It's critic bingo! (Black Forest cake and tapenade)

Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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K John Joseph
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#801 Post by K John Joseph » September 10th, 2019, 10:44 am

John Morris wrote:
August 16th, 2019, 1:08 pm
Back to the topic at hand, here's a great example of why flavor descriptors are pretty useless in reviews. There is virtually no overlap in the flavors the seven critics used to describe this wine. There are a few terms that come up more than once -- "plum," "black currant," "wet earth," "leather," "licorice" -- but only in two of the seven notes. Some describe this wine as red-fruited, some as dark-fruited.

Note, too, the divergent views on where the wine is -- whether it's accessible or needs a lot of time.
2014 Beausejour Duffau Lagarosse

An utterly spellbinding wine, the 2014 Beauséjour Héritiers Duffau-Lagarrosse is also one of the unqualified successes of the vintage. Beams of tannin give the 2014 its ample, broad feel. Inky red cherry, blueberry, smoke, leather and tobacco fill out the wine's big frame effortlessly. Layers of intense fruit meld into a huge spine of tannin in a vertical, massively structured Saint-Émilion. So many 2014s are charming and accessible, but this is not one of them. Readers will have to be patient. - Antonio Galloni, Vinous Media

Licorice, sweet oak, thyme, flowers, plum and assorted pit fruit [peaches? apricots?] make an entrance. On the palate, the wine has a polish to the tannins, sweetness to the fruit and a stony refinement in the finish. This is a vintage of Beausejour to drink young, while waiting for the 09, 10, 12, 15 and 16 to come around. Very fine for the vintage. - Wine Cellar Insider (Jeff Leve)

This is one of the best examples of this wine that I have tasted, reaching the same heights as some of the biggest names in this vintage, and barely a step down from 2016 - great stuff from these guys this year. It's firm, bright, intense and deep, with salinity, grip and a lovely seam of freshness. It has a really excellent, juicy character and good persistency, with notes of liquorice and dark chocolate. - Decanter

While I wasn’t able to taste the 2015, the 2014 Château Beausejour Duffau-Lagarrosse is fabulous stuff and well worth seeking out. Made from close to 100% Merlot (there’s a splash of Cabernet Franc) and offering classic notes of damp earth, tobacco leaf, blackcurrants, and beautiful minerality, this beauty hits the palate with medium to full-bodied richness, a terrific core of fruit, and more texture and opulence than most in the vintage. It will keep for 20-25 years. - Jeb Dunnuck

This is full of muscular graphite and tobacco notes, holding sway over a core of slightly exotic mulled fig and warm black currant sauce. A ganache edge lines the finish, but a pure fruit detail echoes longest. This will be exceptional when the elements meld fully. Best from 2022 through 2035. 1,335 cases made. - James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

So layered with a lovely richness of chocolate, wet earth and spices, not to mention plum character. Full-bodied, tight and focused. Needs five to six years to open, but it’s a structured and beautiful wine already. - James Suckling

Tasted blind. Lively, well-balanced and well-behaved nose. Thick and confident. Lots of length but a bit Oxford marmalade-like. Overall satisfying though. Youthful. - Jancis Robinson
When I was first learning wine, I would take notes from various critics on the same wine. I'd find the descriptor or two than ran in each of the notes, and then work to identify that note in the wine I was drinking. Made for some fun AHA moments. And then there were notes that made me scratch my head and wonder if I was drinking an entirely different wine. At least here there is good overlap that there is some sweetness or chocolaty note to the wine. You have 3 of 7 with a chocolate reference. The tobacco/spice/herbs go together a bit for me when looking at these notes. Tobacco has that rich spicy herbal note, and there is enough among the tasting notes to suggest different takes or iterations on that.

I won't even touch drinking window issues as that, to me, is so profoundly subjective and wine's greatest pseudo-science.

The note that I despise the most here is Jancis Robinson's. Well-behaved nose...thick...well balanced...but then a reference to Oxford Marmalade. First, most US readers probably don't know what that is (me included). So it's a really think orange marmalade made with brown sugar? So is she referring to the texture of the wine or the flavor? If it's thick and sweet, isn't that contradictory with the balance she mentioned? If it smells like orange marmalade, how is that a well-behaved nose? That would be an outlier. I'm lost by her reference.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#802 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 10th, 2019, 10:51 am

8224E2FE-7271-4415-8EC6-8B554CC8C219.jpeg
Johnny -

There is quite a difference, academically speaking.

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

#803 Post by John Morris » September 10th, 2019, 11:07 am

So she was describing the color?
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#804 Post by K John Joseph » September 10th, 2019, 2:03 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
September 10th, 2019, 10:51 am
8224E2FE-7271-4415-8EC6-8B554CC8C219.jpeg

Johnny -

There is quite a difference, academically speaking.
You googled that shit and found an article where some recipe brit just made that "cambridge" marmalade business up.

So does it mean darker in color, or darker in color and thicker in texture, or is it about the dark treacle and brown sugar giving it a deeper sweet taste to offset the bitter?

Please enlighten us, country lawyer.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#805 Post by John Morris » September 10th, 2019, 2:27 pm

I think you're taking the country lawyer too seriously.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#806 Post by GregT » September 10th, 2019, 6:33 pm

Actually, there is something to Oxford marmalade. First time I had it was when I was nine years old and visiting my relatives outside of London. My mother loved marmalade and I grew up eating what I thought was the real deal - bright orange as the "Cambridge" version Robert posted. Then I tried the marmalade my cousins had and wondered WTF? They told me it was Oxford marmalade as if that explained anything.

When I got older I'd go to this store that had all these British and Scottish things and I tried a number of different preserves and jams and marmalades - Roberston's, Cooper's, Dundee's, Chiver's, etc. And that so-called "Oxford" version still kind of sucked. It's quite bitter and not runny in the least.

Later I found out why I thought that "Oxford" marmalade was so nasty as a kid.

Oxford marmalade is made only with bitter Seville oranges. They're pretty much inedible on their own but with a lot of sugar they're palatable. And those oranges have more pectin than the sweet oranges you eat, so the marmalade is really stiff too. I made the mistake of adding a little pectin to my loquat jam this year and won't do that again. When fruit has plenty of its own pectin, you don't want to amp it up because you can't spread it.

Most marmalade we see in the US is made with various citrus fruits these days, so it's not so bitter or so stiff.

But don't you remember what James Bond has in the morning?

Oxford marmalade!

However, I don't think that's what Paddington bear ate. Although he was a marmalade lover and always had a sandwich around, I think he probably liked the sweeter stuff, like I did.

But to the point above, that most Americans will be clueless regarding Oxford marmalade, I completely agree. It really doesn't smell like other marmalade. I think maybe she wanted to bring up her connection.

Coopers-Vintage-Oxford-Marmalade.jpg
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[i]"the incorrect overuse of apostrophes is staggering these days. I wonder if half the adults these days have any idea what they are for." Chris Seiber, 5/14/19[/i]

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

#807 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 10th, 2019, 6:38 pm

3DE8E37A-6AD3-4D3E-9DF2-3D7A9D241359.jpeg

The truth is, neither have anything on this....

"@lf3rt was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

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

#808 Post by Dennis Borczon » September 10th, 2019, 6:56 pm

This is why I have pretty much given up on critic tasting notes as a buying guide. Tell me the history, the production methods, the emotional reaction to the wine and the texture and mouthfeel. I think most tasters can generally agree on textural elements in the wine. Fruit tones vary so much in perception and change quite a bit over time that this is really useless. One mans plum is another man's currant. Tannin intensity is also pretty useful, and a decent guide to ageability as well as acid balance. The rest is gaudy decoration for the entertainment of the reader, perhaps worth keeping your readers engaged, but not really that much help. It's like trying to describe a Van Gough by telling me the colors of the paint and the figures in the painting. It could be a masterpiece or it could be your 4th graders drawing if that is all you can know about a painting. Unless you can appreciate the history, the context of the wine, the contrasts with other wines like it, this is what makes wine appreciation relevant.

My .02. ...The only exception is New Zealand Sauv Blanc in classic form. Cats pee on a gooseberry bush is almost the same for everybody!!! (If you clean cat boxes regularly) [snort.gif]

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

#809 Post by Dennis Borczon » September 10th, 2019, 6:59 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
September 10th, 2019, 6:38 pm
3DE8E37A-6AD3-4D3E-9DF2-3D7A9D241359.jpeg


The truth is, neither have anything on this....
Other than the view from the winery and actually some vintages of the wine, this is what I miss the most about not being on the Ovid list! Buy all you can and hoard it, the stuff is amazingly good!

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

#810 Post by John Morris » September 10th, 2019, 7:30 pm

GregT wrote:
September 10th, 2019, 6:33 pm
When I got older I'd go to this store that had all these British and Scottish things and I tried a number of different preserves and jams and marmalades - Roberston's, Cooper's, Dundee's, Chiver's, etc. And that so-called "Oxford" version still kind of sucked. It's quite bitter and not runny in the least.
Growing up in Vancouver in an area that was ~50% English and Scottish post-war immigrants, that bitter marmalade was the only form I knew. I couldn't stand it. It was only decades later, in England, that I learned there were other forms. But I never heard of "Oxford marmalade" before this thread.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#811 Post by GregT » September 11th, 2019, 1:34 pm

I'd actually completely forgotten about the name "Oxford marmalade" until this thread, since I haven't had it for many years. My uncle used to teach there so maybe that's where he learned about it. I have no idea. He's 103 now. I should ping him and ask him about it. My mother bought the cheap stuff and that's one of the times it was the right decision.

Oxford marmalade is one of those Brit things that make no sense to most rational people. Like beans on toast or marmite or Scotch eggs or steak and kidney pie. Any of those in a tasting note and I'm running far away.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#812 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 11th, 2019, 2:15 pm

Can you actually ping someone that is 103?

Marmite is nasty nasty stuff.

"@lf3rt was clearly raised in an outhouse in the Loire. . . ."

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

#813 Post by Edward H. Earles » September 11th, 2019, 3:45 pm

Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
September 11th, 2019, 2:15 pm
Can you actually ping someone that is 103?

Marmite is nasty nasty stuff.
On our trip to New Zealand in 2002, at one B&B our hostess served us toast, and there was a jar of Marmite on the table. I'd never tasted it before. It looked like peanut butter, so I spread it on my toast as if it were peanut butter. The first taste turned my mouth inside out. What awful stuff! [barf.gif]

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

#814 Post by Edward H. Earles » September 11th, 2019, 3:49 pm

GregT wrote:
September 11th, 2019, 1:34 pm

Oxford marmalade is one of those Brit things that make no sense to most rational people. Like beans on toast or marmite or Scotch eggs or steak and kidney pie. Any of those in a tasting note and I'm running far away.
You forgot cold bathrooms (which, thankfully, are rarer now than they used to be).

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

#815 Post by GregT » September 11th, 2019, 5:29 pm

Edward H. Earles wrote:
September 11th, 2019, 3:45 pm
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
September 11th, 2019, 2:15 pm
Can you actually ping someone that is 103?

Marmite is nasty nasty stuff.
On our trip to New Zealand in 2002, at one B&B our hostess served us toast, and there was a jar of Marmite on the table. I'd never tasted it before. It looked like peanut butter, so I spread it on my toast as if it were peanut butter. The first taste turned my mouth inside out. What awful stuff! [barf.gif]
[wow.gif]

OMG! You can't eat that shit man!

Surprised they served that though. There's that other crap - Vegemite, which is popular in Australia.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#816 Post by RichardFlack » September 12th, 2019, 7:42 am

GregT wrote:
September 11th, 2019, 5:29 pm
Edward H. Earles wrote:
September 11th, 2019, 3:45 pm
Robert.A.Jr. wrote:
September 11th, 2019, 2:15 pm
Can you actually ping someone that is 103?

Marmite is nasty nasty stuff.
On our trip to New Zealand in 2002, at one B&B our hostess served us toast, and there was a jar of Marmite on the table. I'd never tasted it before. It looked like peanut butter, so I spread it on my toast as if it were peanut butter. The first taste turned my mouth inside out. What awful stuff! [barf.gif]
[wow.gif]

OMG! You can't eat that shit man!

Surprised they served that though. There's that other crap - Vegemite, which is popular in Australia.
Not sure what brand of peanut butter you use, but most peanut butter that I have ever seen looks nothing like marmite. I’m surprised you didn’t ask first what it was. I’d agree it’s not to every one’s taste.

I’m guessing you dont like kippers either? But you probably love Stilton or Roquefort? [stirthepothal.gif]

Taste is subjective!!

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

#817 Post by RichardFlack » September 12th, 2019, 7:52 am

Coopers Oxford Marmalade is of course one of the finest marmalades made, but we don’t need to debate that here. I don’t think I have yet found a decent North American made marmalade, even in the more regular categories. They are all far too sweet.

Be that as it may, I am as baffled as everyone else by the reference in the tasting note. I have no clue as to whether she is implying a certain chunkiness (it qualifies her comment on the length of the wine) or perhaps a hint of a bitter edge? Definitely too obscure. I think I might ask (very politely!) if she can elaborate.

I find her notes are generally very helpful with a focus on style and structure rather than fruit salad recipes. This one is an outlier.

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

#818 Post by GregT » September 12th, 2019, 5:25 pm

Ah Richard. I think a TN that referenced kippers would be even worse than one that references Oxford marmalade!

But on their own, kippers are quite delicious. As is Stilton, which isn't quite as good as Roquefort, as it isn't made from sheep milk.

As to the TN, if she's referencing "chunkiness", she's taken TNs to a new level indeed. That's better than cast iron pan!
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[i]"the incorrect overuse of apostrophes is staggering these days. I wonder if half the adults these days have any idea what they are for." Chris Seiber, 5/14/19[/i]

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

#819 Post by RichardFlack » September 13th, 2019, 3:41 am

Indeed it seems that what Jancis meant by the Oxford Marmalade reference was indeed just chunkiness. I got this response from her:
Absolutely. Chunkiness! (Texture)

So glad you appreciate my concentration on structure and composition rather than a long list of flavours (which I’m sure vary considerably from taster to taster).

I do try to write notes that are not too anglocentric, usually remembering to add ‘hard candy’ to ´boiled sweets’ and ´yeast extract’ to the dreaded Marmite. But this one obviously slipped through the net. Or perhaps I was overestimating the efforts of Frank Cooper’s export dept.

Marmalade and red Bordeaux always remind me of my predecessor at the FT Edmund Penning Rowsell. He made a v dark chunky marmalade. His wife a light fine one. Choosing which at breakfast always felt like a political act.

V best, and thanks for the query,

Jancis

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

#820 Post by John Morris » September 13th, 2019, 6:45 am

RichardFlack wrote:
September 13th, 2019, 3:41 am
. . . . Marmalade and red Bordeaux always remind me of my predecessor at the FT Edmund Penning Rowsell. He made a v dark chunky marmalade. His wife a light fine one. Choosing which at breakfast always felt like a political act. . . .
Jancis
That's delightful!
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#821 Post by David Glasser » September 13th, 2019, 1:26 pm

Great response from Jancis, thanks for sharing Richard.

An entry from Eric Asimov in his piece on Heitz, describing a ‘73 Napa: "fresh and lively, yet sedate and gentle." Guess he was feeling ambivalent.

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

#822 Post by GregT » September 13th, 2019, 7:05 pm

Then he should change his pronoun of choice. "They" were feeling ambivalent!

BTW, nice that Jancis responded.
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#823 Post by RichardFlack » September 13th, 2019, 9:46 pm

Asimov... sounds like a Waltz

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

#824 Post by RichardFlack » September 13th, 2019, 9:50 pm

Just to be clear the Penning Rose wsell family marmalade anecdote that John flagged was from Jancis in her reply to my query.

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

#825 Post by John Morris » September 15th, 2019, 10:20 am

LPB is back on her dessert Bordeaux thing. You might recall these from posts #638 and #720 above:
97-99 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2018 Palmer is composed of 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot. Grapes were harvested September 13 to October 15, and the wine has a 3.83 pH and 14.3% alcohol. Very deep purple-black in color, the nose is a little reticent to begin, but with coaxing, it slowly emerges to show fragrant violets, underbrush, mossy bark and iron ore with exponentially growing notions of crème de cassis, Black Forest cake, plum preserves, hoisin, Christmas cake and red roses with wafts of dusty earth, Indian spices and cracked black pepper. Full-bodied, concentrated and downright powerful in the mouth, it has a solid structure of firm, wonderfully plush tannins and masses of fragrant accents, finishing very long and very spicy. By the time I finished tasting this, the nose had exploded in this fragrant bomb of fruit, earth and floral notions. This is one of those 2018 wines that has a beguiling brightness that comes from the many floral, spice and mineral accents among all that rich fruit. WOW! (LPB) (4/2019)
2018 Durand-Laplagne Les Terres Rouges, Puisseguin-St.-Emilion
...scents of plum preserves, Black Forest cake and Chinese five spice with wafts of potpourri and fragrant earth. Full-bodied, rich and decadently fruited in the mouth, it has firm, plush tannins...

2018 Les Gravieres, St. Emilion
...deep garnet-purple and rocks up with gregarious blueberry pie, chocolate-covered cherries and plum preserves scents with nuances of violets, spice cake and mocha. Big, full and decadently fruited...
Now we have a 96-pointer:
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Marquis d'Alesme Becker leaps from the glass with gregarious notions of plum preserves, crème de cassis and Black Forest cake with hints of potpourri, star anise, menthol and tapenade. Full, rich, firm and grainy, with fantastic freshness lifting the densely packed palate, it has a long, beautifully fragrant finish.
I'm sorry, but chocolate cherry cake with menthol and tapenade sounds utterly vile.
[barf1.gif]
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Re: It's critic bingo! ("vertical in feel")

#826 Post by Charlie Carnes » September 15th, 2019, 10:27 am

John Morris wrote:
September 15th, 2019, 10:20 am

Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Marquis d'Alesme Becker leaps from the glass with gregarious notions of plum preserves, crème de cassis and Black Forest cake with hints of potpourri, star anise, menthol and tapenade. Full, rich, firm and grainy, with fantastic freshness lifting the densely packed palate, it has a long, beautifully fragrant finish.
I'm sorry, but chocolate cherry cake with menthol and tapenade sounds utterly vile.
[barf1.gif]
I think somebody needs a editor! [wink.gif]

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

#827 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » September 15th, 2019, 11:46 am

“Leaps from the glass with gregarious notions....”

Jean-Charles Boisset now consulting? In addition to Rolland, who actually made this wine.

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

#828 Post by Edward H. Earles » September 16th, 2019, 11:24 am

RichardFlack wrote:
September 12th, 2019, 7:42 am

I’m guessing you dont like kippers either? But you probably love Stilton or Roquefort? [stirthepothal.gif]
I love kippers, and eat them frequently.

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Re: It's critic bingo! (Black Forest cake and tapenade)

#829 Post by GregT » September 16th, 2019, 3:12 pm

Here too.

But do you like them in your wine? Fishy wine?

As for the black forest cake and tapenade and menthol, that sounds utterly vile.
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[i]"the incorrect overuse of apostrophes is staggering these days. I wonder if half the adults these days have any idea what they are for." Chris Seiber, 5/14/19[/i]

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