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Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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#1 Post by John Morris »

Pity the poor wine critic. So many wines, so few words.

The problem was brought home by this blurb in one of those e-mails:
"The 2012 Barolo Castiglione is a gorgeous, radiant wine. Sweet red cherry, pomegranate, wild flowers and spices all meld together in a sensual, radiant wine endowed with striking presence and intensity. In 2012, the Castiglione is especially lifted, radiant and expressive, with striking purity and nuance. With time in the glass, the wine freshens up considerably, so aeration is a good idea for readers who want to open the 2012 early. This is a striking, seriously delicious Barolo from Vietti."-Antonio Galloni
Me thinks he needs an editor, or at least a thesaurus.

A little searching of my e-mails has turned up a list of overused words in Vinous, including: pedigree, class (often used together), luminescent, translucent, radiant, expressive, nuance/nuanced (“Scents of iron, smoke, herbs and licorice add the closing shades of nuances” [italics added; huh?]), polished and striking/strikingly.

Keith Levenberg suggested a bingo card, so here's my first stab:
Galloni bingo card.pdf
I'm sure we could make up one for Parker (I claim "hedonistic" for my center square). The guys at Zachy's are a little too fond of "patriarch" in their own pitches, so we could put that on their bingo card.

It’s hard not to sympathize when Galloni confesses that he’s run out of words:

* "The 2014 Montrose … is a much deeper wine than just a bunch of descriptors can conjure.”
* " Krug's 1988 Vintage … a Champagne of nearly indescribable finesse.”
* "Azelia's 2010 Barolo Bricco Fiasco is incredibly polished in this vintage. Dried roses, crushed berries, tobacco, mint and spices are woven together in a fabric of nearly indescribable class and elegance.”

Still, other times I wished he'd tried harder to express himself.

I'm still scratching my head trying to figure out how a wine "exudes resonance" and I'm not sure how a vintage can have a pedigree ("Two thousand thirteen is shaping up to be an epic vintage of classic proportions and superb pedigree”).

Over to you.... Want to suggest a Parker bingo card? An alternative Galloni card? Other favorite critics' malapropisms?

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Last edited by John Morris on March 30th, 2021, 7:47 am, edited 34 times in total.
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#2 Post by ybarselah »

that's a "BIN" card ;-)

can you search parker's notes for paine grille?
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#3 Post by John Morris »

Pain grillé! A must!
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#4 Post by Nick Ellis »

The word I most associate with Parker reviews is 'unctuous'.
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#5 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

Some Parkerisms:

Unctuous
Hedonistic
Pain grille
Skyscraper
Rolland/Perse
"natural alcohol hit 15% yet the wine is impeccably balance"
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#6 Post by David_K »

John Gilman: Everything is "deep" and "full-bodied."

Burghound: "In a word, __________."
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#7 Post by jcoley3 »

Tour de Force!

Prodigious!
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#8 Post by Glen Gold »

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#9 Post by Michael S. Monie »

Robert Alfert, Jr. wrote:Some Parkerisms:

Unctuous
Hedonistic
Pain grille
Skyscraper
Rolland/Perse
"natural alcohol hit 15% yet the wine is impeccably balance"
"massively endowed"
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#10 Post by Arv R »

Years ago I used to work with a guy who often had to dial into conference calls.

He must have been a management consultant or something in another life, since he was fond of some of their favorite buzzwords

'agnostic solutions'
'best in class'
'just in time'

Etc.

So I used to put on a whiteboard everytime he used one of these catch phrases. I'm not sure he really knew what they meant, since sometimes in his rambles, he would substitute atheistic when I'm sure he meant agnostic.

Eventually he heard what I was doing and complained, so I had to stop.

========

I think all these words are some outcome of the random tasting note generator chat bot mentioned some threads down.
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#11 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

Michael S. Monie wrote:
Robert Alfert, Jr. wrote:Some Parkerisms:

Unctuous
Hedonistic
Pain grille
Skyscraper
Rolland/Perse
"natural alcohol hit 15% yet the wine is impeccably balance"
"massively endowed"
Thanks, but you don't know me well enough for such a public declaration . . . .
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#12 Post by GregT »

He complained?
[rofl.gif]

gobs
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boasts
best ever
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#13 Post by Michael S. Monie »

Robert Alfert, Jr. wrote:
Michael S. Monie wrote:
Robert Alfert, Jr. wrote:Some Parkerisms:

Unctuous
Hedonistic
Pain grille
Skyscraper
Rolland/Perse
"natural alcohol hit 15% yet the wine is impeccably balance"
"massively endowed"
Thanks, but you don't know me well enough for such a public declaration . . . .
I also remember Parker using "flaccid".
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#14 Post by john stimson »

You forgot that in Antonio's world, everything leaps from the glass, making me think that perhaps he has a coordination or balance problem.

Actually, if you try to write a lot of tasting notes, it's incredibly hard not to use phrases over and over again. That's why I sometimes find I prefer Coates' minimalist notes. I'm also reminded of a thread a few years ago about 6 word, or 10 word (some small number in that range) tasting notes. It's an interesting exercise, and the notes communicate about the same amount of information as the much longer notes.

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#15 Post by Jorge Henriquez »

VERY
BEAUTIFUL
DISASTER
BIGLY

Oh wait, wrong Bingo. Mah bad.
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#16 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

Michael S. Monie wrote:
Robert Alfert, Jr. wrote:
Michael S. Monie wrote:
"massively endowed"
Thanks, but you don't know me well enough for such a public declaration . . . .
I also remember Parker using "flaccid".
They usually go hand in hand . . . .
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#17 Post by g.colangelo »

John Morris wrote:Pity the poor wine critic. So many wines, so few words.

The problem was brought home by this blurb in one of those e-mails:
"The 2012 Barolo Castiglione is a gorgeous, radiant wine. Sweet red cherry, pomegranate, wild flowers and spices all meld together in a sensual, radiant wine endowed with striking presence and intensity. In 2012, the Castiglione is especially lifted, radiant and expressive, with striking purity and nuance. With time in the glass, the wine freshens up considerably, so aeration is a good idea for readers who want to open the 2012 early. This is a striking, seriously delicious Barolo from Vietti."-Antonio Galloni[/b]
Hey, John, you even missed to highlight one of the "striking"! (Corrected up here ;-) )
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#18 Post by John Morris »

OMG!
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#19 Post by John Morris »

Bill Klapp e-mailed me to say "You need a bigger bingo card," and offered the following list:

"Lifted"
"Iconic" (shame on you for that not being number one!) "Sheer"
"Pure" (especially "exceptional purity", often coupled with "striking balance") "Soaring"
"X wine is all about..."
"Haunting"
"Utterly captivating"
"Sculpted"
"X wine impresses for its..."
"A wine that speaks to (or with) [add trite, meaningless term at random from bingo card]"
"Total knockout"
"Gravitas" (as in "endowed with serious palate intensity and gravitas from start to finish")
"Super-impressive"
"Simply"
"Remarkable depth"
"Pure sensuality"
"Absolutely gorgeous"
"Voluptuousness"
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#20 Post by Ian Sutton »

I'm sure many of us could have similar lists, and I know qualifiers such as 'slightly', 'hint', 'moderately' & 'somewhat' would feature prominently in mine.

That said, it's quite striking that the list Bill supplied you has so many that are no descriptors of what the wine tastes like, but of how high the quality of the wine is, as perceived by the critic. This is exactly what we criticised Parker for, telling his readers what they should like, rather than letting and indeed encouraging them to form their own opinion based on whether it sounded appealing to them.

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#21 Post by Markus S »

Why stop with critics? I swear I read the same copy post-after-post from Zachys, Fass, Crush...etc.
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#22 Post by John Morris »

Markus S wrote:Why stop with critics? I swear I read the same copy post-after-post from Zachys, Fass, Crush...etc.
Yes, Zachy's could use a thesaurus. As I said above, way too many "patriarchs" (and it's rarely really what they mean) and "epic."
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#23 Post by Oliver V »

For me the one which grates the most is "Goes on and on", which appears in basically every Wine Spectator review as far as I can tell.

I always think that to be a good wine writer, you need to be able to do the "writing" part as well as the "wine" part. For all I disagree with a lot of what Parker says, I do think he generally writes decent prose, which is more than can be said for some of his illiterate acolytes.
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#24 Post by Sc0tt F!tzger@ld »

Man, missing Klapp...

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#25 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

Scott Fitzgerald wrote:Man, missing Klapp...
Tough to get rid of it when you get it.
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#26 Post by George Chadwick »

I have the world's worst thesaurus. Not only is it terrible, it's terrible.

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#27 Post by P. ONeill »

Trampling over Vinous to get to Parker….

"Spectacular" has to get a mention, I think.

As does "prodigious" ("a prodigious effort…….")

And "soars from the glass" (with a tip of the hat to John Stimson above).
"P" --> P_e_t_e_r.

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#28 Post by Glen Gold »

George Chadwick wrote:I have the world's worst thesaurus. Not only is it terrible, it's terrible.
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#29 Post by Barry Paul Price »

tumescent


Wait, what?
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#30 Post by John Morris »

Oliver Viveier wrote:I always think that to be a good wine writer, you need to be able to do the "writing" part as well as the "wine" part. For all I disagree with a lot of what Parker says, I do think he generally writes decent prose, which is more than can be said for some of his illiterate acolytes.
I always found his prose pretty wooden even in its best moments. But Galloni's looks like it was dictated but not read.
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#31 Post by Jim Anderson »

I have to write all the content for the winery's "stuff" (newsletters, website, etc.) Unfortunately we now have people that look at this stuff and edit it before the real world gets to see it. In response to this editing I write elaborate and non-sensical tasting notes that I firmly believe are far more illuminating about the wines than normal blather to which I am mostly restrained. It is exceptionally difficult to expand upon the wine lingo category and therefore difficult not to fall into some lazy traps. In the more boring versions of tasting notes I do attempt to keep the flamboyant patter to a minimum and talk much more in generalized terms that I think people can actually relate to. Then again I am trying to sell wine and not subscriptions so...
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#32 Post by D@v!d P@rt@!n »

Don't forget "liquor-like". Perhaps the most telling description warning me to skip this wine and move on to something else. [cheers.gif]
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#33 Post by Vince T »

For the suckles, it has to be "the greatest since... [roll 3x 20-sided dice and subtract from current vintage] year"
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#34 Post by Gary York »

Did anyone look at the TN ?
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#35 Post by Peter Kleban »

The best expressed and most fun to read TNs I've seen, by a good shot, are by David Strange. Just search his posts here (and his blog for more) and you'll see what I mean.
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#36 Post by john stimson »

Unfortunately, Davy pays a heavy price for being able to write his over the top hallucinogenic tasting notes.

I'm happy to dis Antonio and Parker for their tasting notes, but in reality, it's exceedingly hard to write original notes in the volume that these folks have to produce. I recently wrote some notes on a 10 bottle Thomas vertical. All of the wines were exactly the same, except the vintages were slightly different. It's tough to write original notes that differentiate the wines in that setting, and that's only ten wines.

Look at Jim Anderson, who has to write notes about each of the 63 or so bottlings that PG produces each year (I could be off by a few). How can you do that and not repeat yourself, or drift off into some existential shit to distract the reader so he doesn't notice that you've actually left the wine and the planet a while before.

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#37 Post by Jim Anderson »

john stimson wrote:Unfortunately, Davy pays a heavy price for being able to write his over the top hallucinogenic tasting notes.

I'm happy to dis Antonio and Parker for their tasting notes, but in reality, it's exceedingly hard to write original notes in the volume that these folks have to produce. I recently wrote some notes on a 10 bottle Thomas vertical. All of the wines were exactly the same, except the vintages were slightly different. It's tough to write original notes that differentiate the wines in that setting, and that's only ten wines.

Look at Jim Anderson, who has to write notes about each of the 63 or so bottlings that PG produces each year (I could be off by a few). How can you do that and not repeat yourself, or drift off into some existential shit to distract the reader so he doesn't notice that you've actually left the wine and the planet a while before.
I would love to get to 63. Or 65. Or 67. Or 69...just gotta keep working at it!

The crazy stuff I make up that is now restricted to internal communiques is fun (I think) but somehow works in some way despite the fact that no one sees it. Short of publishing the HS Thompson version of my notes I diligently try to be somewhat boring and factual about fruit intensity, acidity and structural profile. Therefore not a lot of "leaps from the glass" stuff even if I think it does (we all k ow what that is).
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#38 Post by john stimson »

Actually, I'd just as soon read the HS Thompson internal versions, myself. (OK, some of my last bit of the 2014 Berserker cuvee just leapt from my glass. I do know what that means, so I'm going to bed.)

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#39 Post by Arv R »

Peter Kleban wrote:The best expressed and most fun to read TNs I've seen, by a good shot, are by David Strange. Just search his posts here (and his blog for more) and you'll see what I mean.
I agree -- I've never read anything quite like them.

There must be an interesting backstory to him.
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#40 Post by Jim Anderson »

john stimson wrote:Actually, I'd just as soon read the HS Thompson internal versions, myself. (OK, some of my last bit of the 2014 Berserker cuvee just leapt from my glass. I do know what that means, so I'm going to bed.)
This is from the 2016 "Mysterious" Pinot Noir bottling notes: This tastes like an early 20th century Chinese haberdasher who is smuggling a rare blue diamond into the Tibetan city of Lhasa.
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#41 Post by Nick Ryan »

I love existential shit in tasting notes, random streams-of-consciousness, copious swearing, anything to stave off boredom. Terry Theise is a master of this. Just to pick a random note from one of his newsletters...

"Polished and relatively “modern,” showing all the classic flavors of this greatest-of-great vineyards. From their oldest vines
(planted 1939) blended with a parcel that’s merely 40. A wine to study in its mint-smoke potion hookah juju; it should be served
by a Vizier instead of a somm, unless the somm comes to the table with falcons on both shoulders…."

Damn. You kind of have to be born with skill like that.
http://sites.google.com/site/nryan4242/CellarPlannerV11.zip

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#42 Post by Chris Seiber »

You'll get Richard Jennings every time if you put "medium-plus finish" on your card.

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#43 Post by Odd Rydland »

Nick Ryan wrote:I love existential shit in tasting notes, random streams-of-consciousness, copious swearing, anything to stave off boredom. Terry Theise is a master of this. Just to pick a random note from one of his newsletters...

"Polished and relatively “modern,” showing all the classic flavors of this greatest-of-great vineyards. From their oldest vines
(planted 1939) blended with a parcel that’s merely 40. A wine to study in its mint-smoke potion hookah juju; it should be served
by a Vizier instead of a somm, unless the somm comes to the table with falcons on both shoulders…."

Damn. You kind of have to be born with skill like that.
Stuff like this is the only reason to read tasting notes. Otherwise concentration, acidity, balance and length is the only thing that matters. All the rest are mainly subjective anyway.

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#44 Post by Larry Link »

Chris Seiber wrote:You'll get Richard Jennings every time if you put "medium-plus finish" on your card.
With a pale meniscus.

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#45 Post by Larry Link »

The other Parkerism that I dislike is:

The (insert name) winery is going from strength to strength. . .

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#46 Post by George Chadwick »

D@v!d P@rt@!n wrote:Don't forget "liquor-like". Perhaps the most telling description warning me to skip this wine and move on to something else. [cheers.gif]
Do you mean liqueur-like? That means essence of the fruit, not alcoholic. I doubt any TN ever said liquor-like.

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#47 Post by Gary York »

Did anyone actually bother to read the tasting note ?
ITB

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#48 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

Chris Seiber wrote:You'll get Richard Jennings every time if you put "medium-plus finish" on your card.
And 93 pts.
“Dammit Brian, until you tuited this diatribe, I was haiku aging my sh*t.“
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@lfert

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#49 Post by Neal.Mollen »

Robert Alfert, Jr. wrote:
Scott Fitzgerald wrote:Man, missing Klapp...
Tough to get rid of it when you get it.
He is an antibiotic resistant strain. He'll be back posting. Everyone wave at Billy; Hi Billy!

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For Tanzer, it seems as if every review begins with "[Good] medium red." Or at least the red wines.
I don't have to speak; she defends me

A drunkard's dream if I ever did see one

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#50 Post by David_K »

I like Jancis's notes. Short and terse, but they say more in 20 words than others' do in 100.
K@ntrОwi╦z

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