Talk your way around a glass of wine

Here’s the technical vocab to make the right pronouncements and how to avoid gaffes if you’ve gone ga-ga for the grape.

Part I The Right Adjectives

Abboccato

slightly sweet

Amabile

decidedly sweet

Ampio

with a complex bouquet

Armonico

exellent rapport between taste and aroma

Corto

“short” on flavor

Decrepito

aged too long

Leggero

contains low alcohol content

Magro

lacking body and depth

Maturo

aged accurately, to be drunk immediately

Persistente

a “persistant” aroma

Torbido

cloudy, lacking in color

Vinoso aroma that recalls must

Part II “Ma sei fuori?”

Astemio/a

"teetotaler” No grazie, sono astemio”

Un sorso/una goccia

a sip/a drop “Si, ma solo un sorso”

Alla nostra!/alla nostra salute!

to our health! A noi! lit. “to us!” Avoid, unless to impress neo-fascist pals with tribute to Mussolini. “cin cin” is the usual thing to say.

Facciamo il bis?

How about another round? (fam.)

Brillo/a

tipsy

Su di giri

a bit high

Fuori

(fam) var. come un balcone/terrazzo (out there, like a balcony or terrace)

Sbornia (fam)

get smashed

“Ho preso una sbornia"

I got really drunk

Dopo-sbornia

hangover. Not frequently used as rarely admitted.

Alzare il gomito

lit. “lift up the elbow”. Common euphemism for hangover: “Ho alzato un po’ troppo il gomito”

NOTE: Italians consider being drunk in public bad form so stick to “brillo” or “su di giri” in most situations.

Better still, if someone accuses you of being drunk “Sei fuori?” respond “Noooo, solo un po’ brillo.”

The direct translation of drunk “ubriaco” can be a bit heavy, though commonly the 20 year-old crowd says things like “Ero ubriaco fradicio” (I was soaking-wet drunk).

“Ubriacone” means an alcoholic.