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These Are a Few of My Favorite Things


SparrowsFall
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Below, a partial repeat from my post in the Comparing Wine Ratings thread. It would be interesting to hear what other people "value" in a wine, and whether the nouns and adjectives in reviewers' descriptions help you find those "values."

Preface to this: you're reading the words of somebody whose dream wine smells like violets and tastes like shit.

As with grades and SAT scores, reviewers' discursive descriptions tend to be more useful for me than their ratings. If I find more than one reviewer using my favorite words (including, for instance, tobacco, leather, smoke, earth, fragrant, berries, roasted, rich, floral, spice box, complex), or words that hold promise of same with ageing, I start considering a wine. Sometimes they'll use a bunch of those words, then give it a low score. Then I really take a look, because often the rating results in a low price.

If I hear "vanilla" or "toasty oak" I run screaming.

Obviously this puts me into northern rhones or (price permitting) older Bordeaux. Also CNP and Spain. In general I prefer berries to cherries (hence, in general, Rhones over Italians).

If I hear something like "a spicy fruit bomb" describing a Cotes du Rhone, I figure, "okay, a good-quality, one- or two-dimensional, standard Rhone, like dozens that are available for a great price. (Or even cheaper from Languedoc.) How much is it?"

And of course, I have different preferences for different situations. My favorite words, for instance, don't describe the Tavel rosé that I enjoy so much on a hot summer evening in Provence....

I actually have different lists (not written, but sort of in my head) for different wine types and regions, but I think I've said enough.

What words describe the wines you like?

"Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon." --Dalai Lama

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a danish author and critic has written an essay on the tendencies of modern taste, stating that it is becoming ever more "childish". food, wine and tobacco is made to be sweeter than 50 years ago, and grownups consume much more candy, chocolate and coca cola'ish stuff, he says. and judging from my limited experience (i'm only 46 y.o.), he seems to be right. the general taste in wine seems to be slowly changing from the bordeaux ideal to the vanilla/oak/cherry mentioned above. from subtlety to the more obvious.

christianh@geol.ku.dk. just in case.

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the general taste in wine seems to be slowly changing from the bordeaux ideal.

The Bordeaux ideal is great as a concept, but much of the wine produced in Bordeaux is rubbish and nearly all of it overpriced. It is not just a matter of taste, it's also a matter of readiness and price. I am fortunate to have a proper cellar and there is some decent Bordeaux in there maturing nicely, some of it has been there for over a decade and is still not quite ready. Nowadays who has the ability to store wine in proper conditions for long enough? As for price I suppose the wine was bought at around $15/bottle, but if you wanted to buy it now (assuming you could find it) it would be $60 and up. And although my purchases were reasonable (assisted by a friend who is a Master of Wine) even then some turn out to be a little disappointing. So people nowadays spending say $20 and up want a wine they can enjoy now (and if they like it buy more) rather than waiting several years for it to be ready. That means lower tannins and more fruit, but it does not necessarily mean the wine will lack complexity or subtlety.

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In a word, funk.

For reds I like leather, tobacco, tar, barnyard, horsey, merde, :blink: , with violets, bacon fat, smoked pork, bramble berries, raspberries, blackberries, ollalieberries. I also like pencil lead, cigar box, green bell pepper, black peppercorns, and black fruit.

I do not like herbal, jammy, hot, alcoholic, fruit bomb, cedar, woody, oaky, or toasty. I do not like cherries, cassis, or cola.

For whites I like minerally, gun flint, chalky, bracing, acidic, austere, but I also like citrus, melon, honeyed, petrol, rubber-band, grassy and stone fruit. I do not like buttery, toasty, vanilla, oaky, butterscotch, creamy.

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In a word, funk. 

For reds I like leather, tobacco, tar, barnyard, horsey, merde,  :blink: , with violets, bacon fat, smoked pork, bramble berries, raspberries, blackberries, ollalieberries.  I also like pencil lead, cigar box, green bell pepper, black peppercorns, and black fruit. 

I do not like herbal, jammy, hot, alcoholic, fruit bomb, cedar, woody, oaky, or toasty.  I do not like cherries, cassis, or cola.

For whites I like minerally, gun flint, chalky, bracing, acidic, austere, but I also like citrus, melon, honeyed, petrol, rubber-band, grassy and stone fruit.  I do not like buttery, toasty, vanilla, oaky, butterscotch, creamy.

What he said.

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In a word, funk.  

For reds I like leather, tobacco, tar, barnyard, horsey, merde,  :blink: , with violets, bacon fat, smoked pork, bramble berries, raspberries, blackberries, ollalieberries.  I also like pencil lead, cigar box, green bell pepper, black peppercorns, and black fruit.  

I do not like herbal, jammy, hot, alcoholic, fruit bomb, cedar, woody, oaky, or toasty.  I do not like cherries, cassis, or cola.

For whites I like minerally, gun flint, chalky, bracing, acidic, austere, but I also like citrus, melon, honeyed, petrol, rubber-band, grassy and stone fruit.  I do not like buttery, toasty, vanilla, oaky, butterscotch, creamy.

What he said.

what they said, plus stewed fruits in the southern Italian style.

and Most importantly, "it works well with food"-

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In a word, funk. 

For reds I like leather, tobacco, tar, barnyard, horsey, merde,.....

You left our my favorite: dirty socks. A key component of any truly 'funky' wine.

For me personnally I really believe the French concept of 'gout de terroir' defines what I like best in wines. Wines that have a distinctive character of the soil, climate and region that they're grown in. Although there are certainly many 'New World' wines that I enjoy, precioius few really have this characteristic I would say.

Most women don't seem to know how much flour to use so it gets so thick you have to chop it off the plate with a knife and it tastes like wallpaper paste....Just why cream sauce is bitched up so often is an all-time mytery to me, because it's so easy to make and can be used as the basis for such a variety of really delicious food.

- Victor Bergeron, Trader Vic's Book of Food & Drink, 1946

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dynamic. in that a wine's bouquet varies dramatically from what you get on the palate. i love biscuits & yeast & toast on a cote de blanc's nose, but with lime zest, granny smith apples, lemon, chalk driving the wine on the palate. i love surprises like those. sometimes i don't mind some new oak for this reason--the caramel it lends the bouquet. i just can't drink a very fat wine, though.

where can i buy gooseberries? i am tired of reading that descriptor & never actually having tasted them before. i can't just nod my head and pretend i know what people mean by them...

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