In the past, evenings at Corentin were a safe bet, in all simplicity. Laughs, friends. And beer. But here it is: with the help of age and in his thirties, “Coco” has abandoned the binouze of student evenings for wine, and we are never completely serene on his sofa again. We don’t know what to say when he makes us taste “his best bottle”, with in his eyes the expectation of a comment. We no longer understand him when he speaks of “variety” or “round wine”. And we hesitate for long minutes, alone in the supermarket, when he asks everyone to bring back a bottle.
Like us, millions of you are lost at the fateful moment of talking about wine. So 20 minutes takes care of everything, and contacted three experts to educate us and never be a sucker again at Corentin. Here are their tips.
When you are served wine
If you can drink it to the dregs, you don’t hold the chalice in your hands. This can warm the wine and cause it to lose many of its subtleties. Bottom or top of the foot, that’s up to you, says Ewa Crétois, communication manager specializing in wine and spirits. And as long as we are there in the gestures to avoid: no, we do not put ice cubes, even in the rosé, bunch of foufous.
Another very common mistake: thinking that when you are given a taste of the bottle before serving it, you are being asked your opinion on the wine in question. No way ! (the winegrower/caviste/restaurateur doesn’t really care). What you want to know is if the beverage has not deteriorated – for example if it tastes like cork.
More ambitious, you can shine by looking at the color of the liquid. A young red wine generally has purple reflections on the edges, and amber if it is old, schematizes France Gerbal Médalle, wine geographer and wine tourism specialist. A young white will approach yellow-green edges, rather golden if it is old. And generally, a young wine will be strong, while an old wine tends to be thinner and lighter.
On the other hand, we do not recommend overdoing it if you are a beginner. There is therefore no need to swirl the wine or taste it by leaving it in the mouth for too long. “When in doubt, it’s better not to do enough than to make too much of it, it’s quickly spotted,” explains Ewa Crétois.
The vocabulary to adopt
“Build up your vocabulary, Robert” Again, nothing very rocket science, you just have to metaphorize your first impressions. Thus, we will not say that a wine is “less strong when it is old”, but “that it has mellowed with age”, even “that it is round” (it is wiser therefore it rounds the angles), indicates France Gerbal Médalle. So to your finest feathers!
Two terms – techniques – nevertheless remain unavoidable. The grape variety, which defines the type of grape used to make the wine. Each variety of grape variety will bring its own taste and its particularities. And tannin (or tannin, both spellings work), with its derivative “a tannic wine”, which only concerns red wines. Quick definition: tannin is a more or less present plant molecule. What you need to remember is that the more tannins are present in the wine, the darker it will be. A very tannic wine is simply a wine with a lot of tannins.
Phrases to shine
Hugo Millet, oenologist from the Abbaye de Lérins, has concocted two or three sentences for us to place at the table:
- “With the heat wave, the wine was not chaptalized. »
Chaptalization is the act of adding sugar to grape juice that has not yet fermented, so that it is transformed into alcohol. It is less and less necessary with climate change and rising temperatures.
- “No blends, it’s a single varietal”
A monocépage is, as its name suggests, a wine made from a single variety of grapes.
- “We wouldn’t do a little vertical? »
Said of a tasting where the same cuvée is drunk over several vintages
Wines a bit original
All this effort will be for naught if you then make an impersonal choice with an all-purpose wine, typically a Côte du Rhône or a Bordelais, proving to the world that you are as unoriginal as those who put Argentina as World Cup favourite.
So we’re going to look for some new sensations. “The white wines of the Côtes de Gascogne, in particular the Saint Monts, lead to discovery and a real pleasant surprise. On the reds, there are some specific grape varieties in the South-West, you can introduce an amateur to the wines of Cahors, a Malec grape variety, a Gaillac or a Tanat de Madiran”, advises France Gerbal Médalle. You can also have a wine from there.‘Abbaye de Lérins of our dear Hugo, the latter having been very friendly with us.
Also important to remember: you have the right to like any wine – yes, even rosés. “You shouldn’t be ashamed of any preference, wine is a matter of taste, and taste is subjective. There is no hierarchy If you like a wine, drink it”, reassures Ewa Crétois.
Do not be afraid !
All these tips should help you get by at Corentin or elsewhere. But after these few Sioux tricks, it is important not to put too much pressure on yourself, remind our three experts. Because if the wine maintains its mystery and its very own codes, not without pleasure, it remains an accessible environment.
The final word for Hugo Millet: “Wine is above all a product that we take pleasure in tasting with friends. And with which the most important question remains ”Do we like this bottle, or not?”. Afterwards, everyone does it with their words and their subjectivity. »