- Food and Cooking
Wine Is For Fun, Fun, Fun
Everything To Do With Wine Is Fun
Wine is one of those extraordinary subjects that can be taken so seriously by a few rare 'so-called' wine snobs, or very lightly indeed by the rest of us.
Having been a wine professional for so long I have seen both sides. One thing I always noticed about the snobbish approach - which tends to raise its head during wine tasting events - is a sort of one-upmanship attitude. That is "I know how to taste this wine properly, and describe it using every adjective under the sun, but you don't!"
There is no need for arrogance and pretentiousness, wine is only the liquid of a squeezed fruit! Have fun planting the vines, have fun harvesting the grapes, and most of all have fun drinking the wine. Don't take anything seriously, and you will enjoy it very much more.
Earthy, Flabby, Musty, Nutty...
...Yes, funnily enough, we're talking about wine?
I'm sure you're all aware of the many weird and wonderful descriptions on how a wine tastes on reading the back label of a bottle. The descriptive adjective is an important way that winemakers are able to relay information about 'their' wine to us, the consumers. What we read, or are told, may be at odds to what we experience ourselves when we actually taste the wine - tasting is totally subjective.
As a winemaker myself, I have spent countless hours tasting wines (lucky you, many say) and trying to analyse the flavours for descriptive purposes. It gets harder the longer you take, as your palate becomes tired and your judgement blurred, even if you are spitting out the wine as you go! But, the whole point is to get as much information together about the structure and character of the wine, so that the consumer has all the necessary information in front of them as they try to choose their wine.
Examples of wine tasting notes:
- "Bright with fruit and supple in texture, this harmonious white has a generous dose of peach and pear flavors and a hint of honey on the finish."
- "Clean and fresh on the nose with hints of apples and pears."
- "Tight marmalade and apricot nose which is complex but a touch closed. Great concentration on the palate which is rich with a fat texture: lovely plump apricot and lemon fruit."
- "Bold, ripe, and creamy, a real mouthful of Chardonnay. Its layers of ripe pear, fig and honey flavors are all framed by toasty oak. A complex and beautifully crafted wine, with a rich butterscotch aftertaste that still has all those gorgeous flavors chiming in."
Next time you are tasting a wine, have fun and try to decipher all those weird flavours and give them an adjective. This is a great way to learn how to taste wine properly - and increase your enjoyment of wine. The link below is a really great place to start.
Examples of some wine descriptive terms:
- Oaky - is one of the most widely used of all wine tasting terms. It describes a wine with noticeable oak aromas and flavors. Generally, oak imparts a woody aroma and flavor, but can also add others as well depending on how charred the oak barrels were. A light charring can impart gentle contributions of vanilla and toast while heavily charred barrels give a roasted coffee, chocolate and even burnt toast flavor.
- Earthy - grape wines grow in dirt (and stones and rocks, etc.). So, it's not surprising that some wines have aromas or flavors resembling earth and are described as earthy. This is not a bad thing. This can often be a very nice complexity that compliments the fruit aromas and flavors in a wine.
- Flabby - A wine that lacks structure, especially acid and tannin, to stand up to its other components can be described as flabby. It feels flat and without intensity and can even seem syrupy.
- Musty - a damp, mouldy aroma, often associated with TCA (a corked wine) or a wine made from poor quality grapes.
- Spicy - generally describes something which is hot in food, however, in wine it describes a wine with aromas or flavors of spices such as cinnamon, clove, pepper, or nutmeg.
- Nutty - This character is found in mature white Burgundy and Amontillado.
- Buttery - describes the sensation found in some white wines, particularly Chardonnay.
"Men are like wine - some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age."
Pope John XXIII
Funny Wine Quotes
Memorable and meaningful!
- "What is the definition of a good wine? It should start and end with a smile." - William Sokolin
- "Wine is bottled poetry." - Robert Louis Stevenson
- "Wine gives courage and makes men more apt for passion." - Ovid
- "The vine bears three kinds of grapes: the first of pleasure, the second of intoxication, the third of disgust." - Diogenes
- "This is one of the disadvantages of wine; it makes a man mistake words for thoughts." - Samuel Johnson
- "Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used." - William Shakespeare
- "Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy." - Benjamin Franklin
- "Making good wine is a skill; making fine wine is an art" - Robert Mondavi
- "For when the wine is in, the wit is out. " - Thomas Beccon
- "Life is too short to drink bad wine." - Anonymous
Funny Wine Stuff
by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)
Go, little book, and wish to all
Flowers in the garden, meat in the hall,
A bin of wine, a spice of wit,
A house with lawns enclosing it,
A living river by the door,
A nightingale in the sycamore!
French Drinking Song - by Pierre Motin
Image with thanks to © Judy Wise
Bacchus we thank who gave us wine
Which warms the blood within our veins;
That nectar is itself divine.
The man who drinks not, yet attains
By godly grace to human rank
Would be an angel if he drank.
Fun Wine Drinker Or Serious Wine Buff?
It's interesting to know whether our drinking habits towards wine have changed in relation to our awareness over time.
Do you drink more wine now than say 10 years ago?
A Few Wine Sayings... - ...often speak the truth
Lost in Paradise
Good wine ruins the purse; bad wine ruins the stomach
~ Spanish saying
The best use of bad wine is to drive away poor relations.
~ French proverb
He who loves not wine, women and song remains a fool his whole life long.
~ Martin Luther, 1777
Wine is the most healthful and most hygienic of beverages.
~ Louis Pasteur
Be careful to trust a person who does not like wine.
~ Karl Marx
Fun Wine Labels
Don't you think that having an amusing wine label will help to sell the wine? I certainly do.
Marilyn Wines have taken the design of the wine label to an extreme, and boy, how successful it is. It would be cynical for me to say that it doesn't matter how good the wine is, when you have an image of Marilyn Monroe adorning the outside of the bottle, but it could be true. On the other hand, if you taste a bad wine no matter what is on the label, you will not come back for more.
Wineries can spend thousands of dollars on label and image design alone, and this is money really well spent. I'm sure you are like many other buyers when you visit your local wine store, and spend more time looking at the label design - even unconsciously - rather than the wine or varietal names. We all like what is pleasing to the eye!
Zis Fat Bastard
This southern French chardonnay became a massive seller in the US.
Its unforgettable name came about when Guy Anderson, was visiting Thierry Boudinard, a French wine maker. They intended to launch a new brand, but they had yet to find a suitable wine or a name for it. They tasted through the wines available, then Thierry, who was just back from making wine in Australia, came across a particularly good chardonnay. Using his newly extended vocabulary, he turned to Guy and said "Taste zis fat bastard."
Oddbins, one of Britains more innovative wine merchants employed cartoonist Ralph Steadman to illustrate the label from this Bonny Doon Zinfandel.
Scraping the Barrel
The UK importers of this Spanish Tempranillo certainly did not scrape the barrel for this highly drinkable red wine. Their no nonsense back label tells the consumer that it can be drunk with chips and gravy.
"What is better than to sit at the end of the day and drink wine with friends, or substitutes for friends!"— James Joyce
Wine Humor - Have a laugh with some liquid assistance!
Beer is made by men,
wine by God!
How to Drink Wine - Tour of a few vineyards of North Carolina
"A mind of the caliber of mine cannot derive its nutriment from cows."— George Bernard Shaw