What is a "polished" wine

Well, Neal…maybe we should take on “minerality” next. Then move on to “natural”?? [snort.gif]

This starts to persuade me that the term is a communicative one. Jeff sees it as a descriptor in much the same way I do even though he sees the term as positive. Thus when he uses it to praise a wine, I guess I should stay away and when I use it to critique a wine, he should come running.

i think if you read the note as a whole you’d get a sense if it’s positive/negative tho right?

Hi from Bordeaux John !

If I’m writing about a wine, no. But someone that does not like polished wines as a reader or writer would see it as a negative.

This is of course based on the reader and writer understanding that polish is textural.

All wine tasting is subjective from the view of a writer, or reader. The job of a writer is to identify the characteristics of a wine, so the reader knows what to expect if they are to buy or open the wine.

100% correct. Although for me, polish alone is not enough to entice me. In thinking about it, there is no single term that would excite me.

However, there are negative terms that would instantly dissuade me from being interested in a wine, though that depends on the writer.

Knowing the writer, and their preferences provides context, which is important, if you’re going to look for serious guidance.

It is indeed all about context.

A new release Barolo: “…impressively polished tannins for a wine of this age…” → This could be a positive for me here, so long as it is a traditional leaning producer. I know the tannins aren’t harsh and I could derive some pleasure in opening one now vs. having to wait 15 years.

A new release Napa cab: “Super polished and glossy, this wine is ready to drink now” → If reading that, I would pause to wonder if this wine has a lack of structure.

This remains me of the discussion about what linear meant. There were two camps with very different definitions. I would never think to use the term “polished” as a negative. To me, when someone or something is polished, it is excellent, well put together, pleasing, exceeds expectations, and is of top class. A “polished candidate” would be a very good thing. A young man who is exceedingly polished is mature beyond his years, well mannered, well educated. Why would one use that term as a negative in the context of wine?

I use the term polished to mean a wine that comes across as exceedingly well made and nearly perfectly balanced. A high class wine that is extraordinary not for any one thing, but because it is so complex and well put together, No hard edges or dominant aspect.

Liking or not liking polish in one region over another, or in all regions is fair.

But polish is a textural term, not structural. So, IMO, using your Napa example, that’s sort of like saying a house will fall apart due to the floors or paint job. Polish is not related to structure.

That won’t work. You have to taste alongside people and learn the terms that way. That’s a huge problem these days, where lots of people explore wines on their own. You can learn a huge amount that way, but your vocabulary won’t necessarily correspond to other people’s.

Great examples.

Ha! And I think of texture and structure as very closely related! How do you perceive structure if not through texture?

I would tend to agree with you that it is more of a textural term to me (and probably more accurate as to how I actually use it). But sometimes the structure can seemingly affect the texture too. That’s why I pondered whether the Napa wine in my example has good structure or not. It still could.

Oh, Lord, let’s just agree to leave “linear” out of our notes!

As to polished, and whether it’s negative or positive, think of it like shoes. A fine pair of men’s shoes can have a wonderful polished shine, and great character. Then there are those cheap shoes that you can see your reflection in. The first polish is superb; the second is fake and plastic.
Shiny shoes.JPG

I do not follow your reasoning. The term “polish” is also defined as “refinement or elegance in a person or thing”. Elegance is almost always used to describe a wine’s general balance and structure and, in wine, structure and texture almost always go hand in hand. For instance, if I placed two glasses of wine in front of you and said A is Rustic while B is Elegant I think you might have a decent expectation of the structure and texture of the wines you were about to taste.

I think we should agree to leave “polished” out too if that’s where you’re going! What I’m struggling with is the application of a literal term to something that cannot be literally polished. It’s an improper use of an adjective. There is a defined term “polished” that is actually used to describe things that are not literally scrubbed/polished. Why would that not be the applicable adjective?

Your explanation highlights the stretch. To make your point, you’ve had to contort the definition of “polished” to mean cheap patent nogahyde instead of an actually polished dress shoe. It is the patent that is offensive, not the polish. Again, I just don’t get the usage where an alternative definition of “polished” is directly applicable.

This and the linear thread have been revelations. I’ve learned that I may actually have no clue what people think about the wines they’ve tasted, and that others may have no clue what I think about wines I’ve tasted.

Now I know why scores are so critically important! Err, wait, I still can’t figure out what this means: ()

Elegance and polish are not the same thing. Using John’s excellent example of shoes… Elegance is the style or design of the shoe, while polish is the sheen.

This is not to knock anyone’s desire or lack of for polish, it’s just to create an agreement on a definition in wine-speak, so we communicate better with each other.

I get where you’re going, but I’m citing a dictionary, not firing from the hip. This goes back to my reply to John. You’re applying a literal definition of polished to something that cannot be literally polished, and so you are adjusting the definition–and its scope–to suit your purpose. That’s fine since you’re using it in your notes. But there is a more applicable definition of polished that applies to things that cannot literally be polished: refined, sophisticated, or elegant.

Merriam-Webster addresses this with the examples used with each definition: characterized by elegance and refinement (a polished gentleman; polished society); characterized by a high degree of development, finish, or refinement: free from imperfections (a polished performance/performer; a highly polished piece of writing).

When referring to something that can physically be polished, the appropriate definition from MW is: subjected to polishing : made smooth and glossy by or as if by polishing (a polished surface; polished silver)

I don’t disagree in one way being a more ideal way to learn. But there is value in applying some descriptors to terms - or highlighting differences of use - as shown inherently on this thread.

With wine-speak, toss out your normal dictionary. Wine-speak is its own vocabulary. It’s not always the same as normal English.

if you put a polished shoe in your mouth it’d have a different texture from a non textured shoe.

There, we can use polish according to the dictionary