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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Four people in four situations you shouldn't listen to about wine

I try not to judge peoples wine preferences because they enjoy it and that's what wine is all about, right? But I do have to warn you about four different kinds of people whose opinions on the subject you should take with a grain of salt or ignore all together...


You're hanging out with friends and shooting the shit and having a good time. One of them pulls out a bottle of wine and says "Oh my God you've GOT to try this! It is SO!!! GOOD!!!" and then continues to bring on a self-pour from hell that fills their entire wine glass. This is a big red flag that you shouldn't take their wine advice.

Filling a wine glass all the way up is like eating your favorite food with a stuffed nose. You're missing out on so much! An pour for a "glass" of wine is 5 oz's. That's about 1/4 to 1/3 of the actual wine glass you're pouring it into. This is where you're going to get the most enjoyment out of the wine. What you taste are actually aromas, and wine glasses are designed to bring that out. Trust me, it's science!

Luckily, over-chilled Pinot Grigio is probably the most common victim of the self-over-pour. Most Pinot Grigio doesn't have a hell of a lot of character anyways, and when used in this way it's a fun, chuggable way to get drunk. And that's what this person wants.

Yeah, I agree that we should get our drink on but you can always pour again!


You're at a wine tasting table with those little plastic sample cups and a fellow taster is being rather loud with their opinions. They're saying "wow! damn!" or "no! ack!" after kicking back a wine sample like it was a Jager shot. Don't listen to anything they say about anything. Even movie suggestions. Alright, I might be going too far there but I'm still probably right.

Those little cups rob you of the aromatics that wine glasses provide. So, when trying a wine for the first time, it's absolutely imperative that you let it warm up in your mouth so the flavors can come out. You should still do this with a wine glass as well.

Somebody that shoots it is just there for a free buzz. Drinking it normally but swallowing instantly may mean they're just a normal person that's not that knowledgeable about wine, even if they drink a lot of it. Holding it in the mouth for even just a few seconds earns instant credit, in my opinion. If they chew on it and are clearly giving it some thought then even ask them what they think. If they start breathing air in to make a slurping sound then I would immediately trust them to watch my child.

But never, ever listen to a premature swallower. Ever.


You're in a wine shop and poking around and a fellow customer is doing the same. Then they start talking to the staff and when they say a certain region or varietal they switch to another accent... and they're clearly over doing it. That saliva in the back of their throat is going on a bitchin' ride and their tongue doesn't know what the hell is going on.

Pronouncing Merlot as "Merkkk-lho" usually indicates that they've traveled and are over-compensating. They've been to many "Ssshattuukkk" and they want to make it known. This is a very real thing encountered on a regular basis and it can be quite comical when compared to the pronunciation of the language they're trying to imitate.

This person is usually, in my experience, actually very friendly, polite and approachable. They have pretty cool stories and they are more than willing to share them. But for the love of God don't take their wine advice. In all likelyhood they will lead you astray.


Admit it: as consumers we base our wine purchases on price. The most common budget for wine is $8 to $13 a bottle. Today you've decided that you need the help or advice of the store's wine manager to make your selection. The problem is, after you give them your credentials, that wine manager is doing the flash-of-the-teeth-grimace with a deep breath in like they stubbed a toe. And now they're running around struggling to find you a wine.

There are always great deals out there for a few bucks more than whatever your price range is so don't fault them when they go $2 or $3 over on a few of their suggestions. But if most of them are over $4 then you've got a problem.

Now, if you're looking for something obscure or something that you normally only see a few options of then I can't blame them. But if you're looking for something common and the wine manager, the person that is responsible for what they carry, doesn't have one in your price range that they can't get excited about then pick it out on your own or go somewhere else. Find somebody that appreciates wine on every level.

- Joey Casco, CSW
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