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.