Yet another reason why wine drinkers are snobs

21 12 2007

Have you ever wondered about wine descriptions? You know, where the taster is describing how he tastes notes of this and hints of that with a nose of so-and-so? I think its a bunch of BS, personally. But how should I know, I’m a beer snob, not a wine snob.

I was perusing the San Antonio Express News Taste section the other day and encountered a recurring article called The Wine List. I normally ignore this because, like I said, I’m more into corked beer than corked wine. Nevertheless, this one caught my attention because it was reviewing Tawny Ports. In addition to being a beer snob, I’m also a spirits snob. I’m not content with any gin – it has to be Tanq 10 or Bombay Sapphire. Jose Cuervo simply will not do (its actually quite nasty). I must imbibe Corazón Añejo or Tres Generaciones Reposado (and no, not in a shot glass, but a snifter, mind you). I happen to also like Ports on occasion and I noticed that this article reviewed a particular bottle that I had in my cabinet, a Taylor-Fladgate 20-year old Tawny Porto. I initially bought this because it was recommended to me at a restaurant and I really liked it, so I bought a bottle.

So, here is what the review says: “This wine has a savory note along with green tea, pine needle, creosote and tamarind plus some deep nutty aromas. Its palate brings to mind apricot and almond skins; there is a tart tangerine peel and ample grip on the slightly hot finish.” Someone must have made this up. Now, I know that for a number of years I prostituted my taste buds to cigarette smoking, but its been about 16 years since I’ve quit. Although some flavors in food perplex me and take a while to ferret out, I do believe I have a somewhat discerning palate. However, after reading this and sneaking a quick slug of my bottle to refresh my memory, about all I could discern was that it was indeed savory, maybe a little nutty aroma, and a warm finish. How the heck did I miss all the rest and how much will I have to drink to hallucinate those particular flavors? I mean, isn’t creosote the tar-like substance that builds up in chimneys? Almond skins? And what exactly does an ample grip feel like?

Another review states that the wine has a “firm nose, lemon pith, gray graphite and mineral, which shows an attractive sharp edge.” Yeah, pith and graphite is exactly what I’m looking for in my drink, thank you. C’mon, is this for real?

Okay, let me try: “This libation is best served chilled and has an effervescent nose from its sparkling nature and bracing sharpness, balanced with a nutty caramel, a touch of pepper, and a citrusy orange zest. A strong acidity balances the slight vanilla flavor and hint of marzipan and has a biting and spicy finish.” I just described my favorite drink – Coke. What? You can’t taste those things? Its because you are stupid and your palate is just not refined, that’s all (note: sarcasm alert). What do you think? How did I do?

I could be very mistaken, but I think that descriptions like these are farcical, far-fetched, and fabricated (how do you like that for alliteration?). I understand that categorizing the taste of wine is extremely difficult, but lets not go overboard, okay?

I’d love to see your description of your favorite drink. Please comment back.




5 responses

21 12 2007

As a fellow lover of beer and spirits, I understand your feelings about wine and wine snobs. I don’t know why people try to make getting into wine so difficult, because a great wine is a thing of beauty and that knowledge should be shared not horded.

Here is my little wine tip: Drink it and either love it or hate it. Share the ones you like with your friends and have them do the same with you. Wine is a VERY social booze.

It’s also a lot of fun to explore what you like (the more drinking the better right?). I recommend picking a region and learning what you like from it- start off with CA (I am a big Zin fan myself). Don’t read too many reviews they don’t make any sense anyways (unless the taste description of PENCIL SHAVINGS means something to you 🙂

Remember to HAVE FUN! Wine isn’t about being a snob- it’s a glorious alcohol with rich tradition. But you don’t drink it because it makes you feel important – you drink it because it rocks!

21 12 2007

Thanks for the feedback. Completely agree. Can you tell us maybe your fave 2 or 3?

2 01 2008

[moved from another post – ieat]
amberfireinus (09:19:00) : edit

Gosh… favorites!!!

I have a love for Guenoc Chardonnay. Its not an expensive bottle, quite the opposite in fact. I think it sells for around $12. I first drank this wine while visiting the Lilly Langtree Estate Hotel in Bournemouth England. She was a fascinating woman who owned the Guenoc Vineyard and I couldnt help but be captivated by her story. The food served in the hotel was amazing. It was almost like every single taste and flavor was perfect in that time and space. It has a very warm spot in my heart. It reminds me of nice Sancere’s in France. Not over oaked like most California Chardonnay. Its smooth and easy. Lots of fruit to it, but not at all sweet or frilly. (Dont I sound like a wine snob here or what!)

My second favorite is a Sangiovese from a local napa vineyard called Luna. I think this is the perfect red. Able to stand on its own or mixed with good food. I love the texture of it and the balance. Not too sweet and sissy, not too acidic, and not too in your face. I believe it runs … oh $25 to $40 a bottle.

Finally, there are several outstanding wines I enjoy from the Rothchild estates. These would not be considered every day wines. More special occassion. Priced around $85 or so. They are warm and rich.

If Im drinking cheap…. The JLohr Chardonnay is a good bet. It was pointed out to me by a young wine clerk and got a really decent rating from W.E. I think it was a 93 pointer which for a bottle under $10 is outstanding. If there are no interesting wines on offer, yet I want just something easy and of easy access in restaurants it would probably be something as simple as the Kendel Jackson Chardonnay. For the money you pay, you get a consistant product and can find it practically anywhere.

Types of wines I enjoy… Poulley Fousse, Sangiovese, Chianti, Sancerre, Chateau Neuf du Pape (for heavy meals). I think wine is like music and it is all about the mood.

2 01 2008

I’ve had the Guenoc Petit Syrah and really liked it. I’ll look for the Chardonnay.

3 01 2013

So I thoughtI was a wine snob until I read that. Ha! My snobbery is in the fact I like bold cabs that are oaky and not too fruit forward. That’s not bad right?

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