I can break out the science texts and defend myself, or just go with it. So, today I’m gonna do a bit of navel-gazing and regale you with 7 annoying wine words that I abuse -- er, use. And folks, let me just add one thing: if this isn’t fun, don’t do it. I always say that about wine (whether it’s drinking wine, talking wine, making fun of annoying wine words, or sharing wine) -- it’s got to be fun, and if it ain’t, move on. Nothing to see here anyway, except for 7 more annoying wine words.
This wine is round, you say? Actually, it’s sort of whatever the shape of the vessel it’s in. Wine is a liquid, after all, so it assumes the shape of its glass or bottle. It’s a law of physics (number 3 or 4, I think).
Yeah, I know that you mean “it fills the mouth in a soft, seamless way,” so why don’t you just write that? Well, primarily because that’s more characters and I’m lazy, and it gets boring to write the same thing for every wine, for both me and the reader -- so I’m just looking out for your best interests!
Well, yes, it is deep, as in possessing depth. That is another law of physics, probably law number 3, if that’s not already taken. In your mouth, how does one measure depth versus, say width, or height (oh, that’s another great term to abuse, I’m adding it to my list immediately)?
When I go through the motion of drinking, my head can bend forward then backward, then forward, and all my cardinal directions are getting screwed up. So, if I say depth, I’m saying depth like the 10-foot shine on a car. It’s the impression, the illusion of depth. It’s all, or almost all, an illusion anyway. Illusion of course is a synonym for BS -- thanks, Penn & Teller!
This adjective has some basis in science, but let’s kick it to the curb anyway, since it seems like many people want their wines to taste like a blueberry milkshake anyway.
I am absolutely baffled why people have decided that the world’s only blue food represents the ideal wine flavor, especially when combined with artificially flavored frozen dessert products. It’s the Dairy Queenification of the wine world, and I’m out to save the universe from it! Though if anyone wants to run out and get me a DQ Blueberry Blizzard, I’m down with that.
What? No, really, what? Forward fruit. Is that like overachieving fruit? I mean, I am familiar with being left behind, but what is the forward fruit doing? Are they like black ops troops, doing things we don’t want to know about? Do we sleep peacefully at night because forward fruit stand ready to do violence on our behalf?
You know, having had more than my share of encounters with fruit-forward wines, I am inclined to agree with myself, which may just be the first sign of the onset of dementia.
As in “this wine has height in the mouth,” which it does, mostly because we live in a three-dimensional world, which I have to admit I am thankful for. I hear there are additional universes with additional dimensions but, as we’re finding out, it’s difficult enough writing about wine in three dimensions, four if you include the 48.76 seconds the finish on this wine lasts.
Height in the mouth sort of describes how the flavors distinguish themselves in the mouth, which for the most part seems to be by getting their asses kicked by the forward fruit. Look out, here comes the supporting tannins! Boom!
You know, if I just had more supportive tannins I wouldn’t be seeing my therapist once a week, and maybe my lumbar wouldn’t hurt quite so much. But these supportive tannins, they’ve got your back! They are there for you man, whether you’re some dainty, strawberry-scented, pale, emo-listening, incense-burning bottle of hippie wine, or a big, brash, bold, brooding, black bottle of piss and vinegar -- in which case, don’t call me, I’ll call you, no, I promise, but in the meantime I’ve got these really supportive tannins you should talk to.
Like pretty much everything, wine’s flavors are built on a foundation. The structural elements of a wine -- acid, tannin, and sugar -- support those flavors much like salt does for food. And that is what I’m talking about when I mention supportive tannins, and I’m thinking I could use some support (-ive tannins) right about now. All this navel-gazing is exhausting work, and I’m thinking a bottle of Malbec is just the thing to remedy that.
OK, this is a doozy. Perhaps the most contentious term in wine today. I say a wine has terroir if we identify that wine from its characteristics. Other people claim that terroir goes beyond that, speaking literally of the expression of dirt, soil, earth in the vines.
Right, OK. Terroir is simply the effects of soil, man, and weather on a wine. Sadly that means that Aussie Shiraz has its own terroir (any easy wine to peg blind) as does a Muscadet, for example. It's not always a positive!
Look, terroir is everywhere. The truth of the matter is that we can't limit the discussion of terroir to wine. For example, New Jersey seems to be an excellent terroir for self-identified Guidos and Guidettes and there is no question that some of those self-same Guidos and Guidettes exhibit this terroir to nauseating perfection. Now we may not like that terroir; it can be great, but it can be gross as well!
Annoying Wine Words
Wine can be a pretty stuffy topic. Historically, it’s been dominated by old men wine tasting in wood-panelled libraries and speaking with a little Locust Valley lockjaw (if you know what I mean, Lovey).
The words that started it all! Read all about five overused terms that tell us nothing about wine!