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Wine-Speak, Waxing Lyrical

Another thought for the day:

When describing wine, I am all for waxing lyrical. People can criticize use of enigmatic words such as `haunting` and `resonant` – and the debunking wine brigade do, vehemently – but I fly the flag for the wordy wine-taster who likes to use sensory and imaginative descriptions. English is a wonderfully expressive language after all, why would we choose not to use it?  Wine has wide-ranging smells, tastes and textures, and evokes imagination as well as memory recall and emotion. Sensory reaction to wine can be as complex as wine itself, capable of invoking the poet in us.  In communicating the merits of a wine to someone else, the wine-taster requires a semblance of context, of course. He, or she, needs to make a judgement about the audience, then speak to it. Little point in going over people`s heads. A Master of Wine writing a tasting note for Decanter wine magazine might be forgiven for his or her flamboyance because the readership is a knowledgeable one. Same MW would no doubt dumb it down a little at the local W.I.  There`s also context as to the use of words which might be perceived as negative. The term `farmyard` for example should perhaps be avoided if you are selling the wine, even though a wine`s bouquet might be highly prized for smelling like one!  It is also true that a wine`s characteristics can be interpreted differently, so two people tasting the same wine might write very different tasting notes. We see it in Decanter all the time. This can be explained in part due to differing uses of vocabulary. One person`s `farmyard` is another person`s `sweaty saddle`. Next time you enjoy a glass or two with your significant other, look at it, smell it, taste it, and, before discussing it, independently make notes to describe it. Translating these first impressions into your own words is the purist form of wine-speak.  Cheers everyone!

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