Looking to upgrade your small talk repertoire ahead of that impending dinner party? Here are five key tips to make yourself look like a wine expert, courtesy of Le Petit Ballon...

 

1. Let your body do the talking

You might have a fantastic bottle served with some great food, but if you’re holding that glass in an improper way, someone will probably tell you about it. No worries. It’s easy, just hold the stem of the glass, rather than the ball of the glass. You can also grab the base of the glass. You’ll look classy as anything and it’ll make swirling your wine much easier!

 

JMD tasting

 

2. Take a closer look

Looking at the wine like Plato might have looked at an sculptor’s table and pondered its merit compared with that of God looks a bit pretentious and like you’re trying too hard. The key to all of this technical stuff is to relax. It’s not an exam. Is the colour deep and intense, or can you see through it? They’re perfectly valid descriptors. It’s not rocket science (yet, though if they do plan on fuelling rockets with wine we suspect France might reach Mars first).

 

Bouchon

 

3. It’s just a smell

“Leather? Really? I can’t smell it…” Don’t panic. If you’re just not getting that one smell someone mentions from a wine, your nose isn’t broken and neither is theirs. Wines can be filled with a plethora of scents, ranging from fruitiness to something like, say, wood. And it depends on a lot of different factors. Where it’s been aged or even the type of soil the grapes have grown in can have a big effect on the smell; for example, American oak barrels can give wine a vanilla scent, whilst chalky soil lends white wines an acidic quality, creating fresh and zesty wines. If you think you smell strawberries, you probably can. When it comes to smelling that wine, trust your instinct.

 

4. Know your onions. Well, your grapes

This one’s even easier than the last two! Find out which grapes are used in your wine, do a bit of rudimentary Googling of said grapes and Bob’s your uncle! The grapes have different qualities and characteristics that shape the taste of the wine, but knowing that grenache grapes add fruitiness to a wine (nice one, The Gazette!) will go a long way to convincing your guests you know your stuff and won’t incur the grapes of wrath from others.

 

Packshot 3

 

5. Throw your food and wine pairs out of the window (not literally)

Chips are boss. Wine is boss. “Bring em both together we got delicious food all night,” as R Kelly famously said. Yep, pretty sure that’s the line. Maybe. Anyway, chips go well with something bubbly and sweet. But you might not have heard that as it’s not what those traditionalists typically go for. Give it a try. Experiment a bit. The first rule of wine club is nobody talks about wine club. No, sorry, that’s us getting mixed up again. *Note to self, cancel subscription to Fight Club*. The first rule of wine club is there are no rules. If in doubt, check with Le Petit Ballon and explore our blog online or use the hashtag #askjeanmichel on Twitter for a suggestion.