely aromas coming through.”
- If it’s a red: “Interesting tannins.”
- If it’s a white: “Good minerality.”
- If it’s from the New World (i.e. not Europe): “Clearly New World; lovely, vibrant fruit.”
- If it’s from the Old World (e.g. France, Spain, Italy, Portugal or Germany): “Beautiful Old World character; not too obvious.”
5. Chuck in a few words listed in the glossary and you’re golden.
6. Now change the subject fast – or read the rest of this book.

I can recommend the second option in that last point...

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