Monday, January 20, 2014

Top 10 dirty words (or phrases) for wine

When I see these words on the front label, back label, or in promotional materials or tasting notes for a wine, I immediately am skeptical:

  1. "Aged in French oak ___% new" -- if it's a Spanish or Italian wine;
  2. "Super Tuscan" -- I will not drink a f__cking Merlot (or Cab) from Tuscany (also, see #1 above), especially if the vines are taking up valuable space in the Chianti Classico zone;
  3. "Scorched earth" in tasting notes -- usually signifies a bitter, overextracted wine;
  4. Alcohol 15% or higher -- a few Zins and Grenache based wines can handle it, but not many;
  5. Chardonnays from anywhere but Burgundy;
  6. Riesling from California or Australia -- with certain exceptions.  In lower latitudes where the sun is intense, wines picked early to mimic German low alcohol levels and high acidity usually aren't phenologically ripe yet, and so just taste green;
  7. Malbec --  Most of those from Argentina are overripe, overoaked, and many have gritty tannins.  The ones from the Loire (where it's called "Cot") are lean and mean.  Those from southwest France are frequently scorchy and bitter and too tannic.  I just don't get why this crap is so popular, other than the easy-to-pronounce name, which people apparently enjoy saying;
  8. Georges Duboeuf -- industrial Beaujolais;
  9. Louis Latour reds -- do they still quasi-Pasteurize their reds?  I don't know, but they did it for so long, with flat-tasting lifeless wine the result, that I will not throw money away on these unless I'm absolutely sure they don't anymore; and
  10. "Chocolate" in the tasting notes -- this means the combination of overripe fruit and way too much new, toasty French oak.
I know I'm overgeneralizing here, and there are exceptions, but I'm just telling you how I initially react to these words.  I have limited money, so I don't usually plunk it down when these initial warning signs are present.

1 comment:

Angelo said...

Vanilla notes= oak