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Wine Talk – The Language of Wine - Local Liquor
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Wine Talk

Wine Talk – The Language of Wine

A 2019 survey found that 28 per cent of Brits thought terroir was a breed of dog. How savvy are you with the special language of wine?

Terroir is, of course, a term for the environment where a particular wine is produced, including such factors as soil, topography and climate. It wasn’t the only term people struggled with. Seven per cent thought Sauternes was a planet, while 20 per cent thought it was a beach resort and 29 per cent thought it was a type of orange.

Wine has its own language, including some particularly Aussie variations. Here’s a guide to some of them.


Anything but Chardonnay. A mantra of drinkers turned off by the heavily oaked Chardonnay styles of former years. An outdated approach – today’s more elegant chardys have less oak, more freshness and acidity.


Full-bodied wines coat your palate, while light-bodied wines feel, well, lighter on the tongue.

Bowl Grabber

Scornful term for a drinker who holds a wine glass by the bowl, not the stem.

Butter Bomb

A term applied to the rich, buttery style of Chardonnay popular in the 1980s.

Clean Skin

Originally unbranded livestock, this Australian term now applies to a bottle of wine without a label.


Not bits of cork floating in the wine, but a mushroomy taste in the wine caused by a faulty cork. Stick to screw caps and you’ll never have to worry about it.

Dapto Briefcase

Wine in a box. Also chateau cardboard and goon sack.


A wine lacking in acidity.

Grippy Tannins

That strong drying sensation on your teeth, gums, tongue and inner cheeks. Wine that is not overly tannic is referred to as soft.


This doesn’t refer to the temperature. A hot wine is an overly alcoholic one.


Droplets that stick to the inside of a wine glass after you swirl it. The higher the alcohol content, the thicker the ‘legs’.


The persistence of a wine’s aftertaste. Longer is better.

Oak Monster

A wine dominated by flavours and aromas picked up from barrel ageing.


If a table wine has sherry-like odours, chances are it has been exposed to air and is oxidised. Send it back.


Usually with high tannins and hard-to-identify fruit – a wine that will benefit from decanting so it ‘opens up’.

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