Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wine Descriptor Bullshit

What an excellent piece on Slate, pointing out the immense (and deceptive) B.S. that goes on with regard to wine descriptions.

For example, a world-reknowned critic whom I greatly respect said a wine had a nose of "graphite, black currant liqueur, incense, and camphor."

Whoa--Doesn't graphite have no odor? And there are MANY kinds of incense, with hundreds of different smells; isn't "incense" impossibly ambiguous? And camphor? Surely not a smell anybody would want in a wine.
I doubt the skilled winelover's nose can pick out more than a couple or three different aromas. And they are usually pretty basic aromas, at that: black fruits, or red cherries, or cranberries, or cedar, or leather, or earth, or lemon peel. Pretty basic stuff. Sometimes we might whiff something odder, such as petrochemical smell in a Riesling. But, surely not four or more unusual smells, all in one wine???
Let's all try to limit the descriptive B.S., OK, critics?

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