Cocktails & Spirits

Charlie's Guide to Speaking Wine, or, How to Bullshit Wine Drinkers

The world of wine speaks a language all its own.

Urdu, mostly. With a soupcon of bullshit and a faint whiff of pretension. 

So in keeping with Clean Plate Charlie's commitment to calling a spade a goddamned shovel, he presents this modest glossary of wine terms for your amusement, edification, and eventual disposal. Cheers! 

Bouquet, n. Aroma; alternately, stench
Cork, n. An enclosure that ruins almost as much wine as it protects
Corkage, n. The process by which a restaurant inflates the price of a bottle of wine it does

not own
Cork dork. American for sommelier
Enologist, n. An unemployed winemaker
Finish, n. What you should always do with a bottle of wine
Fruit, n. The most essential component of wine, often its worst enemy
Label, n. Lies
Markup, n. The difference between what a restaurant sells a bottle of wine for and what it paid for it (see: "Theft")
Nose, n. The organ that is best able to analyze wine and least likely to be consulted in that analysis
Reserve, n. Overpriced
Sommelier, n. French for cork dork
Taste, v, n. That which is done by many and possessed by few
Tasting notes. The inscrutable jottings of wine writers that purport to describe what they imagine they have drunk
Vintage, n. The year in which a wine was born, invariably an excellent one
Vintner, n. A retired oilman, plastic surgeon, or trust-fund baby with more money than sense Wine, n.

The nectar of the gods; also the sole reason for the existence of a

particularly annoying subspecies of journalist (see "Wine writer")
Wine by the glass. A

mathematical sleight of hand by which a restaurant increases the price

of a bottle of wine beyond its already extortionate levels, proof that

sometimes the whole is actually less than the sum of its parts
Winemaker, n. A

blue-collar magician who must battle the vagaries of Mother Nature, the

ego of a winery's owner, and the insatiable demands of the wine-drinking

Winemaker dinner. A meal in which the innumerable pleasures of food and wine are sublimated to the interminable bore of marketing
Wine pairing.

The laughable notion promulgated by those who eat and drink to excess

that other people eating and drinking require their services
Wine service. That which is almost never found in restaurants
Wine writer. The

most wretched of all scribes, a charlatan with an inflamed liver, one

who possesses neither the expertise of a winemaker nor the skill of a

writer yet has convinced himself he possesses superior knowledge of both

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Bill Citara