It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

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Jayson Cohen
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("pixelated fruit")

#601 Post by Jayson Cohen » May 14th, 2019, 3:55 pm

S. Rash wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 3:45 pm
John Morris wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 10:11 am
If someone can tell me what "built on texture, power and resonance" or "vertical in feel" mean, I'll ... tell them they're full of BS.
Moccagatta Barbaresco Bric Balin 2016
"The 2016 Barbaresco Bric Balin is a prototypical Moccagatta wine built on texture, power and resonance. Black cherry and plum fruit show the interplay of ripeness and bright acids that is such a signature of the vintage. Vertical in feel and yet also incredibly persistent, the Bric Balin is a wonderfully complete wine. This rich, super-concentrated Barbaresco is going to need time to shed some of its baby fat, but it is super impressive, even in the early going." 95 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous Media)
And why the "yet"? How is "vertical in feel" in contrast or opposition to "persistence"?
A little Top Gun reference, “We’re going vertical Maceric!”
Maybe he’s floating? Maybe there’s something else in that wine....

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("pixelated fruit")

#602 Post by Brandon R » May 14th, 2019, 4:09 pm

S. Rash wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 3:45 pm
John Morris wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 10:11 am
If someone can tell me what "built on texture, power and resonance" or "vertical in feel" mean, I'll ... tell them they're full of BS.
Moccagatta Barbaresco Bric Balin 2016
"The 2016 Barbaresco Bric Balin is a prototypical Moccagatta wine built on texture, power and resonance. Black cherry and plum fruit show the interplay of ripeness and bright acids that is such a signature of the vintage. Vertical in feel and yet also incredibly persistent, the Bric Balin is a wonderfully complete wine. This rich, super-concentrated Barbaresco is going to need time to shed some of its baby fat, but it is super impressive, even in the early going." 95 points Antonio Galloni (Vinous Media)
And why the "yet"? How is "vertical in feel" in contrast or opposition to "persistence"?
A little Top Gun reference, “We’re going vertical Maceric!”
Ahem, being a Top Gun fan, I need to quibble with your quote a little. I believe it's Maverick saying, "He's going vertical. So am I..." to which Goose replied, "We're going ballistic, Mav', go get him!" neener
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("pixelated fruit")

#603 Post by crickey » May 14th, 2019, 6:05 pm

GregT wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 3:10 pm
crickey wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 12:02 pm

I'm guessing "resonance" is meant to be a synonym for length or persistence (it can mean a powerful, lasting effect).

As for the other, persistence is a time-related word, and I think of time horizontally (i.e., stretching out). So the "yet" of time horizon opposed to vertical is a reasonable connector.

What "vertical in feel" means, I have no idea, but then I've never understood Parker's metaphor of a skyscraper either. Curiously, I think I understand depth in wine, which is the same spatial dimension, but height doesn't make sense to me. Whatever.
But then the "yet" makes less sense. It would mean (leaving out a few of the other descriptors) - "Built on persistence yet incredibly persistent."

[wow.gif] !!

Only in wine writing can you say less with more words than you can with no words.

The day is quite hot, yet extremely warm.

The synapses worked intermittently, yet fired sporadically.
No, the juxtaposition is vertical (feel) and horizontal (persistence), so vertical, yet horizontal. Maybe it's extending in all dimensions. Or two anyway.

I think the real problem with the syntax of the original is not the descriptors but the "built on." His descriptors all reference his experience (particularly "resonance," which if I have intuited the meaning correctly, refers to an effect on an external party), but "built on" suggests the elements that make up the wine. So he writes about a wine constructed on its effects on tasters. That's awkward.

I think, though, that it is an awkwardness inherent to the style of tasting note Galloni -- and many other critics -- want to write. They both want to describe the wine and describe the experience it evokes in a short tasting note, so both a Parker-style tasting note and a more "writerly" note on the tasting experience and the writer's response to it. Interestingly, the second part is most likely a response to criticisms of points and thus an attempt to express the points in verbal form. Which makes me appreciate the point of points in support of tasting notes.

Parker was actually very good at expressing relative quality, and thus his reaction to, and emotional experience of, a wine through tasting descriptors. Not many others can do it as well. David Schildknecht, Neal Martin, William Kelley, maybe Stephen Tanzer, can do it. Galloni tends to write about his feelings about a wine; sometimes, his entire note consists of nothing but his feelings, which, as people occasionally point out here, makes it sound vacuous or like a mere instance of puffery. On the other hand, Lisa Perrotti-Brown has such a dry set of descriptors that she absolutely needs points to convey relative quality (or else toss in a "Wow!").
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#604 Post by GregT » May 15th, 2019, 1:51 am

I think, though, that it is an awkwardness inherent to the style of tasting note Galloni -- and many other critics -- want to write.
This.

As to the other - stretching, length, horizontal, it's so nuanced, (in fact it is LOADED with nuance) that it makes little sense anyway we stretch it!

I think you're on to something regarding Parker though. He wasn't a brilliant writer, but he let you know what he thought about a wine while doing his best to describe it. In his later years he seemed to become a parody of himself and he started throwing in technical opinions regarding viticulture, etc., that destroyed his usefulness. But early on, while his writing was pretty dry, it conveyed something. "Gobs of fruit" may be the expression of a simpleton, but it actually carries more information than stating that something has nuances of white and yellow flowers and cast iron pan.

But back to the game!
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#605 Post by David Glasser » May 15th, 2019, 4:35 am

GregT wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 1:51 am
I think, though, that it is an awkwardness inherent to the style of tasting note Galloni -- and many other critics -- want to write.
This.

As to the other - stretching, length, horizontal, it's so nuanced, (in fact it is LOADED with nuance) that it makes little sense anyway we stretch it!
One might say "nuanced to the core."

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#606 Post by Yao C » May 15th, 2019, 2:14 pm

One can't help palate differences, but writing is a craft. If you write thousands of TNs a year, you should in theory improve if you work at it. I may not agree with Jancis Robinson's palate but man she can write.

One of the best ever from Galloni (lol): "The 2008 Dom Pérignon is fabulous... <snip> what I admire most about the 2008 is the way it shows all the focus, translucence and energy that is such a signature of the year, and yet it is also remarkably deep and vertical. In other words, the 2008 is a Champagne that plays in three dimensions."

Which dimensions? Are those the only important dimensions or are there other dimensions that matter? [head-bang.gif]

Contrast this with JR's note, which is a paragon of brevity and restraint: "Very fresh and lively and creamy, lovely undertow. Long and tense. Really refreshing"
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#607 Post by Marcu$ Stanley » May 15th, 2019, 3:44 pm

Yao C wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 2:14 pm
One can't help palate differences, but writing is a craft. If you write thousands of TNs a year, you should in theory improve if you work at it. I may not agree with Jancis Robinson's palate but man she can write.

One of the best ever from Galloni (lol): "The 2008 Dom Pérignon is fabulous... <snip> what I admire most about the 2008 is the way it shows all the focus, translucence and energy that is such a signature of the year, and yet it is also remarkably deep and vertical. In other words, the 2008 is a Champagne that plays in three dimensions."

Which dimensions? Are those the only important dimensions or are there other dimensions that matter? [head-bang.gif]

Contrast this with JR's note, which is a paragon of brevity and restraint: "Very fresh and lively and creamy, lovely undertow. Long and tense. Really refreshing"
Agreed, Jancis is a clear, snappy, direct writer who communicates the point with a minimum of fuss.

Galloni communicates less in many more words.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("pixelated fruit")

#608 Post by John Morris » May 17th, 2019, 8:45 pm

crickey wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 6:05 pm
Parker was actually very good at expressing relative quality, and thus his reaction to, and emotional experience of, a wine through tasting descriptors.
+1
crickey wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 6:05 pm
Galloni tends to write about his feelings about a wine; sometimes, his entire note consists of nothing but his feelings, which, as people occasionally point out here, makes it sound vacuous or like a mere instance of puffery.
If you really look at his language, it's not about his feelings -- it's extremely abstract qualities attributed to the wines (dimensions, beams, nuance) that are subjective yet don't manage to convey anything about his sensory experience. Often they're just surplusage. For instance, how is "beams of tannin" different from "tannic"? Another writer would say "round tannins" or "green tannins" to convey the texture in the mouth.

It's not helpful to readers/buyers when everything is scored 93-96 and every note ends "Don't miss it!" and everything else is piffle.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("pixelated fruit")

#609 Post by David Glasser » May 18th, 2019, 7:18 am

John Morris wrote:
May 17th, 2019, 8:45 pm
surplusage
Great lawyer word, I’m stealing this. Not for tasting notes.

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#610 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » May 18th, 2019, 7:43 am

Marcu$ Stanley wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 3:44 pm
Yao C wrote:
May 15th, 2019, 2:14 pm
One can't help palate differences, but writing is a craft. If you write thousands of TNs a year, you should in theory improve if you work at it. I may not agree with Jancis Robinson's palate but man she can write.

One of the best ever from Galloni (lol): "The 2008 Dom Pérignon is fabulous... <snip> what I admire most about the 2008 is the way it shows all the focus, translucence and energy that is such a signature of the year, and yet it is also remarkably deep and vertical. In other words, the 2008 is a Champagne that plays in three dimensions."

Which dimensions? Are those the only important dimensions or are there other dimensions that matter? [head-bang.gif]

Contrast this with JR's note, which is a paragon of brevity and restraint: "Very fresh and lively and creamy, lovely undertow. Long and tense. Really refreshing"
Agreed, Jancis is a clear, snappy, direct writer who communicates the point with a minimum of fuss.

Galloni communicates less in many more words.
But even that Jancis note, does it really tell you what the wine tastes like? Any fruit, earth, spice, etc.? Other than knowing it is a note on DP, would you know if it is a red or white wine?

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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#611 Post by crickey » May 18th, 2019, 5:35 pm

Normally, I don't weigh in, because tasting notes are hard, but John will love this from AG (latest article on Sonoma):

"Here, it is the wine's resonance and textural resonance that make the strongest impression. This is a flat-out gorgeous wine. Don't miss it."

Both resonance and textural resonance.

Dehlinger wines appear to be quite resonant; four feature the term (counting the above note as one).
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("pixelated fruit")

#612 Post by crickey » May 18th, 2019, 6:21 pm

John Morris wrote:
May 17th, 2019, 8:45 pm
crickey wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 6:05 pm
Parker was actually very good at expressing relative quality, and thus his reaction to, and emotional experience of, a wine through tasting descriptors.
+1
crickey wrote:
May 14th, 2019, 6:05 pm
Galloni tends to write about his feelings about a wine; sometimes, his entire note consists of nothing but his feelings, which, as people occasionally point out here, makes it sound vacuous or like a mere instance of puffery.
If you really look at his language, it's not about his feelings -- it's extremely abstract qualities attributed to the wines (dimensions, beams, nuance) that are subjective yet don't manage to convey anything about his sensory experience. Often they're just surplusage. For instance, how is "beams of tannin" different from "tannic"? Another writer would say "round tannins" or "green tannins" to convey the texture in the mouth.

It's not helpful to readers/buyers when everything is scored 93-96 and every note ends "Don't miss it!" and everything else is piffle.
I picked one note from AG's recent article to demonstrate what I mean.

"The gorgeous 2016 Cuvée Moriah is all class. Bright, vibrant and delineated, it beautifully blends 67% Grenache from Dry Stack (in Bennett Valley), 20% Mourvèdre (from Sonoma Valley) and 10% Syrah (from Sonoma Mountain). On the palate, it exudes balance and sophistication; the interplay of bright red-toned fruit and mouthwatering acids is compelling. The 2016 is one of the finest (maybe the finest) Cuvée Moriahs I can remember tasting. Don't miss it."

"All class": I think we can agree that wines do not exhibit class nor are they classy. "Class" here is an expression of AG's summary judgment about the wine. It purports to attribute to the wine an idiosyncratic allusion that exists in his mind.

"Bright, vibrant and delineated." I have no issues with any of those terms. I use "bright" myself, although I am vaguely troubled by the use of a visual term to describe a taste experience, but describing the various experiences of fruit is hard. I think the recent advent of "sparks" and "pixelated" to describe fruit is part of this attempt.

"Exudes balance and sophistication": "Exudes" is an awkward verb for two descriptors which do not exude, i.e., externalize a (previously) internal element. "Sophistication" is another one of those summary judgment terms like "classy" that doesn't really seem to fit wine. It would have helped to know what made this particular wine sophisticated. It seems related to the following clause, but while I can see "the interplay of bright red-toned fruit and mouthwatering acids" as what makes up the balance, I don't see how that is sophisticated.

"...the interplay of bright red-toned fruit and mouthwatering acids is compelling." I have no issue with that description.

"The 2016 is one of the finest (maybe the finest) Cuvée Moriahs I can remember tasting. Don't miss it." Judgments, but okay. Putting this vintage in the context of other vintages is useful information.

Of this note, only "the interplay of bright red-toned fruit and mouthwatering acids" and the isolated phrase "bright, vibrant and delineate" really describes the taste; and the latter terms are somewhat vague metaphors, although we (I anyway) can relate meaning to them and the first clause is married to a judgment (compelling). The rest -- gorgeous, beautifully, all class, sophisticated, compelling, finest, etc. are all what I would call AG's feelings about the wine.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#613 Post by John Morris » May 19th, 2019, 12:29 pm

I completely concur in your exegesis, Chris. I would just add that this note had an uncharacteristic amount of useful, meaningful information. It sounds like this is a wine with fruits in the red fruit direction ("bright" and "vibrant" suggest that even before he says red-fruited explicitly), and the comment about acid is helpful. The descriptors are in contrast to a lot of grenache, so this is helpful. It just doesn't seem typical of his notes, having read hundreds of them for this thread.
Last edited by John Morris on May 19th, 2019, 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#614 Post by crickey » May 19th, 2019, 1:10 pm

Eh, many of his notes have fairly normal descriptors. See, for example, this note on an Arnot-Roberts wine, which is more or less selected at random:

"Arguably the highlight in this range, the 2017 Syrah Que Syrah Vineyard is outrageously beautiful. A wine of exotic beauty, the 2017 has so much to offer. Super-ripe black cherry, plum, lavender, spice and black pepper are front and center. The Que Syrah stands out for a compelling interplay of exotic ripeness and cool climate savoriness. It is one of the most exciting young wines I tasted in Sonoma this year. Don't miss it."

Other than the doubling of beauty and exotic, most of the note is useful and reads fine, including the obvious implication that he really, really liked it.

Incidentally, two of the Arnot-Roberts wines are described as "outrageously beautiful."
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#615 Post by crickey » May 19th, 2019, 1:12 pm

In one note, he threw in a new descriptor that includes two of your bugaboos: "beams of salinity." The crossbars to pillars of salt?
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#616 Post by John Morris » May 19th, 2019, 1:26 pm

crickey wrote:
May 19th, 2019, 1:10 pm
Eh, many of his notes have fairly normal descriptors. See, for example, this note on an Arnot-Roberts wine, which is more or less selected at random:

"Arguably the highlight in this range, the 2017 Syrah Que Syrah Vineyard is outrageously beautiful. A wine of exotic beauty, the 2017 has so much to offer. Super-ripe black cherry, plum, lavender, spice and black pepper are front and center. The Que Syrah stands out for a compelling interplay of exotic ripeness and cool climate savoriness. It is one of the most exciting young wines I tasted in Sonoma this year. Don't miss it."

Other than the doubling of beauty and exotic, most of the note is useful and reads fine, including the obvious implication that he really, really liked it.
I do get a sense of the dark fruit profile here, but most of the rest is just piling on unhelpful superlatives (bolded). After the first one, they add nothing. The biggest problem, though, is that I don't understand how "super ripe" and "exotic ripeness" can coexist with "cool climate savoriness" (underscored).

And then there are the reflexive "so much to offer" and "don't miss it."

What was the score? I'm curious. 95± 2, I would guess.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#617 Post by crickey » May 19th, 2019, 1:57 pm

I guess you will have to try it to find out. The use of "interplay" suggests he is aware that ripe fruit and savory elements are two things generally in opposition, except in southern Rhone wines, where I find it quite common.

I think the score was a 97.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#618 Post by John Morris » May 19th, 2019, 2:08 pm

Speaking of crimes against our native tongue, did anyone catch the first sentence of Lisa Perroti-Brown's announcement of Parker's retirement yesterday:
Lisa Perrotti-Brown
16 May 2019 | News & Views
The father of modern wine criticism, our publication’s founder and namesake, my greatest mentor and a dear friend, it is with mixed feelings that I announce that Robert M. Parker Jr. will, as of today, be formally hanging up his wine criticism boots and retiring from Robert Parker Wine Advocate. I say “mixed,” because if anyone deserves a rest from our frenetic world of wine reviews, it is Bob. And yet, his contribution to significantly raising the bar of critical, unbiased wine writing and wine quality cannot be overestimated. His unrivaled tasting experience and expert, straight-talking opinions will be sorely missed by consumers and trade alike.
What is the bolded phrase? On first read, it seemed like a salutation addressed to Parker. But then it seems like a parenthetical description that should have come immediately before or after his name but was pasted into the wrong spot.

Does anyone read this stuff before it goes out? [scratch.gif]
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#619 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » May 19th, 2019, 2:48 pm

And she split an infinitive!

Sigh . . . .

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