Colloquial wine terms

Every wine tastes different due to a myriad of factors, including the specific point in time that it is consumed, which is why wine is an endlessly fascinating topic. (Photo: AdobeStock)

There’s a time, and place, for colloquial wine terms. Fine dining is not one of them.

When the waiter asked if I wanted another ‘sav-blanc’, he could very well have been asking me if a wanted another glass of Coke.

Australians are famous for shortening words, and wine terms are certainly not immune to this. It is an endearing part of our charm. However, it must be said that at times it can be irritating.

I was drinking a Sancerre at a respected Sydney restaurant, one that is known for the quality of its wine. However, each time I was offered more wine, the waiter insisted on calling it ‘sav-blanc’.

Of course, Sancerre is made from sauvignon blanc. However, wine from the appellation is more reflective of its place than its variety. The wine was deliciously intense and flinty, with tension and presence; it was anything but generic. Reducing it to the term sav-blanc was insulting.

Outside of Europe, varietal labelling is commonplace. However, it can reduce the significance of the region. With varietal labelling, there is an underlying assumption that wines should be similar because they are made from the same variety. But put a Tasmanian and McLaren Vale shiraz side-by-side, and you will see more differences than similarities.

Though within a region, there are different sites. And the producer has a profound impact on the character of a wine. And then, of course, there is the vintage. Unravelling the nature of a wine can be complicated.

Every wine tastes different due to a myriad of factors, including the specific point in time that it is consumed, which is why wine is an endlessly fascinating topic.

Perhaps I expect too much? But when paying premium Sydney prices, I at least like to feel like I am drinking fine wine. When the waiter asked if I wanted another ‘sav-blanc’, he could very well have been asking me if a wanted another glass of Coke.

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