What does the word "blocky" mean in a tasting note?

I see the word “blocky” every now and then in a tasting note - usually in reference to a burgundian red.

Does this word refer to a clumsy, inelegant mouthfeel? [Maybe “angular”, but without the angles?] Or does it mean something else?

The first person I ever saw use this word was the VLM, many years ago, at Therapy; today I noticed it in a post at eBob/eSquires:

T/N: '91 & '01 DRC RSV, '00 Leflaive Chevalier, '04 Sauzet Montrachet

1991 DRC Romanee Saint Vivant: I preferred this wine by far to the recent ’90, however it still showed that this wine has come a fair way in recent years. Like the ’90, a fraction > blocky> , and with some flowery aromatic qualities, but not quite as perfumed as more recent vintages. Still quite young and very fresh in the mouth. Some spice, dark fruits and a spine that seems to be softening into a silky finish. Not 100% resolved as yet, with some upside to come. Very nice.

i think somebody is trying to sound a lot cooler than they really are.

I use chunky, but I don’t think this guy meant that.

Actually, I’ve been wondering the same thing lately about “loamy”. What does this mean to you all?

I think it is good to remember how inexact tasting notes are.
You may read blocky when someone means the wine is firm or unyielding. Or blocky might mean foursquare which I have always taken to mean not very complex.
Who knows what other meanings may be wrapped up in an author’s usage.

There may be a standardized language for tastes and aromas but I think that would make tasting notes pretty boring. I much prefer to look at tasting notes (and the descriptors used in them) as impressions, brief and fleeting and subjective.
Sort of keeps the mystery alive . . .

Best, Jim

And THAT’S why points rock!!! [dance.gif] Yay, Big Dr. J (or whatever the hell his nickname is).

The chick from Skadden, Arps said something a long time ago [probably at Therapy] which I think I agree with - she asserted that “flavors” were more or less meaningless in tasting notes, because each person’s tastebuds respond so differently to the sensation of taste, but she maintained that the thing which is constant across all tasting experiences is the sensation of mouthfeel.

Plus, the older I get, the more I’m just not all that interested in the taste of a wine - I find myself wanting good grip [mouthfeel] and a nice bouquet, and, beyond that, I’m just not all that concerned with what the wine does [or does not] taste like. [I guess maybe I’m gravitating towards the English School of wine appreciation?]

Obviously there are certain tastes which are unpleasant or even offensive in a wine - residual sugar in what ought to be a dry wine, carmelly/popcornish/butterscotch oak notes, hot/grapey/grape-bubblegum/barrel-samplish tastes [typically in reds, although, if you were to subsititute apple- or watermelon-flavored bubblegum, then the same could be said of whites] - but, generally speaking, if the mouthfeel is right, and if the nose isn’t offensive, then I’m happy.

Anyway, “blocky” always seemed to me as though it was describing a flaw in the mouthfeel.

[And, in case you haven’t noticed, there isn’t a whole heckuva lotta discussion of mouthfeel over at eBob/eSquires, which seems to be “Taste Central”.]

Well said Nathan. I agree whole heartily.

I’m thinking the note writer was using ‘blocky’ like many of us would use ‘chunky’ to describe a young wine.

I agree with Nathan and Chris.

On the subject of “loamy,” to me it very clearly means from loamy soil, in the vein of saying something tastes/smells of schist, crushed rock, river rock, volcanic soil / ash, scorched earth, etc… hopefully a character that came from the soil.

I would take it as two things. One- as the opposite of round . . . not polished, with sharp edges, somewhat awkward still, not fully ready or developed. Two- heavy, chunky, stout, muscular or solidly built but not in a flawed way. Either way a wine that is blocky is still awaiting full integration and is probably (a) in adolescence or (b) a very good (maybe even great) wine still maturing.

FWTW . . .

But that’s for another thread.
Best, Jim

I always associate “loamy” with Chilean cabs. Its not bordeaux dirt (funky), but more like something you would buy at Home Deport to plant your flowers in.


It’s called sarcasm Jim. [thank_you.gif]

Well actually a LOAM is a soil containing about equal parts sand, silt, and clay that technically may or may not contain humus (organic material). But, I have always envisioned loam as black and full of earthworms, like the Home Depot soil but not sterilized. In a wine, it is definitely a Bordeaux (and with Chile in the running) with a high yuck factor!!

Loamy is indeed something that I associate with Chilean Cabs, and it is a smell/taste that if found in small amounts it is quite appealing, otherwise can be a big turnoff. Think of wet forrest floor when loamy is used and you’ll get the idea.

A little off-topic, but somebody today over at eBob/eSquires is lamenting the absence of “tar” notes in a wine.


Different strokes for different folks - I guess.

Thanks all for the insights, and Nathan, sorry for the partial hijack of the thread - just seemed to make more sense than 2 very similar parallel threads, thanks for starting it :slight_smile:

No idea what blocky means, loamy in a note reminds me of the smell of rich fertile black earth, like the smell when you turn over a garden in the spring and that garden soil is well fertilized and rich with nutrients. That’s what loam is in my mind.