It's critic bingo! (not "perfect but perfectly embod[ies] the human spirit")

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

The problem was brought home by this blurb in one of those e-mails:

“The 2012 Barolo Castiglione is a gorgeous, > radiant > wine. Sweet red cherry, pomegranate, wild flowers and spices all meld together in a sensual, > radiant > wine endowed with > striking > presence and intensity. In 2012, the Castiglione is especially lifted, > radiant > and expressive, with striking purity and nuance. With time in the glass, the wine freshens up considerably, so aeration is a good idea for readers who want to open the 2012 early. This is a > striking> , seriously delicious Barolo from Vietti.”-Antonio Galloni

Me thinks he needs an editor, or at least a thesaurus.

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

Keith Levenberg suggested a bingo card, so here’s my first stab:
Galloni bingo card.pdf (156 KB)
I’m sure we could make up one for Parker (I claim “hedonistic” for my center square). The guys at Zachy’s are a little too fond of “patriarch” in their own pitches, so we could put that on their bingo card.

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

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

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

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

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

[Edited periodically to update subject heading.]

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that’s a “BIN” card :wink:

can you search parker’s notes for paine grille?

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Pain grillé! A must!

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The word I most associate with Parker reviews is ‘unctuous’.

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Some Parkerisms:

Pain grille
“natural alcohol hit 15% yet the wine is impeccably balance”

John Gilman: Everything is “deep” and “full-bodied.”

Burghound: “In a word, __________.”

Tour de Force!


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“massively endowed”

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

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

‘agnostic solutions’
‘best in class’
‘just in time’


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

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


I think all these words are some outcome of the random tasting note generator chat bot mentioned some threads down.

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Thanks, but you don’t know me well enough for such a public declaration . . . .

He complained?

best ever

I also remember Parker using “flaccid”.

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

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



Oh wait, wrong Bingo. Mah bad.


They usually go hand in hand . . . .

Hey, John, you even missed to highlight one of the “striking”! (Corrected up here :wink: )


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

“Iconic” (shame on you for that not being number one!) “Sheer”
“Pure” (especially “exceptional purity”, often coupled with “striking balance”) “Soaring”
“X wine is all about…”
“Utterly captivating”
“X wine impresses for its…”
“A wine that speaks to (or with) [add trite, meaningless term at random from bingo card]”
“Total knockout”
“Gravitas” (as in “endowed with serious palate intensity and gravitas from start to finish”)
“Remarkable depth”
“Pure sensuality”
“Absolutely gorgeous”

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

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

The King is dead, long live the King?