Life Eat & Drink Sponsored content Dinner-table red wine jargon buster
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Dinner-table red wine jargon buster

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No matter how old and wise you think you get, Dad always knows best. Father’s Day is the perfect chance to get in his good books while showing him up at the dinner table.

The key to your success? A fine drop of red, backed up with our no-fail guide to wine jargon.

Step 1: Pick up a bottle he can’t argue with

How do you tell the difference between a delicious red and the kind of plonk that’s better off in a stew?

1. If in doubt, think merlot: While not as exalted as cabernet sauvignon, merlot is more reliable – it’s smooth, goes great with food, and won’t break the bank. If you’re feeling more adventurous, go for some dependable French reds like Chateauneuf-du-Pape or anything from Bordeaux.

2. Pick a mid-range wine: While there are great drops to be nosed out for under $15, a little indecision is all it takes to go from cultured adult to the family scapegoat.

3. Ask for help: Liquor store staff always know their stuff. This is the easiest way to score a great-tasting wine and snag some wine jargon while you’re at it.

redwine_v3Step 2: Know your jargon

Nothing commands more respect than words nobody understands. Why do you think lawyers use Latin? Learn these basic terms and even Scary Aunt Sue will pay you the respect you deserve.

Tannins: The stuff that makes you smack your lips together like you’re drinking over-brewed tea (think a heavy cabernet sauvignon). There are more tannins in red grapes than white. Tannin makes wine bitter, astringent and ‘complex’ (see below).

Click on infographic to enlarge.

Bold: Used interchangeably with ‘heavy’. This just means the wine has lots of tannins and is quite intense.

Complex: A wine is complex if it’s high in tannins. Dubbing a wine ‘complex’ is a great way to immediately gain respect from your fellow wine drinkers. Can be followed with ‘dense’ and ‘opulent’ for maximum effect.

Fruity: Used interchangeably with ‘light’. Usually refers to lighter reds with less tannins, such as pinot noir.

Legs: After swirling your glass, look at the streaks running down it. More legs = more alcohol/sweetness. Interestingly, this has little to do with the quality of wine.

Oaked: If the taste resembles any spice used in mulled wine, then you can declare the wine is ‘oaked’, or has been fermented in oak barrels.

Still unsure? Then sit back, keep quiet and just enjoy your time with Dad, who can see through your wise-guy quips in a second.


Next in the series: White Wine and Family Time for Father’s Day

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