A Tasteless Wine Review

I was thumbing through wine magazines looking for inspiration for wording to describe a couple wines that need describing in promotional materials and I started wondering: What is it like and what mind set over takes a person who writes reviews for a living?

Imagine having to write review after review after review of different wines. It can’t be easy. How many ways are there to describe a wine?

Well, I came across this review in one publication and I realized that this is probably what happens when you’ve been reviewing wine after wine. See if you can tell me what kind of wine this review is referring to:

"Dimension and flavor concentration come together in this wine, its grand cru  stature apparent in the sleek texture and the layers of complexity. The scope of the wine is broad enough stat it’s hard to take in all at once, structured so it manages to be both powerful and gracious, mindlessly delicious now with an ability to age toward a place where it can be perceived in its entirety. A wine to forget in the cellar for 15 years or more."

Clearly they liked the wine.

However, I have no idea what it tastes like or what it smells like.

I’m sure I know what happened. The reviewer had been writing about the same type of wines for a long stretch and forgot that the reader didn’t know this. The flavors and aromas of the wine were assumed in their mind because they’d been tasting them over and over, but they forgot that the review might be read all alone.

I hear people offer up a sarcastic "aawwwwwww" all the time when they talk about the job of the wine reviewer…you know, having to taste all those wines….poor baby. The fact is, it’s not that easy. They have to taste them AND write about them. And consider someone like James Laube, the chief wine critic for California wines. The above review did not come from him. But can you imagine how many wines are submitted to him for tasting? I know it’s a lot but honestly I can’t even begin to imagine how many wines are sent to the Napa offices of the Wine Spectator in a month. 500? 1000? Who knows. But its a lot.

The point is, it is amazing that more reviews like the one above don’t slip though.

2 Responses

  1. Outdoorgrrl - March 16, 2006

    I don’t know. These “tasteless” reviews could be kind of fun if you approach them the right way. Imagine if J Peterman wrote wine reviews:
    “You’ll skip the Governor’s Derby Day breakfast, of course, somehow I can’t imagine you standing in line with 10,000 people for a plate of cheese grits. You’re in Skye Terrace instead, a Ted Turner look-alike brushing against your arm…while you remain cool, crisp, and confident. Drink this. An understated, uncluttered beauty. Made of a wonderful merlot and syrah blend, it will see you comfortably through the entire white-shoe season. May I get you a refill?”
    “Born from the tears of angels. For centuries, forbidden by law to be drunk by anyone less than a Medici. You have come in at an opportune moment in history. Drink now to 2010.”
    “Let’s say that a major political party approaches you and asks you to run for President of the United States. Flattering, but you probably decline. A lot of men would. Even a quick glance through the diary reveals stuff that wouldn’t sound good on the 6 o’clock news. It’s not that we’re bad guys, exactly. Life is complicated. Sometimes a man skips shaving. Other things, too. For those occasions when you want to marshal all your resources, not just the bright shiny ones, I offer this wine.
    Some people may think it’s too bold, but that’s just the way it is.”

  2. tom - March 16, 2006

    LOL…Nicely done, Carry!!!

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