Pro-tips from a self-declared wine snob

Illustrated by Siloam Yeung

Written by: Jessica Parsons

I know that you could never hope to be as sophisticated as me, myself being the wine connoisseur that I am. You have to have a certain palate to be an expert at it (like me). However, here are a few tips to help you impress your friends when tasting wine.

Firstly, begin by swirling it around in the glass and holding it up to your eye, just to make sure it is, indeed, wine. Then, smell it and discover that it certainly seems to be so. When you take a sip, you should slurp it through your teeth as dramatically as possible — this is very important and is something all the fanciest wine tasters do. It lets the wine stain your teeth and shows everyone that you are a sophisticated wine drinker like them (think of it like a calling card).

The actual tasting of the wine is much more difficult and something you must acquire over time, as I have. Here are a few of my latest reviews to help inspire you:

‘93 French Shiraz

This particular wine was too cheap for my sophisticated palate. Firstly, it is a ‘93, and as everyone knows, this means that there are 93 ingredients in this wine (much like the 67 on a bottle of Heinz ketchup) and that is far too many. The more ingredients, the cheaper the wine; this is why the ‘84 will cost more than the ‘93. Some people say they prefer a dry wine and this was definitely a wet wine — moist, even. The Cabernet tasted somewhat like grass (possibly one of the 93 ingredients?) with sour, grape-like notes. I added some ice cubes to it because they clearly hadn’t chilled it beforehand, and this helped slightly, but overall I was unimpressed.

Caraval Blended White (Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio)

This wine is a slightly higher-class white, as demonstrated by the fact that it is, in fact, two wines and not just one. The flavours of the Sauvignon Blanc (pronounced saving-yonk-blonk) blend wonderfully with those of the Pinot Grigio (pronounced peanut-grishoo) to create a decadent white wine.

Victoria White Zinfandel

I was surprised and appalled when the waiter poured me not a white wine, as I was expecting, but a pink one. I asked to speak to the manager and she told me that a white zinfandel was a rosé. I have never been so insulted! Do they think I am an idiot? An amateur wine taster? It says white right in the name! I left before tasting the lie.

Ricci Pink Sparkling

Often considered among the fanciest of wines, this champagne was certainly sophisticated. Make sure it is in a flute to properly aerate it. I made the mistake of using a clarinet instead of a flute, and the effect wasn’t nearly the same. I found the tastes to be slightly tangy, the same as if you were eating a lemon warhead, and the texture of the champagne to be very bubbly. Overall the Ricci Pink Sparkling wine was a fine champagne.