It's critic bingo! (Furballs?)

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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jcoley3
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It's critic bingo! "It's as simple as that."

#301 Post by jcoley3 » December 15th, 2017, 9:58 pm

Bumped for a classic Parkerism from his note for a wine tasted blind tonight.

"...copious notes of pen ink..."

97+ points!

(2012 Ramey Pedregal - and while I didn't get any pen ink flavors it was one of those crazy Napa Cabs that marry power and a weird light touch)
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It's critic bingo! "It's as simple as that."

#302 Post by Blake Brown » December 16th, 2017, 6:27 am

[tt][/tt]
jcoley3 wrote:Bumped for a classic Parkerism from his note for a wine tasted blind tonight.

"...copious notes of pen ink..."

97+ points!

(2012 Ramey Pedregal - and while I didn't get any pen ink flavors it was one of those crazy Napa Cabs that marry power and a weird light touch)
No wonder Parker`s health has been compromised, the only way to know to use that descriptor is to drink pen ink and that can`t be good
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It's critic bingo! "It's as simple as that."

#303 Post by John Morris » December 24th, 2017, 12:16 pm

In the spirit of the season, I thought I’d spread a little bingo cheer. For all of you who have alder logs on the yule fire, consider popping open a bottle of something that has drawn one of James Molesworth’s favorite descriptors – “singed alder.” I have no idea what that connotes, but it seems to show itself in everything from Sherry to Southern Rhones to Bordeaux blends.

Perhaps you’ve had “wine-soaked rosemary.” Not I.
2015 Clos du Caillou - Chateauneuf du Pape - Cuvee Quartz
WS 96
This is tightly coiled, with intense raspberry and cherry reduction notes waiting to unwind, but held in check for now by myriad licorice, iron, rooibos tea and singed alder details. Shows terrific cut and tension through the finish, revealing a blaze of minerality. Just needs some time to harmonize fully.

2010 Domaine de la Tour du Bon Bandol
WS 92
Brooding and intense, with notes of raw meat, singed alder and dried bay leaf out front, followed by steeped black currant and plum fruit. Accents of iron, mesquite and wine-soaked rosemary line the finish. Still has some serious grip to shed.

2009 Dom. Montbonau – Cotes du Rhone
Forward, with Kenyan coffee and singed alder wood notes followed by steeped blackberry and black cherry fruit. Fleshy finish lets anise and mulled spice notes chime in.

2012 Kanonkop - Paul Sauer Cape Winemakers Guild – Simonsberg
WS 93
Beautifully rendered, with sleek, integrated structure that lets black tea, steeped black currant and plum coulis flavors play out against a backdrop of singed alder and sanguine notes. Long, alluring finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

Conde de Aldama - Palo Cortado
WS 93
Toasted sesame, hazelnut husk, singed alder and salted caramel notes are woven together in this alluring and lovely Sherry, which has a tease of sweetness but stays dry overall, backed by a hint of green tea through the finish.
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It's critic bingo! Gentian, buddleia and clam broth

#304 Post by Edward H. Earles » December 26th, 2017, 10:26 am

Jay Miller wrote:
John Morris wrote:Mostly I understand this note, but "currant leaf"? Does John Gilman go around smelling shrubs?

My guess would be autocorrect for curry leaf (which has a distinctive aroma) but that's just a guess.

But after a certain point it's more about exuberance than precision and I don't object to exuberance in TNs.
No. Currant leaves have a distinctive odor. The other descriptor for that smell is "cat pee" (often encountered in Sauvignon Blanc).

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It's critic bingo! Let's start with Vinous.

#305 Post by RichardFlack » December 30th, 2017, 5:06 am

John Morris wrote:
Michael S. Monie wrote:I've pointed out here on multiple occasions how different critics will perceive completely (or largely) different aroma and taste profiles of the very same wine. In a nutshell, the main service that they provide is: an indication whether or not the thousands of wines to which they are exposed, which the average consumer would be lucky to encounter a small fraction, are worthy of consideration of purchase. It's not about education, literary or oenophilic.
I agree the point isn't to be a stylist. I'd settle for content, coherence and proofreading.

If it were just about whether to buy a wine or not, they could just give a point score. I actually want a useful description. Is this chardonnay crisp or rich and buttery? Oaky or aged in steel? Does this Medoc taste earthy and like traditional Bordeaux or is more fruity and open -- more like New World? How sweet is this Spatlese? Is this Barolo so brutally tannic that you wonder if it will ever be in balance? How grassy is this sauvignon blanc?

Six flavor and aromas descriptors -- it seems like a contest to pile those on -- are the least important thing to me unless they seem perfectly typical or atypical. They don't convey what kind of structure the wine has, or whether it is remotely typical of its type.

I want to come away with a sense of what the wine is like.

Oddly, sometimes the literary flourish achieves that best. This blurb from Kermit Lynch (one of the very best writers on wine, albeit about his own imports!) gives me a vivid sense of the wine:
2016 Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre
"Very pure Sancerre aroma, generous, fresh, without grassy edges. The palate is expansive, then the nervosity makes its appearance and the finish is dry and lipsmackingly good. One of the things I love about it is that it leaves on the lips, not the palate, not the throat, but on your lips, a fresh little lemony whisper which makes it a fabulous complement to simple fish dishes."
I guess you could say his language shows vivacity. [dance2.gif]
+10 on structure (and I'd add style). Also typical / atypical (especially the latter) Seldom interested in decomposition of flavour components especially when they are things I've never (knowingly) tasted.

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#306 Post by RichardFlack » December 30th, 2017, 5:14 am

Here's an interesting note. Not strictly bingo ( i.e. A single word or phrase over used to the point of vacuity) but I can't decide if this is over the top or not. From Purple Pages, (TC, not JR) on Alheit Cartology:
Wild, gloriously wild – sipping this wine is the liquid equivalent of running through a ripe barley field in the early light of dawn when the dew is still spangling the green-gold and there’s a smell of chamomile flowers in the air. Beeswax richness and the sweetness of poached pear, a touch of curry leaf, fennel, the lightest bite of bitterness. So full, brimming with life. Utterly unspittable.
So, OTT? It does inspire and give a good sense of the wine.

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#307 Post by John Morris » December 30th, 2017, 7:36 am

That's a brilliant note! "Utterly unspittable" deserves special credit. "Running through a ripe barley field in the early dawn...." is pretty fine, itself. Thanks for that!
Last edited by John Morris on December 30th, 2017, 7:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#308 Post by John Morris » December 30th, 2017, 7:39 am

Meanwhile, back in the Dept. of Poor Prose, this landed in my in box this morning. As The New Yorker magazine used to say: Block That Metaphor!
NV Xavier Vins Chateauneuf du Pape la Reserve VII IX X
WA 96
"A new non-vintage wine that's made from a blend of the top barrels of the Cuvee Anonyme from 2007 (43%), 2009 (21%) and 2010 (36%), the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape La Reserve VII IX X is an hedonistic and decadent release that dishes out massive amounts of black raspberry, raspberry, spice cake, licorice and crushed flower like nuances on the nose. Gorgeously full-bodied and textured on the palate, yet with remarkable freshness and purity, this layered, incredible wine should last for 15+ years." -Jeb Dunnuck, 2013
Not sure how "nuances on the nose" can be dished out in massive quantities. [scratch.gif]
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It's hard for a $35 zin to compete with a $100 cabernet that tastes the same. – me, 2018

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#309 Post by Arv R » December 30th, 2017, 10:21 am

They need to seed their random TN generator with some new data
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#310 Post by Edward H. Earles » December 30th, 2017, 5:07 pm

Another descriptor I see often (especially in Wine Spectator) is hot stone. I wonder how many of these reviewers have actually placed hot stones in their mouths.

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#311 Post by RichardFlack » December 30th, 2017, 5:23 pm

John Morris wrote:That's a brilliant note! "Utterly unspittable" deserves special credit. "Running through a ripe barley field in the early dawn...." is pretty fine, itself. Thanks for that!
I liked that too. Plus the general poetry. Is it relevant to indicate that TC would, if they posted here, be in a distinct minority, as it were? I'm circumlocuting to keep this out of the Asylum. But there may be an interesting question about different styles of note.

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#312 Post by RichardFlack » December 30th, 2017, 5:27 pm

Hot stone... that's got to be right up there with frozen lamp post as a basic no-no.

But here's the question .. are tasting notes to be taken literally (god, I hope not), or as indicative of the style and quality of the wine by whatever means? Hot Stone fails either way, but jog back to my citation of running through a barley field in early dawn... that worked for me on that particular wine.

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#313 Post by Edward H. Earles » December 30th, 2017, 5:38 pm

RichardFlack wrote:but jog back to my citation of running through a barley field in early dawn... that worked for me on that particular wine.
I've actually done that, many times, in Montana (O.K., not running, walking), and I cannot connect the descriptor to a wine.

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#314 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » December 30th, 2017, 6:14 pm

Edward H. Earles wrote:
RichardFlack wrote:but jog back to my citation of running through a barley field in early dawn... that worked for me on that particular wine.
I've actually done that, many times, in Montana (O.K., not running, walking), and I cannot connect the descriptor to a wine.
LOL, exactly. How many people praising the descriptor have first hand familiarity with barley fields? It's one of those all-purpose romantic descriptions of country life written by city people that have zero real content

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#315 Post by John Morris » January 14th, 2018, 11:33 am

A period, Allen, we need a period!

Take a deep breath before you read this one out loud. You'll need it.
2015 Jadot Grand Echezeaux: 93-95 Points; Allen Meadows; Burghound:
"Firm reduction flattens the nose though there is a lovely sense of both freshness and tension to the colossally constituted flavors that drench the palate with sap that once again renders the notably firm tannic spine all but invisible for the moment on the impressively persistent if slightly warm finish.
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#316 Post by RichardFlack » January 15th, 2018, 9:30 am

He should attend Adjectives Anonymous.

....
Re barley field yes it's a cliche. I think we e agreed not all descriptors can be taken literally. I guess the reading of notes is as subjective as the tasting.

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#317 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » January 15th, 2018, 9:39 am

John Morris wrote:A period, Allen, we need a period!

Take a deep breath before you read this one out loud. You'll need it.
2015 Jadot Grand Echezeaux: 93-95 Points; Allen Meadows; Burghound:
"Firm reduction flattens the nose though there is a lovely sense of both freshness and tension to the colossally constituted flavors that drench the palate with sap that once again renders the notably firm tannic spine all but invisible for the moment on the impressively persistent if slightly warm finish.
Hmm...reductive, tannic and alcoholic.

Yum. pileon
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#318 Post by John Morris » January 21st, 2018, 8:23 am

Man, this Molesworth guy has a nuanced palate and nose. He evidently distinguishes between singed alder wood (see above) and singed apple wood:
2015 Domaine Cristia Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Renaissance
WS 96
"This has an intense core of crushed plum, raspberry and boysenberry fruit flavors, draped with melted licorice notes and backed by a wave of warm fruitcake. Hedonistic for sure, but accents of anise, violet and singed apple wood dart around, adding extra facets of intrigue to hold your attention."
Now I want to a blind smelling of different singed woods and see if we can distinguish them.
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#319 Post by Gregory Dal Piaz » January 21st, 2018, 11:38 am

.
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#320 Post by Gregory Dal Piaz » January 21st, 2018, 11:39 am

John Morris wrote:
2015 Domaine Cristia Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Renaissance
WS 96
"This has an intense core of crushed plum, raspberry and boysenberry fruit flavors, draped with melted licorice notes and backed by a wave of warm fruitcake. Hedonistic for sure, but accents of anise, violet and singed apple wood dart around, adding extra facets of intrigue to hold your attention."
Now I want to a blind smelling of different singed woods and see if we can distinguish them.
When I smoke meats I can tell the difference between the main woods. Hickory, mesquite, apple, and cherry, though I have not used Alder I would imagine it has a distinct smell as well. Perhaps Molesworth is a BBQ aficionado. It seems it's not uncommon among a certain type of professional wine geek.
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#321 Post by William Kelley » January 21st, 2018, 12:14 pm

Edward H. Earles wrote:Another descriptor I see often (especially in Wine Spectator) is hot stone. I wonder how many of these reviewers have actually placed hot stones in their mouths.
It's possible they spend a lot of time in the sauna...

But I shouldn't throw (hot) stones from glass houses.
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#322 Post by R Nanda » January 21st, 2018, 12:17 pm

William Kelley wrote:
Edward H. Earles wrote:Another descriptor I see often (especially in Wine Spectator) is hot stone. I wonder how many of these reviewers have actually placed hot stones in their mouths.
It's possible they spend a lot of time in the sauna...

But I shouldn't throw (hot) stones from glass houses.
LOL, and I love that a brave professional critic is participating in this thread!
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#323 Post by John Morris » January 21st, 2018, 12:28 pm

Gregory Dal Piaz wrote:When I smoke meats I can tell the difference between the main woods. Hickory, mesquite, apple, and cherry, though I have not used Alder I would imagine it has a distinct smell as well.
1. I believe you. But have you distinguished them in wines?

2. I think you'll have to make a cameo return appearance in our Tuesday group to lead the wood-smoke-in-wine tasting.
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#324 Post by Scott Wi3gand » January 21st, 2018, 12:34 pm

John Morris wrote:
Gregory Dal Piaz wrote:When I smoke meats I can tell the difference between the main woods. Hickory, mesquite, apple, and cherry, though I have not used Alder I would imagine it has a distinct smell as well.
1. I believe you. But have you distinguished them in wines?

2. I think you'll have to make a cameo return appearance in our Tuesday group to lead the wood-smoke-in-wine tasting.
Alder wood smoke does indeed have a distinct smell. In the Pacific Northwest, it is a traditional wood to smoke salmon. So much so that people complain if it is not Alder smoked and can tell right away. I can usually pick the smell out pretty easily and I’m definitely no expert on smoked fish but I think it is pretty distinctive.

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#325 Post by William Kelley » January 21st, 2018, 12:51 pm

Rich Nanda wrote:
William Kelley wrote:
Edward H. Earles wrote:Another descriptor I see often (especially in Wine Spectator) is hot stone. I wonder how many of these reviewers have actually placed hot stones in their mouths.
It's possible they spend a lot of time in the sauna...

But I shouldn't throw (hot) stones from glass houses.
LOL, and I love that a brave professional critic is participating in this thread!
Or foolhardy.

But it's actually very interesting and has made me look at my own notes more critically.

I suppose a question I've been pondering is how enervating people find syntactical or structural repetition—as distinct from either the repetition or the meaningfulness of vocabulary. Tasting a bunch of young wines is inherently repetitive, even though (hopefully) the wines are not, and it is natural to describe nose and palate in succession, before appraising the wine in general and setting it in some sort of context. If you're tasting diligently, there is also often quite a lot of information to record. I find myself increasingly breaking my notes into three sentences—(1) nose, (2) palate, (3) appraisal / context—but while this avoids the problem of metastasizing subordinate clauses, it sometimes feels a bit ponderous (i.e. the second sentence often begins, 'On the palate...'). So I would be interested to hear people comment about syntax and sentence structure.
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#326 Post by Steve Gautier » January 21st, 2018, 1:01 pm

No comments other than to say thanks for staying part of this community.
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#327 Post by john stimson » January 21st, 2018, 1:37 pm

Scott Wiegand wrote:
John Morris wrote:
Gregory Dal Piaz wrote:When I smoke meats I can tell the difference between the main woods. Hickory, mesquite, apple, and cherry, though I have not used Alder I would imagine it has a distinct smell as well.
1. I believe you. But have you distinguished them in wines?

2. I think you'll have to make a cameo return appearance in our Tuesday group to lead the wood-smoke-in-wine tasting.
Alder wood smoke does indeed have a distinct smell. In the Pacific Northwest, it is a traditional wood to smoke salmon. So much so that people complain if it is not Alder smoked and can tell right away. I can usually pick the smell out pretty easily and I’m definitely no expert on smoked fish but I think it is pretty distinctive.
I don't get alder smoke in wines, but the descriptor of singed alder had me thinking more about green alder--like alder leaves and branches singed over a fire. or perhaps a green alder log thrown on the fire. North-westerners who go outside every once in a while, or burn things outside, know that this is a distinctive smell. It includes a little alder smoke, but also the leaf tannins, a little like fall leaf burning smells. I don't think it's being used as a smoke thing--more like a hot leaf tannin thing.

I'm sorry I haven't been paying much attention to the quotes where it's used, but I wonder if he's trying to use it for those very tough to describe non-fruit components that are very distinctive in things like burgundy. I have a hell of a time describing them, but you see all kinds of attempts (Gilman uses mustard seed a lot. others use various decomposing leaf things, or just cheat with 'suis bois')

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#328 Post by R Nanda » January 21st, 2018, 1:54 pm

William Kelley wrote:I suppose a question I've been pondering is how enervating people find syntactical or structural repetition—as distinct from either the repetition or the meaningfulness of vocabulary. Tasting a bunch of young wines is inherently repetitive, even though (hopefully) the wines are not, and it is natural to describe nose and palate in succession, before appraising the wine in general and setting it in some sort of context. If you're tasting diligently, there is also often quite a lot of information to record. I find myself increasingly breaking my notes into three sentences—(1) nose, (2) palate, (3) appraisal / context—but while this avoids the problem of metastasizing subordinate clauses, it sometimes feels a bit ponderous (i.e. the second sentence often begins, 'On the palate...'). So I would be interested to hear people comment about syntax and sentence structure.
Agree with Steve ... thanks, indeed, for staying engaged in the community.

I don't mind the repetitive nature of the nose/palate/appraisal construct to tasting notes. The formula is proven and works. I do appreciate directness and efficiency with words. My biggest criticism of Meadows is his verbosity, especially in subordinate clauses ... "which is to say that", "in a word", etc.
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#329 Post by A. So » January 21st, 2018, 3:07 pm

William Kelley wrote: But it's actually very interesting and has made me look at my own notes more critically.

I suppose a question I've been pondering is how enervating people find syntactical or structural repetition—as distinct from either the repetition or the meaningfulness of vocabulary. Tasting a bunch of young wines is inherently repetitive, even though (hopefully) the wines are not, and it is natural to describe nose and palate in succession, before appraising the wine in general and setting it in some sort of context. If you're tasting diligently, there is also often quite a lot of information to record. I find myself increasingly breaking my notes into three sentences—(1) nose, (2) palate, (3) appraisal / context—but while this avoids the problem of metastasizing subordinate clauses, it sometimes feels a bit ponderous (i.e. the second sentence often begins, 'On the palate...'). So I would be interested to hear people comment about syntax and sentence structure.
I'm hardly a professional critic, but I've written enough notes to understand exactly what you mean. A lot of them have very formulaic structure. It's hard to be a good writer and convey what you want about a wine. Most of the time, I am fully willing to concede the first. Keith Levenberg is perhaps the only writer who manages to straddle both worlds, but he's hardly prolific enough not does he necessarily write about the wines I care about.

I'll admit I haven't read enough of your notes, William, to judge (and indeed, thank you for contributing to the board). However, people like Galloni and Parker and even Gilman aren't great writers, even if they sometimes are able to convey what a wine is like (actually of those three, only Gilman, and occasionally Parker, are capable of that).
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#330 Post by Scott Wi3gand » January 21st, 2018, 3:22 pm

john stimson wrote:
I don't get alder smoke in wines, but the descriptor of singed alder had me thinking more about green alder--like alder leaves and branches singed over a fire. or perhaps a green alder log thrown on the fire. North-westerners who go outside every once in a while, or burn things outside, know that this is a distinctive smell. It includes a little alder smoke, but also the leaf tannins, a little like fall leaf burning smells. I don't think it's being used as a smoke thing--more like a hot leaf tannin thing.

I'm sorry I haven't been paying much attention to the quotes where it's used, but I wonder if he's trying to use it for those very tough to describe non-fruit components that are very distinctive in things like burgundy. I have a hell of a time describing them, but you see all kinds of attempts (Gilman uses mustard seed a lot. others use various decomposing leaf things, or just cheat with 'suis bois')
With all that said, I’ve never smelled or tasted alderwood smoke in wine. I can smell campfire smoke in some but rarely have I detected smoke of any distinct quality in wine.

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#331 Post by John Morris » January 21st, 2018, 4:13 pm

William Kelley wrote:But it's actually very interesting and has made me look at my own notes more critically.

I suppose a question I've been pondering is how enervating people find syntactical or structural repetition—as distinct from either the repetition or the meaningfulness of vocabulary. Tasting a bunch of young wines is inherently repetitive, even though (hopefully) the wines are not, and it is natural to describe nose and palate in succession, before appraising the wine in general and setting it in some sort of context. If you're tasting diligently, there is also often quite a lot of information to record. I find myself increasingly breaking my notes into three sentences—(1) nose, (2) palate, (3) appraisal / context—but while this avoids the problem of metastasizing subordinate clauses, it sometimes feels a bit ponderous (i.e. the second sentence often begins, 'On the palate...'). So I would be interested to hear people comment about syntax and sentence structure.
I don't envy you! Trying to write differentiated notes on a large scale is a huge challenge.

As I said someplace a couple of pages back, even though my palate no longer aligns well with Parker's, I like his notes because he doesn't try to be a verbal stylist and he usually communicates the style of the wine, and often some facts about it (e.g., grape make-up, aging regime, alcohol). I can make a more informed decision based on his notes. Luis Gutiérrez's notes are really clear and informative, too. In a different style, I also like Neal Martin's comments.

I find analogies and comparisons more helpful in many cases than lots of individual descriptors. If you tell me "This Oakville Napa cab reminds me of a Pauillac," "These 2015 Northern Rhones remind me of '15 cru Beaujolais" (my controversial analogy here 10 days ago) or "The '15s in this region seem riper and more concentrated than the '14s or 13s, but perhaps a little less complex," or "This 1990 is so fresh I would guess it was a 2010 if I were served if blind," I get your point.

Those are all ways you can get your observations across without using the same words over and over.

Finally, I'd say, tap your own subjective reactions when they are strong. A couple of months ago, I cited above Kermit Lynch's vivid description of a Sancerre he imports: "One of the things I love about it is that it leaves on the lips, not the palate, not the throat, but on your lips, a fresh little lemony whisper which makes it a fabulous complement to simple fish dishes." He had a strong feeling about that wine and I know exactly what he means reading that.

(Let me second Adrian's note about about valuing your contributions here!)
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#332 Post by Jayson Cohen » January 21st, 2018, 7:53 pm

Gregory Dal Piaz wrote:
John Morris wrote:
2015 Domaine Cristia Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Renaissance
WS 96
"This has an intense core of crushed plum, raspberry and boysenberry fruit flavors, draped with melted licorice notes and backed by a wave of warm fruitcake. Hedonistic for sure, but accents of anise, violet and singed apple wood dart around, adding extra facets of intrigue to hold your attention."
Now I want to a blind smelling of different singed woods and see if we can distinguish them.
When I smoke meats I can tell the difference between the main woods. Hickory, mesquite, apple, and cherry, though I have not used Alder I would imagine it has a distinct smell as well. Perhaps Molesworth is a BBQ aficionado. It seems it's not uncommon among a certain type of professional wine geek.
Greg,

I can’t tell if you are talking about thine self or possibly a certain well known wine reviewer that makes just about the best BBQ I’ve ever had.

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#333 Post by John Morris » January 31st, 2018, 2:09 pm

Here he is again with more singed alder!
1968 Taylor Fladgate Tawny Port Very Old Single Harvest Limited Edition
WS 98
"Gorgeous from the get-go, with toasted sesame, green tea, walnut husk, pistachio cream and peanut toffee notes seamlessly layered atop one another, framed by a subtle singed alder hint. Everything glides with grace through the finish like a gently wafting plume of smoke off burning incense."-James Molesworth
Not sure how he can detect the singed alder over the burning incense.
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It's hard for a $35 zin to compete with a $100 cabernet that tastes the same. – me, 2018

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#334 Post by Christopher Dunn » January 31st, 2018, 3:02 pm

A little late to the party, but one favorite phrase of Parker's that always makes me roll my eyes is "sleeper of the vintage."

As for "hot stones" that others have pointed out, I know what "stone" means (austere, crisp, no oak), but hot stones?

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#335 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » January 31st, 2018, 3:06 pm

Christopher Dunn wrote:A little late to the party, but one favorite phrase of Parker's that always makes me roll my eyes is "sleeper of the vintage."

As for "hot stones" that others have pointed out, I know what "stone" means (austere, crisp, no oak), but hot stones?
Chateaunuef du Pape?

I've used cold river stones in notes before. I could be smoking crack, but it works for my sense of things in some Northern Rhone syrahs and a recent Copain Halcon that I popped. But then again, I am Yak palate.

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#336 Post by John Morris » February 11th, 2018, 11:02 am

I got a chuckle out of Josh Raynolds's notes on three Lavinea Oregon pinots, which were pitched in a retailer's e-mail today. I sympathize with the critic's plight, having to avoid repetitious phrasing even when many wines are alike. But I felt he was working a bit too hard here. "Resonating florality?"
2014 Lavinea - Pinot Noir - Elton Vineyard Eola-Amity
.... The strikingly long, focused finish features resonating florality and supple tannins that fold effortlessly into the clinging, sappy fruit....

2014 Lavinea - Pinot Noir - Tualatin Estate
.... Finishes impressively long and sweet, delivering silky, harmonious tannins and emphatic, floral-driven persistence....

2015 Lavinea Pinot Noir Lazy River Vineyard Yamhill-Carlton
... Smooth tannins frame the finish, which hangs on with strong, floral-driven tenacity.
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#337 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » February 11th, 2018, 11:32 am

Not sure I want a tenacious wine.
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#338 Post by RichardFlack » February 11th, 2018, 2:50 pm

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:Not sure I want a tenacious wine.
And certainly not a tenacious flower...

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#339 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » February 11th, 2018, 4:41 pm

I would really like to see John try to write 450 tasting notes for an article without repeating himself.

I bet it would be way more tedious than Galloni or any of his other favorite whipping boys.
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#340 Post by John Morris » February 11th, 2018, 4:47 pm

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:I would really like to see John try to write 450 tasting notes for an article without repeating himself.

I bet it would be way more tedious than Galloni or any of his other favorite whipping boys.
Just search my posts. neener

I guarantee you'll find lots of repetition. But nothing like "resonating florality" or "emphatic, floral-driven persistence." Better to be repetitious with simple terms than repeat some that are too florid [sic].

Obviously, it's very hard when you taste dozens of wines a day. I really admired William Kelley's frankness about that in his post above.
Last edited by John Morris on February 24th, 2018, 7:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#341 Post by K John Joseph » February 12th, 2018, 12:37 pm

John Morris wrote:
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:I would really like to see John try to write 450 tasting notes for an article without repeating himself.

I bet it would be way more tedious than Galloni or any of his other favorite whipping boys.
Just search my posts. neener

I guarantee you'll find lots of repetition. But nothing like "resonating florality" or "emphatic, floral-driven persistence." Better to be repetition with simple terms than repeat some that are too florid [sic].

Obviously, it's very hard when you taste dozens of wines a day. I really admired William Kelley's frankness about that in his post above.
I am a rank amateur but have gone to industry tastings with 40+ bottles of Napa cab from a single vintage or covering 2 vintages. Many of the wines are very similar in taste but with minor variations in flavor. It's very difficult not to get repetitive, and the more you try to distinguish between the wines, score aside, the more difficult it becomes to keep notes coherent and concise. I imagine doubling or tripling the number of wines tasted in one day or in one sitting would make it that much more difficult. The result is probably a gushing description when one hits a wine that is obviously qualitatively superior to the others in the double blind tasting. Relative to others, it probably does show soaring aromatics, is a wine that towers over its peers, and is gloriously endowed with exuberantly expressive phenolic compounds. Then again, if I have no damn clue what a critic is actually describing, and can't get a decent idea of how the wine actually tastes from the note, the critic is failing.
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#342 Post by John Morris » February 12th, 2018, 12:55 pm

Overwriting is not the solution, though. If you try too hard to write around the problem, the results are disastrous, as all these quotes show. If the wines are really hard to distinguish (which is very often the case), better to have lots of similar notes and some scores than to try to compensate with silly descriptors.
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#343 Post by R Nanda » February 24th, 2018, 6:21 am

2013 Sottimano Langhe Nebbiolo [ex-Domaine]
WA 90 (6/2015): Sottimano's 2013 Langhe Nebbiolo exhibits a ripe and plump fruit profile with simple aromas and tonic linearity. This simple approach fits the wine well and will appeal to those looking for a well-priced red to pair with lamb or roast pork. It also shows good intensity in the mouth with a lean, streamlined consistency and balanced freshness.
What on earth is "tonic linearity"?
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#344 Post by John Morris » February 24th, 2018, 6:32 am

Evidently it's an "approach."

And while we're at it, what is "a lean, streamlined consistency"?
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#345 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » February 24th, 2018, 7:46 am

John Morris wrote:
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:I would really like to see John try to write 450 tasting notes for an article without repeating himself.

I bet it would be way more tedious than Galloni or any of his other favorite whipping boys.
Just search my posts. neener

I guarantee you'll find lots of repetition. But nothing like "resonating florality" or "emphatic, floral-driven persistence." Better to be repetition with simple terms than repeat some that are too florid [sic].
+++ on this. Repeating wildly overwrought and awkward descriptors over and over again sticks out like a sore thumb and completely undermines any value in reaching for the descriptors in the first place. (Not that there is that much IMO). The point of that kind of overwriting is the implicit claim that the wine is so unique and inspiring that it has made you stretch the boundaries of your imagination and the English language. Repeating it 20 times kind of gives the lie to that.

I think the way to handle repetition and distinguishing a whole bunch of closely related wines is to have a fairly straightforward descriptive vocabulary and then move it along a spectrum according to the wine. This wine is more red fruited, this other one more black fruited, this one is more tannic, this other one less, this one has a deeper midpalate, etc.

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#346 Post by Frank Drew » February 24th, 2018, 9:49 am

John Morris wrote:That's a brilliant note! "Utterly unspittable" deserves special credit. "Running through a ripe barley field in the early dawn...." is pretty fine, itself. Thanks for that!
I think that the point of some of these more fanciful descriptors is to come up with something that very few people, if any, have actually experienced, so who's to say you're wrong?

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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#347 Post by PeterH » February 24th, 2018, 10:04 am

Rich Nanda wrote:
2013 Sottimano Langhe Nebbiolo [ex-Domaine]
WA 90 (6/2015): Sottimano's 2013 Langhe Nebbiolo exhibits a ripe and plump fruit profile with simple aromas and tonic linearity. This simple approach fits the wine well and will appeal to those looking for a well-priced red to pair with lamb or roast pork. It also shows good intensity in the mouth with a lean, streamlined consistency and balanced freshness.
What on earth is "tonic linearity"?
One note, sustained.

It sounds like the reviewer is trying to make a virtue out of lack of complexity. Considering that in a 2013 Nebbiolo, any future complexity would be buried under tar and tannins, I get the point. It is a straight forward, fruit driven wine, with adequate acidity, best consumed young.
Either the reviewer really liked the wine, or 90 points indicates the floor rating of any wine deemed worth drinking.
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It's critic bingo! Molesworth's singed alder obsession

#348 Post by GregT » February 24th, 2018, 12:00 pm

I suppose a question I've been pondering is how enervating people find syntactical or structural repetition—as distinct from either the repetition or the meaningfulness of vocabulary.
I love this question!

Speaking only for myself, it's OK. In fact, it makes things easier in a sense. The repetition of words isn't even all that bad either, it's the repetition of meaningless phrases, and the attempt to wax eloquent without possessing the requisite tools that grates. Just looking at some of the reviews posted, in many cases the prose is absolutely devoid of meaning. A while ago I tasted through dozens of young wines and in each case I wrote to myself that it was tannic and tart because it was. And every once in a while you can come up with something utterly unique to say about a wine, but you can't do that seventy times a day several times a week.

Anyway, what I'm wondering is whatever happened to roobios tea? A few years ago everything tasted like that. Must have been the vintages!
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#349 Post by John Morris » March 1st, 2018, 9:08 am

Is anyone using the VinCellar app? It seems like it could really be a big aid to critics, provided you can customize the options to include "beams of tannin," "currant leaf," "singed alder," "resonating florality," "exudes depth in all its dimensions," and so forth.

Click on a few of those and then hit the "Done" button. It's as simple as that!
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#350 Post by John Morris » March 5th, 2018, 2:01 pm

It seems that Wine Spectator has beat the other critics in applying this technology, according to Tim Atkin MW:
The two words that come to mind when one thinks of the “Wine Spectator’s” lineup of wine critics — James Laube, Matt Kramer, Tim Fish, James Molesworth, Harvey Steiman et al.— is Artificial Intelligence. And, in fact, the entire publication is written by software developed by the entrepreneur Elon Muscadet. I suspect that the news that “Wine Spectator” is written by a machine will not come as a shock to anyone who reads it, but, nonetheless, it’s an astonishing achievement.

.... “Wine isn’t that complicated,” Hunter Poynts, “Wine Spectator’s” A.I. guru, tells me, “and assigning them numeric scores couldn’t be easier. I think it’s clear from the proliferation of imbeciles giving numbers to wine on the internet that, for the consumer, assigning meaning to scores is like believing someone’s weight on their Tinder profile."
“The writing of legislation is perhaps the highest art form the United States has yet achieved, even more original and compelling than the television commercial.” – Gore Vidal, 1974

It's hard for a $35 zin to compete with a $100 cabernet that tastes the same. – me, 2018

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