Tag Archives: wine writing

Wine and blackberries

wine and blackberries

Did picking the blackberries at 10 brix make the jam too jammy?

One of the most common questions I get: “Don’t you want to make wine and be a winemaker?” The answer, of course, is no. Winemaking not only involves more stooping than writing, but the hours are worse and you have to put up with wine writers. Talk about thankless.

But my recent excursion into blackberries, courtesy of Dallas’ record-setting rain this spring, made me realize viticulture is more interesting than I realized.

More, after the jump:

The revolution in wine terms


wine termsWho knew wine terms had become more than they were? Certainly not the Wine Curmudgeon, who has been using words like sweet and dry and fruity for more than 20 years. But, apparently, I am not au courant, as a post at VinePair, describing “20 wine words most drinkers don’t know” reminded me.

My first question? Why, if these terms are so important and wine drinkers need to know them, how is it that most don’t? That would be like most food eaters not knowing what hot and cold means. “Hmmm, this soup is hurting my mouth. Is there a term to describe that?”

Second, one of the terms was hedonistic: “Robert Parker‘s favorite word. Wines that just blow you away. Parker likes hedonistic, but you can just say the wine is damn amazing.” Note to Adam Teeter at VinePair, who wrote the post and, save for an occasional lapse into cuteness, seems to know his business. Most wine drinkers don’t know who Robert Parker is and don’t care, so why do they need to know his favorite wine term? Plus, in 30-some years as a professional writer, wine and otherwise, I have never used hedonistic to describe anything. And I have had a fairly successful career.

Third, wine terms should be objective, like sweet and dry and fruity, and hedonistic (as well as ponderous, also on the list) isn’t. Parker may think those wines are damn amazing, but many of us don’t. We find them overblown and unenjoyable. What’s the point of using a term that tells someone they’re supposed to like something that they may not like?

Again, this is not to criticize Teeter, who is probably trying to help, but to point out yet again how most post-modern wine writing has little to do with the average consumer. It’s as if they’re writing a movie review that discusses camera angles and editing techniques instead of the plot, and then getting angry when someone asks them what the movie is about.

And what’s worse is that they call those of us — who want to write intelligently and clearly, who want to educate wine drinkers and not preach to them — a variety of not very nice names. I’m not going to link to them, because it’s not worth the aggravation and the Internet sniping that will ensue. But two prominent California wine writers have recently questioned whether people like me are competent to write about wine. Our sin? That we try to make it less intimidating and confusing, when real wine writers know wine is supposed to be intimidating and confusing. Otherwise, one of them wrote, what’s the point of learning about it?

How wonderfully self-absorbed and insensitive to the world around them they must be. Does this mean that we can’t enjoy wine unless we enjoy it exactly as they want us to? Nuts to that, and pass me some of that $10 Gascon white I like so much — the one that’s fruity.

Image courtesy of Westword.com, using a Creative Commons license

The second ultimate do-it-yourself wine review


wine reviewOne of the Wine Curmudgeon’s goals, which says a lot about my perspective, is to make wine writing unnecessary. If I do a good enough of job teaching people about wine with the book, on the blog, and in the classroom, then we won’t need the Winestream Media, its indecipherable tasting notes, its fawning over wine no one can buy, and its arrogance. After that, of course, I’ll start working on world peace.

Until then, you can write your own wine review, using the handy drop-down menus in this post. Those of you who get the blog via email or on Facebook may have to go the website — click here to do so. And, if you like this one, you can go here and complete the first ultimate do-it-yourself wine review.

This wine is

It tastes

One thing I did notice:

I think the wine would pair with

I liked the wine well enough, but

I suppose I have to give it a score, so

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