Sommelier Language You Should Know

Somms shared with The New York Times their secret language: what terms you should memorize
The secret language of sommeliers.

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Ever overhear your sommeliers talking — or simply feel like they're speaking a language you don't understand? The New York Times breaks down some of the secret language of New York sommeliers;  some of the terms you may want to keep in mind when out to dinner. 

"Whale," "Player," "Baller, or "Deep Ocean"

 Well, this one shouldn't be so hard to figure out — someone who can drop a lot of dough (more than $1,000) on a bottle of wine regularly. 

"Point Grabber," "Point or Label Chaser," "Parker Guy," or "Vintage Chart Holder"

 A wine buyer who makes his decisions based on points from wine experts (like Robert Parker), or wine magazines. 

"Cork Dork"

 A noted "wine geek." 

"Automatic Order," Grandma Wines," "Easy," "Filler," "Gimme," "Workhorse," or "Must Have"

 The easy, popular wine choices on the menu -- "the chicken or salmon" of the wine list. 

"Cult Wines"

"Uber-fashionable" wines with a cult following. 

"Cougar Juice"

 A California chardonnay or malbec (we'll let you figure out the rest.) 


 Anything But Chardonnay. 

"Kids," "Babies," "Gems," or "Special Interest"

 The creme de la creme, or the wines that sommeliers make sure only the right kind of drinker will buy — those who will appreciate their "babies." 

You can find the whole list on The New York Times. 

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