Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Useful Tasting Notes

I got my crunders in a twist the other day, not that unusual for me I know, my ass can be like a lawn mower at times but I’ve been making a concerted effort to practice my inner chill as of late, but something I read the other day just…argh! I don’t read many blogs, not because I don’t like them or anything, just so many hours in a day and truthfully many of them are so redundant, all the same stories just blended up and spun off in someone else’s voice. Either that or they are posts about crap that I already know or don’t care about, not really that interested in spending my free time reading that they grow Cabernet Franc in the Loire Valley…got it thanks. If that sounds kinda, “Snaahh, (lame attempt at a nasal snooty sound) I’m so learned” sorry, don’t mean to come off that way but I’ve been doing this wine thing for like, a bit and not that we can’t all use a refresher but….

So I have my little set of blogs that I pop in on every day, either to read new posts or follow the comments and one of those just so happens to be a blog written by a professional, (meaning print media) wine writer. So I was reading his latest post and I was nodding along in agreement, appreciating his candor and writing before clicking on the comments, that’s when my lawn mower started. There in the comments section was some jack hole, (just so happens it was a wine..blogger) telling this print media guy what he should have included in his post. Like, “It may have been helpful had you included xyz” wtf?!

Okay first of all, it bugged me that this guy was telling someone else what they should have written, or how it should have been written…um, he’s a writer dude, don’t pop off to someone that has FAR more knowledge and background than you, that shit just crimps my nozzle, (you know, if I had a nozzle) like nothing else. It’s like when someone comes in the shop and tells us what se, “should be” carrying…really, is that what you stock in YOUR wine store? Anyway, I’m getting off topic, how unlike me…

The issue at hand was what should have been included in the article/post…tasting notes. I read the article and it was on wines that are not at all typical, wines that express themselves through texture and structure, I dig that kind of crap but this cheese wanted, “tasting notes” as if that is going to help people understand wines like the ones that were being featured. The whole thing just annoyed me and made me really think about “tasting notes”.

I write them, I have to write them for the newsletter and for shelf talkers but…you ever have to write up 25 Roses in one sitting? Kind of brutal and the thing is…they are or can be pretty similar, one thing that you can really focus on, “texture”. When I read tasting notes I always look more to things that describe the mouth feel, level of acidity and structure, those things tell me more about the wine than reading something like, “berries” um…blueberries, raspberries? I understand that people want an idea what the wines are going to taste like but when I see those long drawn out flavor descriptors I just roll my eyes…taste is so subjective, people’s palate’s so diverse. Sometimes I smell sweaty skin in a wine, (Chablis most often) now I personally LOVE that smell but can I really put it in a tasting note? Well, I do, more often saying something like, “freshly” sweating skin to make it sound less…animal, but I loves me some “animal” smells…if I leave that out am I doing a disservice to the consumer? Are most people going to pick that out? I think it is more important and useful to describe what the wine is going to feel like…sure some basic flavor profiles are needed but I think it is perfectly appropriate to focus on how the wine is going to feel in the mouth….

Just my opinion, means nadda, just ranting and wondering if anyone else feels the same?


Benito said...

you ever have to write up 25 Roses in one sitting? Kind of brutal and the thing is…they are or can be pretty similar,

If I am judged harshly in the afterlife and sent to hell, I imagine that my ironic punishment will be an endless stream of $10 bottles of Pinot Grigio and I have to write about each and every one of them.

Michael Hughes said...

What's a crunder? & do you have tasting notes on that? hee hee

Samantha Dugan said...

Reading you for as long as I have...I know that would be torture.

Dude, kinda glad my HoseMaster buddy is moving this week, he would have a field day with that one, making me blush just thinking about it!

Amy said...

Tasting notes can only get you so far...I like your comments about texture, and the Chablis example you provide. Only been a week since I've seen you, and I feel close to you when I am on your blog. Close--but--far. It's weird.

John M. Kelly said...

naliespHmmmm... maybe the writer is contractually obligated NOT to put tasting notes in his blog, since a magazine pays him to do same for them?

I do so love those sort of comments though. My favorite is from the schmoe who wants me to "cite your sources." I want to scream at the top of my lungs "I AM the source you f***ing douchebag!" But usually I compliment them for "being familiar with all internet conventions" which may mean nothing to you but believe me, among us curmudgeons who have been doing this thing since it was called ARPANET, is is the unkindest cut of all.

Samantha Dugan said...

I think that was the sweetest thing you could have said. I love that you can "hear" me when you read my blog and I think I have a new fire in my belly touch My Aims.

Um, I have missed you so. I adore your, "rawr" voice...I can just picture you stomping around, quite the figure there kid. Yeah I am too newbie to know what you are talking about but I hate that arrogance. We get the same stuff at the store, "Well what score did this get?" well, I um...gave a two yummies, does that count? That blogger is kinda a douche anyway so it just pissed me off even more..knew you would get it.

vickibarkley said...

Wow, Sam! You've got all kinds of knights in shining armor up in Anon's face!

Let me just join this chivalrous bunch, and say I WANT to hear every opinion, analysis, and flight of fancy you'd care to share. And texture? Please tell me more...

Thanks for writing. I love it!

Thomas said...

I want to thank you for your defense of writers.

After a few decades in the trenches (and yes, an education, too) it gets truly tough to take the thousands of wannabe writers who have opinions just start pounding the keyboard because--they can.

Samantha Dugan said...

You should have seen the text message I got drom Amy! I respect that Anon person's right to say as they wish, could have done without the somewhat personal snip, but I dig passion in every form and truly believe in our right to express it openly. Did I think about tossing it in the trash, yeah for a second but only because it kind of hurt my feelings...not reason enough to dump someone's comment/feelings.
You know all about texture girlie..Mignet = linear and DeuxMontille = sexy, round, mouth filling.

I absolutely respect people that have the talent and fortitude to write for a living, I envy it. Hope I never come off like one of the keyboard pounding hacks you talk about...cuzz they suck.

Thomas said...


As I said once before: I enjoy your writing style.

One of the things that bugs me about the blogging world is that it is 90% opinion driven. Nothing wrong with having an opinion, but information is what teaches people.

My fear is that many are being conditioned to be unable to tell the difference between opinion and information.

Samantha Dugan said...

You have always been very kind about my writing and as always I appreciate it. I do agree with you, (once again) about people being able to tell the difference between informatiion and "this is how I see it" writing...dude, could you imagine if someone came here looking for useful information?! Poor saps..."Move on folks, nothing to see here, just a chick mouthing off and such". Thanks as always for reading and posting My Dear!

Jessica said...

Hmmm, mouth feel - yeppers that is what I am all about and acidity and especially place and time. Gosh, wine to me is so influenced by so many other things than fruit and such. Like - the Vouvray the other night, was it fantastic?, yes but even more so because I was sharing it with a new friend who was sharing the story of the winemaker with me...

I find myself skimming over traditional tasting notes and really learning nothing much about the wine... so good on you and your rawr!