Why do Sommeliers (French for Wine Expert, pronounced SUH-MEL-YAY) always sound so savvy about EVERY wine? I mean, they can’t possibly have tried them all… or have they? In my former life as a sommelier, some days it felt like I came pretty close... but the truth is no one can ever try all 36 billion new wines produced annually!!! And yet, I can talk about any wine in a way that you’d be SURE I must drink THAT wine everyday. So, how do I do it?
Well, it’s your lucky day! I’m going to share a little Sommelier (say it with me - SUH-MEL-YAY) insiders secret. Shhh, don’t tell anyone (unless, of course, you want to repost it to all your social media accounts…). Wine can actually be described in objective terms. In fact, there are 4-5 parameters that define a wine’s quality… BLAH, BLAH, BLAH… I’m already losing you. Hold on - I promise you will sound like a wine expert after reading on for one more minute....
Judging wine INTENSITY, COMPLEXITY, BALANCE and FINISH (ICBL) determines quality and transcends ALL wine categories soooooo, without knowing anything about a wine, here’s how you can too can sound like Madame/Monsieur Sommelier everywhere you go...
Your friend: What do you think about this wine?
You: It’s ok. It’s Intense, but not very complex and could be better balanced. The finish is pretty short too.
Cue friend’s mouth dropping to the floor.
At the restaurant...
Your spouse, staring at the wine list:“What wine should we order?”
You, nonchalantly, reading the menu:“I’m easy…. I guess I’d prefer a wine that is intense and complex with a great balance and a long finish… but under $50. Now, don’t disappoint me.”
Your spouse gets that deer-in-headlights look that can be so en-deer-ing.
At a dinner party...
Wine Snob, who thinks he knows SOOOO much: “I get freshly-picked cucumber rind with a hint of buttered corn on this wine… you? ”
You:“Wine quality is so much than petty aromas... (Sigh, rolling eyes) If you must know my opinion, I think this wine has great intensity and complexity, but it’s balance and finish fall short.”
You walk away, leaving him in awe... and a little red in the face.
What is intensity, complexity, balance and finish exactly? Who cares! You sound like a genius.
In all seriousness, it took me years to nail down the intricacies of these parameters, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start drinking… ah, I mean, learning today! Grab a glass, preferably HaloVino®, and keep reading our blogs and visiting our Instagram page.
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