That would be an ecumenical matter

Henry provides a very handy catch-all phrase for when discussing wine with people who know more about it than you do…

From watching Father Ted, we all know that in a religious discussion you can’t go wrong by saying: ‘that would be an ecumenical matter.’ That way you will always sound like you know what you’re talking about. Recently I’ve been drinking wine with people with vastly more experience than me. It’s a nerve-wracking experience when a Master of Wine, leans over and says ‘what do you think?” My mind normally goes blank and all I can think of is ‘very nice.’

Recently, however, I have discovered the wine-tasting equivalent of ‘that would be an ecumenical matter.’ Here it is: ‘it seems a bit a closed to me.’ Doesn’t sound that impressive, does it? All it means is that the wine in question isn’t tasting of very much at the time. This could be because the wine is too young, too cold, isn’t very good, has only just been opened or, and this is the best part, just because your nose isn’t working as well as it should do on that particular day (top wine writer Fiona Beckett writes on this phenomenon here.)

Once you say ‘it’s a bit closed’, people will normally nod and say ‘mmmmm I think you’re right’ or they might disagree but you’ll always sound like you know what you’re talking about.

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About Author Profile: Henry Jeffreys

Henry Jeffreys was born in Harrow, Middlesex. He worked in the wine trade for two years and then moved into publishing with stints at Hodder & Stoughton, Bloomsbury and Granta. Under the name Henry Castiglione, he reviewed books for the Telegraph Under the name Blake Pudding he was a founder member of the London Review of Breakfasts website as well as a contributor to the Breakfast Bible (Bloomsbury, 2013). Since 2010 he has been writing mainly about drink under his own name. He is wine columnist for the Lady magazine, contributes to the Guardian and was shortlisted for the Fortnum & Mason drink writer of the year 2013 for his work in the Spectator. He is writing a history of Britain told through alcoholic drinks called Empire of Booze. He blogs at Henry’s World of Booze.

2 thoughts on “That would be an ecumenical matter

  1. Worm
    July 3, 2012 at 10:05

    haha duly noted! I’m off to Burgundy later in the year for a tasting tour so this will come in most handy

    July 4, 2012 at 06:25

    My only contribution to the debate is a word I often heard as a child, probably used to describe my limited intellectual capacity: backward (today it has morphed into ‘dyslexic’). I suppose it must describe a wine that is too ‘young’ Henry? Doubtless an ‘old’ wine is called ‘forward’ (a word also used within my earshot, in my later, gobby days as a salesman).

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