It's critic bingo! ("a little thunder of volatility in the tannins")

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Robert.A.Jr.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Taught With Tension")

#1301 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

Otto Forsberg wrote: November 28th, 2020, 6:27 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote: November 28th, 2020, 5:32 am They are so long, so complex, that I have to flip them to one of my associates to prepare an executive summary. Points first. One of them had the nerve to ask how this Viking guy could drink 13 bottles in one evening and still write semi-coherently.
I hope you told them that drinking 13 wines doesn't imply drinking 13 bottles of wine! [rofl.gif] And 12-13 wines is basically the standard. It gets hard when I get past the 30 notes mark, although my record is 120 notes at one go!
I did not clarify. I often regale them with exaggerated tales of my own legend. And that is not lifted.
Last edited by Robert.A.Jr. on November 28th, 2020, 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Taught With Tension")

#1302 Post by William Kelley »

Otto Forsberg wrote: November 28th, 2020, 6:27 am I think it is perfectly understandable if someone says that a white wine (or a sparkling wine, for that matter) seems to be noticeably high in dry extract. However, it would seem a bit weird reading a white wine to be extracted, unless there was some extraction done as part of the vinification process - like, say, prolonged cold soak before fermentation.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Taught With Tension")

#1303 Post by J D o v e »

Jayson Cohen wrote: November 26th, 2020, 11:36 am
Robert.A.Jr. wrote: November 26th, 2020, 10:36 am
Keith Levenberg wrote: November 26th, 2020, 10:00 am My favorite square on the Galloni card are the wines that are super-expressive and also closed.

"The 2018 Pape Clément is dense, powerful, and brooding. In most vintages, Pape Clément is much more showy and inviting, but the 2018 is in no mood to show all of its cards. Instead, we find a Pape Clément that explodes with vertical intensity and lift. Captivating scents of gravel, smoke, leather, tobacco, chocolate and incense add layers of complexity. I can't wait to see how the 2018 ages. Today, it is super expressive. The blend is 66% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc. New oak is 45%. Tasted four times."
Hard to imagine a more contradictory note. His writing clearly is not “finessed”.
He could use a ghost writer. I mean, editor.
If there were ever any proof needed that there is no knowledgeable editor at work here, that tasting notice definitely it.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Taught With Tension")

#1304 Post by Otto Forsberg »

William Kelley wrote: November 28th, 2020, 6:40 am
Otto Forsberg wrote: November 28th, 2020, 6:27 am I think it is perfectly understandable if someone says that a white wine (or a sparkling wine, for that matter) seems to be noticeably high in dry extract. However, it would seem a bit weird reading a white wine to be extracted, unless there was some extraction done as part of the vinification process - like, say, prolonged cold soak before fermentation.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Taught With Tension")

#1305 Post by John Morris »

William Kelley wrote: November 28th, 2020, 6:40 am
Otto Forsberg wrote: November 28th, 2020, 6:27 am I think it is perfectly understandable if someone says that a white wine (or a sparkling wine, for that matter) seems to be noticeably high in dry extract. However, it would seem a bit weird reading a white wine to be extracted, unless there was some extraction done as part of the vinification process - like, say, prolonged cold soak before fermentation.
You said it better than I did!
Well, darn if I don't agree.

But I still think that saying a wine has high dry extract based on tasting alone is kind of pseudo-technical language.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Taught With Tension")

#1306 Post by William Kelley »

John Morris wrote: November 28th, 2020, 6:55 am
William Kelley wrote: November 28th, 2020, 6:40 am
Otto Forsberg wrote: November 28th, 2020, 6:27 am I think it is perfectly understandable if someone says that a white wine (or a sparkling wine, for that matter) seems to be noticeably high in dry extract. However, it would seem a bit weird reading a white wine to be extracted, unless there was some extraction done as part of the vinification process - like, say, prolonged cold soak before fermentation.
You said it better than I did!
Well, darn if I don't agree.

But I still think that saying a wine has high dry extract based on tasting alone is kind of pseudo-technical language.
If you propose a better alternative I will adopt it! I often use it in conjunction with other terms, e.g. "built around chalky structuring dry extract", which hopefully makes it more clear.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1307 Post by John Morris »

William Kelley wrote: November 28th, 2020, 6:19 am
John Morris wrote: November 28th, 2020, 6:03 am I have no problem calling a wine "extracted," meaning it's dense and has texture. But "dry extract" is a lab term. As I recall, you cook off the liquid and see what solids are left. When someone writes that a wine has a lot of dry extract based only on tasting it, I suspect they mean it's tannic and has a lot of flavor. I'm pretty sure that is imperfectly correlated with dry extract, and they're just trying to sound technically informed. (I've only encountered "dry extract" in notes on reds, but I know that some white can seem extracted.)
Oh, I don't recall ever seeing it in a review of a red! It's a term I only use with reference to white wines, to emphasize that they have real extract from the skins. Perhaps I should just write "extract", but I have gotten into the habit from talking with French winemakers who will use the term "extrait sec" to refer to this quality in white wines.
Allen Meadows is quite fond of the term for reds:
2009 Geantet Pansiot - Gevrey Chambertin - Le Poissenot
"Here the nose is much more reserved with ripe yet cool and airy black raspberry and red cherry liqueur aromas cut with distinct stony notes that also appear on the rich, intense and beautifully well-detailed flavors brimming with dry extract that renders the otherwise firm tannins almost invisible on the dusty, focused and impeccably well balanced finish. A first-rate Gevrey 1er of finesse and understatement."

2018 Domaine Trapet - Gevrey-Chambertin
"Spicy aromas of dark raspberry, plum, floral nuances, violet. Rich quite full-bodied flavors, sappy dry extract, complex, firm and sneaky long finish. This is very good and a Gevrey villages that is worth checking out."

2016 Joseph Drouhin Chambertin Clos de Beze
"Once again this is distinctly restrained in style with its cool and attractively refined nose that features a broad mix of super-spicy and floral-inflected aromas that include violet, plum and black raspberry. There is ample minerality and dry extract to the full-bodied and solidly powerful flavors that possess that wonderful sense of underlying tension that carries over to the rich and mouth coating finish. This positively gorgeous effort is crafted in a very firm but not hard package that like all of these grands crus, will require extended patience if you wish to see it at its apogee."
I think I recall it in a Jeb Dunnuck Rhone review, too.

And here's Flatiron Wines in NYC using it for as white. They use the term very frequently in their e-mails, mainly for reds.
Wasenhaus, Landwein Weissburgunder, 2018
"Recently resurrected old vines of old clones that had been abandoned for generations, now converted to Organic and Biodynamic practices. The grapes ferment in large neutral oak for 12 months, then rest in stainless steel for 6 months before a dash of sulphur is added at bottling. The aromatic waxy-lemon-zest nose is powerful and integrates into the intense wooly-textured, crushed-rock palate. The wine sings in high notes while scrubbing your tongue with what some tasters refers to as "dry extract" (a fancy word for tannins and other compounds in white wine). Salt and lime juice linger in a finish that goes on much longer than a $40 wine has a right to." - Flatiron Wines
Last edited by John Morris on November 28th, 2020, 7:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Taught With Tension")

#1308 Post by John Morris »

William Kelley wrote: November 28th, 2020, 7:01 am If you propose a better alternative I will adopt it! I often use it in conjunction with other terms, e.g. "built around chalky structuring dry extract", which hopefully makes it more clear.
Why not just say extracted?
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Taught With Tension")

#1309 Post by William Kelley »

John Morris wrote: November 28th, 2020, 7:04 am
William Kelley wrote: November 28th, 2020, 7:01 am If you propose a better alternative I will adopt it! I often use it in conjunction with other terms, e.g. "built around chalky structuring dry extract", which hopefully makes it more clear.
Why not just say extracted?
I refer you to Otto's remarks at post #1299 above!
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Taught With Tension")

#1310 Post by Keith Levenberg »

William Kelley wrote: November 28th, 2020, 4:52 amI'm not sure I agree, Keith. To me, the terms "lifted" and "high-toned" (and especially the latter) are quite readily relatable to a wine with a tangier, livelier, more piquant register of aromas.
I agree & that's how I've always used those terms (well, at least the latter one) until being told it's a term of art for VA, which strikes me as a misappropriation of a term better suited for the usage you describe. As long as there are people who will read it and assume VA, its "innocent" (and original) usage no longer works. That's okay - if the concept we're trying to describe is "tangier, livelier" aromas, we can just use those words instead.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1311 Post by John Morris »

"Piquant" is a pretty good descriptor for the aroma of acetic acid -- sharp but also enticing if not too strong.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Taught With Tension")

#1312 Post by William Kelley »

Keith Levenberg wrote: November 28th, 2020, 7:16 am
William Kelley wrote: November 28th, 2020, 4:52 amI'm not sure I agree, Keith. To me, the terms "lifted" and "high-toned" (and especially the latter) are quite readily relatable to a wine with a tangier, livelier, more piquant register of aromas.
I agree & that's how I've always used those terms (well, at least the latter one) until being told it's a term of art for VA, which strikes me as a misappropriation of a term better suited for the usage you describe. As long as there are people who will read it and assume VA, its "innocent" (and original) usage no longer works. That's okay - if the concept we're trying to describe is "tangier, livelier" aromas, we can just use those words instead.
For me, it's not so much a "term of art" or euphemism for VA. It's just that wines with these characteristics do often tend to have analytically high volatile acidity if one sends samples to the lab.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Taught With Tension")

#1313 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

William Kelley wrote: November 28th, 2020, 7:27 am
Keith Levenberg wrote: November 28th, 2020, 7:16 am
William Kelley wrote: November 28th, 2020, 4:52 amI'm not sure I agree, Keith. To me, the terms "lifted" and "high-toned" (and especially the latter) are quite readily relatable to a wine with a tangier, livelier, more piquant register of aromas.
I agree & that's how I've always used those terms (well, at least the latter one) until being told it's a term of art for VA, which strikes me as a misappropriation of a term better suited for the usage you describe. As long as there are people who will read it and assume VA, its "innocent" (and original) usage no longer works. That's okay - if the concept we're trying to describe is "tangier, livelier" aromas, we can just use those words instead.
For me, it's not so much a "term of art" or euphemism for VA. It's just that wines with these characteristics do often tend to have analytically high volatile acidity if one sends samples to the lab.
All of you heavy-weight intellectuals - yes you, William, Keith, John, Otto - simply have it dead wrong. Johnny Gilman, on the other hand, is a man of the people, a street warrior. He get's "lift".
2015 Edmunds St. John
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“Steve Edmunds’ North County Road bottling of syrah is composed of sixty-five percent fruit from Fenaughty Vineyard and thirty-five percent from Barsotti Ranch. The 2015 vintage comes in at 13.5 percent octane and delivers outstanding aromatic complexity in its mix of raspberries, smoked meats, pepper, lavender, stony minerality, beautiful spice tones, bonfire and a bit of new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, pure and very elegant in profile, with a fine structural chassis, an excellent core of fruit, ripe, seamless tannins and a long, tangy and complex finish that shows superb grip and backend lift. Surprisingly, this is more expressive today on the palate than it is on the nose. It is stellar syrah in the making. (Drink between 2025-2055)”
There is nothing on the planet better than backend lift. Nothing. Even Sir Mix-A-Lot - true, iconic rap royalty - made a song about it.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1314 Post by Otto Forsberg »

The only Gilman whose text might pique my interest is Charlotte Perkins!

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1315 Post by c fu »

The only thing i learned after 27 pages is we need more tasting notes from John Morris himself so we can critique them.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1316 Post by Otto Forsberg »

c fu wrote: November 30th, 2020, 2:00 pm The only thing i learned after 27 pages is we need more tasting notes from John Morris himself so we can critique them.
Even better is when re-reads them in 10 years' time and starts to critique the ridiculous descriptors he used back then.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1317 Post by John Morris »

c fu wrote: November 30th, 2020, 2:00 pm The only thing i learned after 27 pages is we need more tasting notes from John Morris himself so we can critique them.
Being a fool, I have obliged.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1318 Post by Robert.A.Jr. »

Otto Forsberg wrote: November 30th, 2020, 2:05 pm
c fu wrote: November 30th, 2020, 2:00 pm The only thing i learned after 27 pages is we need more tasting notes from John Morris himself so we can critique them.
Even better is when re-reads them in 10 years' time and starts to critique the ridiculous descriptors he used back then.
We do indeed critique his various published books, but dang they are so freakin good. He gives us no ammo.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1319 Post by GregT »

Absolutely Robert, and his close reading of TNs is awe-inspiring. The patience, the dedication, the analysis - it leaves me speechless. Too bad it doesn't do the same for a few others.

"lifted by metallic minerality" is indeed a great addition, implying precision while being precisely impossible.

What are minerals?

Well, one common system was developed by Professor James Dana at Yale in 1848. It divides minerals into eight categories: native elements, silicates, oxides, sulfides, sulfates, halides, carbonates, phosphates, and mineraloids.

While most of them are made by something combining with a metal, it's the first category we're interested in. The "native elements" include things like copper, iron, gold, etc., in other words, things that are themselves metals in their elemental forms. Can't get your minerality much more metallic than that.

And these things are non-volatile, so they have no odor. But somehow they lift the already captivating nose!

This is the kind of shit you come up with when you're three sheets to the wind, it's late at night, and you say to yourself "Screw it. I'll use the alliteration generator!"

As it says right on the website: "Need a prompt? Go random!"

And so you do.

I put in "metallic minerality" and I got back "the cat sat on a mat", which proves that the TN was penned using that website! And it's based in the UK, which means that it will be even more difficult to comprehend for the US audience.

https://www.poem-generator.org.uk/alliteration/
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Taught With Tension")

#1320 Post by PeterH »

John Morris wrote: November 22nd, 2020, 10:25 am Some wines take their learning well -- well enough to garner 98 points from Suckling.

Here's the 2019 Chacra Pinot Noir Cincuenta y Cinco per Sherry-Lehman:
... Taught with tension, minerality and neutral oak, this Pinot is breathtaking in its purity of fruit. ...
Studies show, however, that teaching is more effective if it takes place in a less tense environment.

And I shudder to think what "taught with ... neutral oak" might mean. Sounds like corporal punishment. I thought that was prohibited in schools these days.

If they meant "taut with tension," that would be redundant, and I have no idea what "taut ... with neutral oak" would mean. In any event, the wine is aged in second, third and fourth-use barrels, according to Sherry-Lehman's product listing, and second and (probably) third-year barrels typically aren't neutral.
Others seem to have learned-

From cellartrackers, re: Elvio Cogno Barolo

"Beautiful nose. Taught cherry fruit is obscured a bit by the typical ripe powdery-textured tannins you get on the ‘16s"
P Hickner

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1321 Post by John Morris »

Magically cool aromas of crushed aspirin! Mmm-mmm, good!
"The Cavallotto 2013 Barolo Riserva Bricco Boschis Vigna San Giuseppe feels magically cool even as the wine warms in the glass. Eucalyptus, menthol and medicinal herbs rise from the bouquet, with dark fruit and savory spice in tow. When you first open the bottle, it shows a distinct mineral character with crushed aspirin, limestone and graphite. I opened a second bottle a few days before this tasting and had both bottles side by side to compare. Both showed impressive results with a pristine level of focus, sharpness and linearity. With aeration, those dark fruit nuances come to the forefront, showing dried cherry, plum and candied orange peel. A few hours later, you pick up on leather, tobacco and cedar wood. This is a fluid and ever-changing wine that is well worth adding to your cellar selection. What a beauty." 99 points Monica Larner (Robert Parker's Wine Advocate)
Since "pristine" means like new, I'm not sure what it means to say it has a pristine level of focus, sharpness or linearity. Is that the opposite of secondhand levels of focus, sharpness and linearity?
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Taught With Tension")

#1322 Post by J D o v e »

PeterH wrote: December 1st, 2020, 8:39 pm
John Morris wrote: November 22nd, 2020, 10:25 am Some wines take their learning well -- well enough to garner 98 points from Suckling.

Here's the 2019 Chacra Pinot Noir Cincuenta y Cinco per Sherry-Lehman:
... Taught with tension, minerality and neutral oak, this Pinot is breathtaking in its purity of fruit. ...
Studies show, however, that teaching is more effective if it takes place in a less tense environment.

And I shudder to think what "taught with ... neutral oak" might mean. Sounds like corporal punishment. I thought that was prohibited in schools these days.

If they meant "taut with tension," that would be redundant, and I have no idea what "taut ... with neutral oak" would mean. In any event, the wine is aged in second, third and fourth-use barrels, according to Sherry-Lehman's product listing, and second and (probably) third-year barrels typically aren't neutral.
Others seem to have learned-

From cellartrackers, re: Elvio Cogno Barolo

"Beautiful nose. Taught cherry fruit is obscured a bit by the typical ripe powdery-textured tannins you get on the ‘16s"
Sigh. That was me. Thanks for catching my spelling error. [oops.gif]
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1323 Post by PeterH »

I knew the note was from a Berserker and didn't want to use names.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Taught With Tension")

#1324 Post by John Morris »

J D o v e wrote: December 5th, 2020, 4:30 pm Sigh. That was me. Thanks for catching my spelling error. [oops.gif]
Well, with that confession out there, I can say that I have made this mistake many times. In my own inventory, where I keep some tasting notes, I ran a global replace a week or two ago. [wow.gif]
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1325 Post by John Morris »

It's a bingo bonanza this evening with the 2010 Dom Perignon, courtesy of K&L's e-mail. Whatever this wine tastes like, it sure inspires some wild prose.

If you smush all the tasting notes together, you get phenolic saline praline tangerines! Not often you find such a rhyming wine.
98 points James Suckling: "A firm and vivid Champagne with a precise, focused palate. Full-bodied and dry. It's very layered and bright with light pineapple, peach, praline, cooked-apple and stone aromas and flavors. It's very subtle and focused at the end. Integrated with richness and high acidity. Good depth. Reminds me of the 1995. Very clean. Solid. Lovely to drink already, but will age nicely." (07/2020)
96 points Wine Enthusiast: "The new release of this iconic Champagne shows its richness to perfection. The floral aromas lead to a wine that has weight and density as well as a balance that encompasses ripe fruits that have now matured to reveal nuttiness, toast and a tight salinity at the end. (RV)" (12/2020)
96 points Wine Spectator: "A graceful Champagne, featuring fragrant notes of toasted brioche and grilled nut that are more subtle on the palate, with a rich underpinning layered with a pure chime of tangerine and accents of candied ginger, toasted saffron and lime blossom. This bundles a lot of concentrated flavor into a lithe frame, with the fine mousse caressing the palate through to the lasting finish. *Collectibles* (AN)" (11/2020)
"Chime of tangerine"?

Toasted saffron?

Is the lime blossom toasted, too? Or just the saffron?

(Extra points for the use of "lithe.")

93 points Decanter: "Soft gold, with a gentle green luminescence and a paler rim. A fine bead and immediately reassuring nose. classic DP this, citric fruit, slate, sourdough, soft spice and the softly whispered intimations of tropical decadence. Pedigree writ large. The palate continues the theme, albeit with great subtlety. Vincent describes sapidity, itself buttressing the fruit which now recalls nectarines and pineapple, maybe a hint of crystallised grapefruit. The finish unfurls neatly, a gentle phenolic kick of salinity underwriting structure and potential alike. (SF)" (07/2020)
Sapidity and salinity, whispering under the palms.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1326 Post by Marcus Dean »

Not sure that sounds right for 2010, Im sure if they scratch out the vintage it will reveal its actually a bottle of 2011

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1327 Post by William Kelley »

Flattered not to have been quoted in that offer...
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1328 Post by Dan Kravitz »

Dry extract = density?

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1329 Post by Dan Kravitz »

And, as the Germans say, shouldn't that be 'sugar-free dry extract'?

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1330 Post by crickey »

If you were feeling left out, William...

"The 2010 Dom Pérignon is already expressive, wafting from the glass with aromas of crisp green apple, peach, iodine, freshly baked bread, orange oil and smoke. Medium to full-bodied, pillowy and charming, it's soft and round, with ripe acids, a moderately concentrated core of fruit and a pearly mousse, concluding with a saline finish."

Got that saline thing going on, to make John happy.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1331 Post by William Kelley »

crickey wrote: December 9th, 2020, 6:53 pm If you were feeling left out, William...

"The 2010 Dom Pérignon is already expressive, wafting from the glass with aromas of crisp green apple, peach, iodine, freshly baked bread, orange oil and smoke. Medium to full-bodied, pillowy and charming, it's soft and round, with ripe acids, a moderately concentrated core of fruit and a pearly mousse, concluding with a saline finish."

Got that saline thing going on, just like the others.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1332 Post by Otto Forsberg »

What's so weird about praline or salinity in Champagne? I find both elements quite commonplace - although, to me, praline would be more in place with sweet oxidative wines like Tawny Port or sweet Madeira.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1333 Post by John Morris »

I had no quarrel with the flavor descriptors (well, except phenolic salinity). I was just amused by the rhyming potential of praline, saline and tangerine.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1334 Post by Otto Forsberg »

John Morris wrote: December 10th, 2020, 6:17 am I had no quarrel with the flavor descriptors (well, except phenolic salinity). I was just amused by the rhyming potential of praline, saline and tangerine.
Oh, right! Missed out that part.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1335 Post by Marcu$ Stanley »

What does a "searing level of extract" mean? Been seeing this a fair amount in critics notes and they seem to mean it in a positive way, but I have to say it's a very unattractive descriptor to me -- makes me think of alcohol burn on my throat. Is it just some kind of synonym for intense? Why should extract be "searing"?

And while we're at it, what exactly is "extract"? Is this supposed to be dry extract? Has there ever been any demonstration of a relationship between some lab measure of dry extract and the quality of a wine?

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1336 Post by Otto Forsberg »

Marcu$ Stanley wrote: December 20th, 2020, 5:35 pm What does a "searing level of extract" mean? Been seeing this a fair amount in critics notes and they seem to mean it in a positive way, but I have to say it's a very unattractive descriptor to me -- makes me think of alcohol burn on my throat. Is it just some kind of synonym for intense? Why should extract be "searing"?
That sounds just silly, not really making any sense.
And while we're at it, what exactly is "extract"? Is this supposed to be dry extract? Has there ever been any demonstration of a relationship between some lab measure of dry extract and the quality of a wine?
Yes, dry extract. And while not there is no direct relationship between dry extract in g/l and quality, I've noticed there's an obvious correlation between dry extract in g/l and high RP scores!

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1337 Post by William Kelley »

Otto Forsberg wrote: December 20th, 2020, 11:31 pm
Marcu$ Stanley wrote: December 20th, 2020, 5:35 pm What does a "searing level of extract" mean? Been seeing this a fair amount in critics notes and they seem to mean it in a positive way, but I have to say it's a very unattractive descriptor to me -- makes me think of alcohol burn on my throat. Is it just some kind of synonym for intense? Why should extract be "searing"?
That sounds just silly, not really making any sense.
And while we're at it, what exactly is "extract"? Is this supposed to be dry extract? Has there ever been any demonstration of a relationship between some lab measure of dry extract and the quality of a wine?
Yes, dry extract. And while not there is no direct relationship between dry extract in g/l and quality, I've noticed there's an obvious correlation between dry extract in g/l and high RP scores!
As I believe I am the party responsible for this phrase, which I have applied exclusively to white wines, I want to try to defend it. At post #1292 above and the ensuing exchange, we have already gone into the subject of dry extract. I often find it useful to talk about dry extract with regards to white Burgundy. There is a very real distinction between wines which are made with very clean, rapidly pressed juice from fat, juicy berries—which are soft, supple and consensual (and which have low levels of dry extract)—and the rare counterexamples where the wines contain appreciable extract from the skins, lending them real physical structure and chalky grip that is more reminiscent of a red wine than a white. When you taste a young white Burgundy from Domaine d'Auvenay, for example, the acidity and chalky structuring extract of the wine does indeed leave an almost searing impression on the palate. I tend to think that what is often described as "minerality", a term I try to eschew, is actually frequently what we perceive when tasting a wine with high levels of extract, often but not always combined with low pH. Oenologists measure extract as "dry extract", as was discussed above, so this is often the expression used to refer to extract in white wine, by me and others, though I can see why the "dry" can seem redundant, referring to a metric of something rather than the thing itself. But, to my mind, and partly because it is so rare in contemporary Burgundy, it is worthy of comment when white wines posses this sort of serious structure.

To give you some concrete examples, I have a few lab analyses sitting on my desk. One is for a 2018 GG Reisling from KP Keller, which has 23.8 g/l dry extract; one from a top Burgundy's producer's 2014 Corton-Charlemagne, which has 24.6 g/l dry extract; and one for a less interesting producer's 2018 Bâtard-Montrachet, which has 17.5 g/l dry extract. Of course, obviously, numbers only tell part of the story about a wine, and I wouldn't ever publish numbers such as these in a review, as they are too liable to be misunderstood. But, in this case, I can assure you that the numbers reflect very tangible differences in how the wines taste (as well as how the grapes were grown and how the wines were made)! The first two numbers are indeed no different from what you will find in a lot of contemporary red Burgundy: a well-known producer's 2018 Lavaux Saint-Jacques has 24.2 g/l (for some context, to get a sense of the upper end of the scale for classically styled red wines, the 2005 Château Montrose has 29.4 g/l dry extract). Now, you may argue that the term "searing levels of dry extract" is too opaque or technical for the reader, but I hope you will see that I am trying to communicate a perceptible material property that I think is an important differentiator between some white wines and others.
Last edited by William Kelley on December 21st, 2020, 7:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1338 Post by Jonathan Loesberg »

OK, but what does it mean for a grape to be consensual? If one crushes a non-consensual grape to make wine, is one guilty of some form of violence?

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1339 Post by Otto Forsberg »

William Kelley wrote: December 21st, 2020, 5:57 am
Otto Forsberg wrote: December 20th, 2020, 11:31 pm
Marcu$ Stanley wrote: December 20th, 2020, 5:35 pm What does a "searing level of extract" mean? Been seeing this a fair amount in critics notes and they seem to mean it in a positive way, but I have to say it's a very unattractive descriptor to me -- makes me think of alcohol burn on my throat. Is it just some kind of synonym for intense? Why should extract be "searing"?
That sounds just silly, not really making any sense.
And while we're at it, what exactly is "extract"? Is this supposed to be dry extract? Has there ever been any demonstration of a relationship between some lab measure of dry extract and the quality of a wine?
Yes, dry extract. And while not there is no direct relationship between dry extract in g/l and quality, I've noticed there's an obvious correlation between dry extract in g/l and high RP scores!
As I believe I am the party responsible for this phrase, which I have applied exclusively to white wines, I want to try to defend it. At post #1292 above and the ensuing exchange, we have already gone into the subject of dry extract. I often find it useful to talk about dry extract with regards to white Burgundy. There is a very real distinction between wines which are made with very clean, rapidly pressed juice from fat, juicy berries, which are soft, supple and consensual (and which have low levels of dry extract), and the rare counterexamples where the wines contain appreciable extract from the skins, lending them real physical structure and chalky grip that is more reminiscent of a red wine than a white. When you taste a young white Burgundy from Domaine d'Auvenay, for example, the acidity and chalky structuring extract of the wine does indeed leave an almost searing impression on the palate. I tend to think that what is often described as "minerality", a term I try to eschew, is actually frequently what we perceive when tasting a wine with high levels of extract, often but not always combined with low pH. Oenologists measure extract as "dry extract", as was discussed above, so this is often the expression used to refer to extract in white wine, by me and others, though I can see why the "dry" can seem redundant, referring to a metric of something rather than the thing itself. But, to my mind, and partly because it is so rare in contemporary Burgundy, it is worthy of comment when white wines posses this sort of serious structure.

To give you some concrete examples, I have a few lab analyses sitting on my desk. One is for a 2018 GG Reisling from KP Keller, which has 23.8 g/l dry extract; one from a top Burgundy's producer's 2014 Corton-Charlemagne, which has 24.6 g/l dry extract; and one for a less interesting producer's 2018 Bâtard-Montrachet, which has 17.5 g/l dry extract. Of course, obviously, numbers only tell part of the story about a wine, and I wouldn't ever publish numbers such as these in a review, as they are too liable to be misunderstood. But, in this case, I can assure you that the numbers reflect very tangible differences in how the wines taste (as well as how the grapes were grown and how the wines were made)! The first two numbers are indeed no different from what you will find in a lot of contemporary red Burgundy: a well-known producer's 2018 Lavaux Saint-Jacques has 24.2 g/l (for some context, to get a sense of the upper end of the scale for classically styled red wines, the 2005 Château Montrose has 29.4 g/l dry extract). Now, you may argue that the term "searing levels of dry extract" is too opaque or technical for the reader, but I hope you will see that I am trying to communicate a perceptible material property that I think is an important differentiator between some white wines and others.
Well defended.

Nevertheless, I myself have never associated the term "searing" with extract. Most often I'd see it used with acidity (eg. searing acidity in a Kabinett Trocken), occasionally in with excessively hot alcohol. Probably never before with extract.

From your explanation I can now understand what you are trying to convey, but the term still feels a bit like it's missing the target, because in tasting notes extract and extraction are used to signify wines with a tactile and/or chewy feel or sense of concentration. Although most likely the high level of dry extract in the wine is the reason behind this searing sensation, the term "searing extract" doesn't really open up to a reader in a same way, making it - like you said - a bit opaque.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1340 Post by William Kelley »

Jonathan Loesberg wrote: December 21st, 2020, 6:21 am OK, but what does it mean for a grape to be consensual? If one crushes a non-consensual grape to make wine, is one guilty of some form of violence?
I'm referring to the style of the wines...
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1341 Post by crickey »

I didn't think dry extract included acid. I can see why acid would be searing. I think Marcus is (1) asking why dry extract would ever be "searing" and (2) questioning why "searing" appears in positive wine reviews, when "searing" is not a pleasant experience.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1342 Post by Troy Stark »

William, I couldn't agree more that White Burgs with a longer, less gentle press cycle certainly have more structure and body. I don't really have any quibble with the term "dry extract" when applied to whites. That said, I have also heard this sensory experience in whites referred to as "phenolics."

Do you draw any distinction between "phenolics" and "dry extract" when tasting whites? Are they the same thing or different? If the same, is "phenolic" a better term for conveying this sense in a white wine, since "extracted" is so often used when referring to reds?
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1343 Post by William Kelley »

Otto Forsberg wrote: December 21st, 2020, 6:23 am
Well defended.

Nevertheless, I myself have never associated the term "searing" with extract. Most often I'd see it used with acidity (eg. searing acidity in a Kabinett Trocken), occasionally in with excessively hot alcohol. Probably never before with extract.

From your explanation I can now understand what you are trying to convey, but the term still feels a bit like it's missing the target, because in tasting notes extract and extraction are used to signify wines with a tactile and/or chewy feel or sense of concentration. Although most likely the high level of dry extract in the wine is the reason behind this searing sensation, the term "searing extract" doesn't really open up to a reader in a same way, making it - like you said - a bit opaque.
Point taken, and it is good to have the feedback; but it is also true that Anglophone wine writing vocabulary is pretty deficient in terms for describing the physical structure of wine and how that structure is perceived on the palate. If we confine ourself to existing idiom, the path of least resistance leads to at best fruit salad, and at worst the sort of numinous nonsense exemplified by the expression "metallic minerality". So, how better to describe the physical sensation of tasting a young Domaine Leroy Corton-Charlemagne, an experience, to risk reducing it to the absurd, a bit like chewing chalk and sucking a lemon at the same time?
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1344 Post by Otto Forsberg »

crickey wrote: December 21st, 2020, 6:24 am I didn't think dry extract included acid. I can see why acid would be searing. I think Marcus is (1) asking why dry extract would ever be "searing" and (2) questioning why "searing" appears in positive wine reviews, when "searing" is not a pleasant experience.
Dry extract doesn't include volatile acidity, since it is - well - volatile. When you evaporate the alcohol and the water from the wine, VA becomes volatile as well. The non-volatile acids remain as solids.
Troy Stark wrote: December 21st, 2020, 6:26 am William, I couldn't agree more that White Burgs with a longer, less gentle press cycle certainly have more structure and body. I don't really have any quibble with the term "dry extract" when applied to whites. That said, I have also heard this sensory experience in whites referred to as "phenolics."

Do you draw any distinction between "phenolics" and "dry extract" when tasting whites? Are they the same thing or different? If the same, is "phenolic" a better term for conveying this sense in a white wine, since "extracted" is so often used when referring to reds?
Phenolics/phenolis are part of the dry extract. Especially if the wine sees a bit of maceration with the skins, it'll extract some phenols from them - like tannins, for example. However, 4-EP and 4-EG are phenols as well, so you can get phenols in the wine also from a brettanomyces infection. So no, "phenolic" is very different from "extracted". A concentrated Burgundy with a lot of dry extract can feel high in extraction, while a lean and somewhat bitter Albariño can be high in phenols without being particularly high in extract.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1345 Post by William Kelley »

Troy Stark wrote: December 21st, 2020, 6:26 am William, I couldn't agree more that White Burgs with a longer, less gentle press cycle certainly have more structure and body. I don't really have any quibble with the term "dry extract" when applied to whites. That said, I have also heard this sensory experience in whites referred to as "phenolics."

Do you draw any distinction between "phenolics" and "dry extract" when tasting whites? Are they the same thing or different? If the same, is "phenolic" a better term for conveying this sense in a white wine, since "extracted" is so often used when referring to reds?
To me, "phenolic" is even more technical. I like "dry extract" because it evokes extraction, and the degree of extraction from the skins during pressing is indeed the crux of the distinction between white wines with a lot of it and those without much. French winemakers also use the term "extrait sec" when talking about this property, and how to achieve it, and given that I spend half the year talking to French winemakers, it is inevitable that there should be some carry over. (Mention of phenolics can also put them on edge, as the French use "phenols" to refer to volatile phenols, i.e. the byproducts of brett, and there can be misunderstandings).
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1346 Post by Otto Forsberg »

William Kelley wrote: December 21st, 2020, 6:31 am
Otto Forsberg wrote: December 21st, 2020, 6:23 am
Well defended.

Nevertheless, I myself have never associated the term "searing" with extract. Most often I'd see it used with acidity (eg. searing acidity in a Kabinett Trocken), occasionally in with excessively hot alcohol. Probably never before with extract.

From your explanation I can now understand what you are trying to convey, but the term still feels a bit like it's missing the target, because in tasting notes extract and extraction are used to signify wines with a tactile and/or chewy feel or sense of concentration. Although most likely the high level of dry extract in the wine is the reason behind this searing sensation, the term "searing extract" doesn't really open up to a reader in a same way, making it - like you said - a bit opaque.
Point taken, and it is good to have the feedback; but it is also true that Anglophone wine writing vocabulary is pretty deficient in terms for describing the physical structure of wine and how that structure is perceived on the palate. If we confine ourself to existing idiom, the path of least resistance leads to at best fruit salad, and at worst the sort of numinous nonsense exemplified by the expression "metallic minerality". So, how better to describe the physical sensation of tasting a young Domaine Leroy Corton-Charlemagne, an experience, to risk reducing it to the absurd, a bit like chewing chalk and sucking a lemon at the same time?
I fully concur with the points you are making - and for example Jamie Goode has written quite extensively on the subject.

I myself have an additional layer to the problem - I might be able to describe the feeling / taste / sensation relatively accurately in Finnish, yet just unable to convey the same thing accurately in English. And, of course, this can happen vice versa - most TNs are quite easy to write in English, but translating them into Finnish can take a lot of effort just to make it sound somewhat sensible.
Last edited by Otto Forsberg on December 21st, 2020, 6:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1347 Post by William Kelley »

crickey wrote: December 21st, 2020, 6:24 am I didn't think dry extract included acid. I can see why acid would be searing. I think Marcus is (1) asking why dry extract would ever be "searing" and (2) questioning why "searing" appears in positive wine reviews, when "searing" is not a pleasant experience.
What I am trying to communicate is the sensation in the mouth after tasting a highly concentrated, high acid, intensely chalky wine that really grips the palate, to a somewhat mouth puckering degree—while also evoking the viticultural and winemaking approaches that result in wines that deliver such a sensation (low yields, small berries, firm pressing = high dry extract). There are not many white wines that deliver this sensation, so perhaps it isn't especially relatable for that reason as much as for any inadequacy in the description.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1348 Post by Troy Stark »

William Kelley wrote: December 21st, 2020, 6:36 am
Troy Stark wrote: December 21st, 2020, 6:26 am William, I couldn't agree more that White Burgs with a longer, less gentle press cycle certainly have more structure and body. I don't really have any quibble with the term "dry extract" when applied to whites. That said, I have also heard this sensory experience in whites referred to as "phenolics."

Do you draw any distinction between "phenolics" and "dry extract" when tasting whites? Are they the same thing or different? If the same, is "phenolic" a better term for conveying this sense in a white wine, since "extracted" is so often used when referring to reds?
To me, "phenolic" is even more technical. I like "dry extract" because it evokes extraction, and the degree of extraction from the skins during pressing is indeed the crux of the distinction between white wines with a lot of it and those without much. French winemakers also use the term "extrait sec" when talking about this property, and how to achieve it, and given that I spend half the year talking to French winemakers, it is inevitable that there should be some carry over. (Mention of phenolics can also put them on edge, as the French use "phenols" to refer to volatile phenols, i.e. the byproducts of brett, and there can be misunderstandings).
This makes perfect sense to me. I always understood "phenols" to be volatile acids, so thanks for the explanation.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1349 Post by Jonathan Loesberg »

William Kelley wrote: December 21st, 2020, 6:23 am
Jonathan Loesberg wrote: December 21st, 2020, 6:21 am OK, but what does it mean for a grape to be consensual? If one crushes a non-consensual grape to make wine, is one guilty of some form of violence?
I'm referring to the style of the wines...
In the sentence, consensual modifies berries, not wine. I don't think the word is much better with regard to wine, though.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("Lifted by metallic minerality")

#1350 Post by Marcu$ Stanley »

Thanks for the reply William! I didn't mention you as a critic using this term out of respect :-).

So on a general level, is this term the white wine equivalent of "searing tannins", which I think is intuitive and understandable to most in the red wine context? In the case of "searing tannins" in a red, the implication of that descriptor is that 1) the wine is powerful but needs to age, 2) the wine is currently somewhat unpleasant to taste because of its youth, and 3) the assumption is that the tannins will mellow with age and the wine will be good, but if they don't there will be a problem. So it is a bit of a double-edged sword as a descriptor, both positive and a bit of a warning.

Are there any similar implications for the term "searing extract" with a white? I think part of my confusion in reading the term is that the context often implies the descriptor is a term of praise, but I can't tell whether I am being warned off the wine for current consumption or informed of any risks. "Searing" is not generally a positive term for something you put in your mouth. But the vocabulary for power and force in a white wine is quite underdeveloped, and given the number of pleasant and enjoyable inexpensive whites, I for one am definitely looking for depth and power if I choose to spend for a white.

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