Why wine wankery is best ignored.
We all know one. Maybe it’s your Dad’s best mate, or your brother-in-law, or maybe it’s even one of the bartenders at your local, or that lady with the impeccably coiffed hair from your Mum’s Diner’s Club…
For the most part, wine wankery is best ignored, lest you end up sounding like a wanker yourself. Take the high road and smirk into your glass of savvy b in the safe knowledge that you do actually know what you’re talking about and don’t feel the need to make others feel crappy to prove that you’re the top wine dog.
But – for the record, here are our top five things that wine wankers need to stop saying. STAT.
1. “Actually, it’s pronounced shir-ahh”
For a start, no, it’s not. Shiraz and syrah are two distinct words for the same varietal. “Shirah” is a weird combo of the two that wine wankers seem to be spouting all over the place for no good reason.
Syrah and shiraz are genetically the same grape - but the wines they produce can be very different in style. Historically, Aussies have used the term “shiraz” (and it’s pronounced exactly how it looks), but in recent years winemakers have started labelling either shiraz or syrah to indicate a stylistic choice in the winemaking.
The typical old-world syrah is lighter and leaner than the intense shiraz wines of the new world, which tend to be richer, riper and more full-bodied.
And also – unless they ask, or they’re about to give a speech on the subject and you’re saving them from professional embarrassment – stop correcting peoples’ pronunciation anyway.
2. “Red wine should only be served at room temperature”
This is one piece of misinformation that wine wankers love to spout to show off their more “sophisticated” understanding of the wine world. And it’s not even true.
The “room temperature” adage came about a long time ago. Before central heating and temperature control. In Europe. I think we can all agree that room temperature in 2020 in Australia is probably a little different than in was in 18th Century France.
Depending on the weight and body of the wine, the generally suggested “ideal” serving temperature for reds is anywhere between 12-18ºC, and some light bodied reds take a chill particularly well.
But your ideal wine temperature? Is whatever the hell you want it to be.
3. “I don’t drink blended wine”
1. Yes you do. Most wine is blended. In Australia, the regulation states that a wine must contain at least 85 per cent of the variety it’s labelled as.
For the most part – blending is done to improve the wine and add complexity or balance or ageability, which I think we can all agree is a good thing, right?
2. Why the hell not anyway? Some of the most expensive and sought after wines in the world are blends – the most famous example being classic Bordeaux, which regularly fetch prices in the thousands of dollars and are a favourite of wine connoisseurs the world over.
If you’re only drinking “single varietal” wines, you’re missing out. Take our 6Ft6 rosé for example… a blend of pinot noir and shiraz, and boy oh boy is it delicious!
4. “Sweet wines are for 16 year old's”
Fair enough, sweet(-ish) wines were gateway wines for many of us – and a glass of moscato is an easier sell to a beginner than an aged Burgundy.
BUT… grown-ups can enjoy sweet wines too! Port, Sauternes, and Tokaji Aszú are sweet wines that rank among the most complex and revered wines on the planet! Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face, just maybe steer clear of the Passion Pop if you’re after something a little more… adult.
5. “Oh no, I don’t do screw caps”
If you’re an Aussie wine drinker, this is the holy grail of wankery.
98-99% of Australian wines are topped with a screw cap, so you’re self-limiting pretty drastically if you’ll only drink wine with a cork. And do you really believe that $9.99 bottle from your local servo with a cork is better than a premium bottle in a screw cap? I mean, if you do that’s great, it’ll probably save you a bundle, but it’s not the cork that’s making the difference.
Plus, research shows that screw caps age wines just fine (in fact, you don’t even have to store the bottle on its side). So, why oh why, would someone let a flimsy, unfounded closure preference prevent them from tasting great wines? For shame.
What wine wanker terms do you hate? Tell us below.
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