“If you read most wine notes these days, what you’ll get is a handful of aromas and flavours – a textural note if you’re lucky – maybe a wildcard like a food matching or a drinking window. And a number. Mainly though, adjectives, nouns and verbs simply get piled on fruit aromas like metaphors in erotic novels. Writers find new and interesting ways to use language and enable wines: they “reveal” aromas to their taster; a Châteauneuf “pumps out lush flavors”; there are “wafts” and “gobs” of fruits you only find in organic stores; a Brunello enjoyed a “coterie of … tannins”; aromas “race along”; and so on.”
“Aromas and wines evidently do all sorts of things, from pumping to revealing, but was the coterie pleasurable to hang out with? Did you want to stuff socks in the gobs of fruits? One note, which I mentioned above, ended with the phrase “…long finish offers a nice tug of graphite.” At least here we knew the tug was pleasurable.”
“So what do I want? Well, firstly, I want wine writers to start according more space to their views on everyday wines, not just expensive greats. Maybe we can invert the paradigm? You might really love the Ramonet Montrachet, but if only 20 cases are coming into the US, what public good is it if your tasting note is any longer than one line with a score in the upper 90s at the end? Give more space (even if you’re ambivalent) to more commercial outputs. And, while I personally like technical winemaking details, maybe drop the sentences on new oak percentage or elevage and tell us whether or not these aspects worked, what they brought to the party.”
A Personal view of Wine Tasting Notes
- Do I like it, yes/no?
- Colour description, especially depth and looking for those brown tinges in red wines denoting age/maturity
- Smell in terms of fruitiness, floweriness, spicyness, earthiness, that’s all, generalised.
- Taste in terms of:
- Sweet-Dry and points in between
- Acidity (sourness, but not in a bad way)
- Tannin (like tea)
- Fruit generally, not specific, so red berries or citrus is fine, don’t need the Fruit Salad Bingo
- Finish, how long does the flavour stay with you after that first swallow (my wife Dr C uses the expression Thick-Thin!)
- Ageing potential, will this wine keep and improve over time or does it need to be drunk within 12 months for example.
So there you have it, a personal view wine tasting notes and writing. Maybe not to everyones liking but surely a simplification is needed as well as a rest from the bombardment from bloggers who think that writing up their OWN notes on a single bottle of wine they had last night watching the footie is somehow adding to the cosmos knowledge base!! I will shortly write up a simple method of recording your own tasting notes in this way using a great app for a smartphone too.