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(Telegraph)   Survey of 1,000 drinkers reveals professional wine reviewers are just being snobby, pompous asses when they describe wines as vegetal, leathery, chunky, nervy, or brooding. This survey has a firm skeleton, with fine old bones   (telegraph.co.uk) divider line 51
    More: Obvious, exact science, wine tasting  
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2168 clicks; posted to Geek » on 15 Apr 2013 at 12:00 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-04-15 12:05:50 AM
So people that specialize in a narrow field try to make that field, and more so themselves, sound as important as possible by complicating the jargon?

You don't say.
 
2013-04-15 12:06:19 AM
But what about the legs, Subby?
 
2013-04-15 12:15:33 AM
Never mind all of that.  Is the wine hot?
 
2013-04-15 12:26:39 AM
It's really tough to describe wine without stupid made up terms though.  You're talking about scents and impressions which means that it's totally subjective.

A lot of the terms used in that article are really stupid but if you use terms like floral, cherry, berry, earthy that can be helpful.  Words to describe bitterness, sweetness or alcohol level can get very muddy and gray.  Which is interesting because those could be described objectively.  PH, ABV, milligrams of glucose per deciliter or even tannins per deciliter could be used.
 
2013-04-15 12:27:31 AM

Summoner101: So people that specialize in a narrow field try to make that field, and more so themselves, sound as important as possible by complicating the jargon?

You don't say.


learning a new web technology?
 
2013-04-15 12:39:53 AM

Theory Of Null: Summoner101: So people that specialize in a narrow field try to make that field, and more so themselves, sound as important as possible by complicating the jargon?

You don't say.

learning a new web technology?


Elevating the breadth and depth of our peoples' appreciation and use of the layman's sarcasm, so it can one day truly become that which it aspires to be.

/It's a bit nutty
 
2013-04-15 12:43:14 AM
Since studies have repeatedly shown that professional wine experts can't tell that two wines are the same when it's put into two different bottles and they're told one bottle is much more expensive, can't tell the difference between red wine and white wine with red food coloring, and will rate cheaper wines much higher than control groups when they're told they're very expensive wines, I don't know why anyone takes so-called "experts" seriously.

Drink what you like. Enjoy your wine and your food.
 
2013-04-15 12:51:25 AM
I don't know much about wine other than that I like the ones that taste like licking a piece of slate or granite.  Dry, buttery whites are OK, but finding whites that aren't sickly sweet can be tricky if you're on a budget.  Farking marketed-to-women cheap white wine.  Ugh.

Other flavors I recognize:
Flowers (Gewurztraminer, though admittedly it's mostly the smell... but that's true with most flavor)
Wine flavored.

That's about it.  Main variation in the "wine flavored" category is just how tannic it is, and dry-vs-sweet.  Sometimes there are hints of other things, but the overriding flavor is usually "wine".
 
2013-04-15 12:54:10 AM

Mr. Eugenides: It's really tough to describe wine without stupid made up terms though.  You're talking about scents and impressions which means that it's totally subjective.

A lot of the terms used in that article are really stupid but if you use terms like floral, cherry, berry, earthy that can be helpful.  Words to describe bitterness, sweetness or alcohol level can get very muddy and gray.  Which is interesting because those could be described objectively.  PH, ABV, milligrams of glucose per deciliter or even tannins per deciliter could be used.


Thats the thing, a lot of the silly descriptors are ways of describing specific flavor compounds without resorting to a gas chromatograph.

www.chaikenvineyards.com
 
2013-04-15 01:12:49 AM
Let's debase all forms of criticism, so that only corporate marketing departments will tell us what to feel and think. They write the best news copy anyhow! And now that the internet has search engines that will direct us to their opinions when we search for stuff, critics are just going to be ignored anyhow.
 
kab
2013-04-15 01:13:51 AM
I think reviewers get odd with wording simply because they're trying to not repeat themselves too much while judging the 380 different cabernets they're going to cover, for example.
 
2013-04-15 01:16:18 AM

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: Since studies have repeatedly shown that professional wine experts can't tell that two wines are the same when it's put into two different bottles and they're told one bottle is much more expensive, can't tell the difference between red wine and white wine with red food coloring, and will rate cheaper wines much higher than control groups when they're told they're very expensive wines, I don't know why anyone takes so-called "experts" seriously.

Drink what you like. Enjoy your wine and your food.


THIS.  There is no bad wine.  If you like it, it's good wine.


Nearly two thirds of respondents also said they never get the same smells from wine as those which are suggested from the wine label.

Honestly, I'm convinced alot of it is nothing more than affectation.  I buy based on recommendations from people who share or are familiar with my tastes.  I rarely buy based on a label description.
 
2013-04-15 01:43:26 AM

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: Since studies have repeatedly shown that professional wine experts can't tell that two wines are the same when it's put into two different bottles and they're told one bottle is much more expensive, can't tell the difference between red wine and white wine with red food coloring, and will rate cheaper wines much higher than control groups when they're told they're very expensive wines, I don't know why anyone takes so-called "experts" seriously.

Drink what you like. Enjoy your wine and your food.


Gato Negro Merlot. Five bucks a bottle. Not the best ever but awesome for its price.
 
2013-04-15 01:47:27 AM
I dunno, red wine described as peppery or having berry flavours is pretty dead on.
 
2013-04-15 02:10:46 AM
As a facebook friend of several noisy sommeliers who don't know what a good wine is even when they get to drink it, I'm getting a kick out of this headline.
 
2013-04-15 02:22:01 AM

picturescrazy: Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: Since studies have repeatedly shown that professional wine experts can't tell that two wines are the same when it's put into two different bottles and they're told one bottle is much more expensive, can't tell the difference between red wine and white wine with red food coloring, and will rate cheaper wines much higher than control groups when they're told they're very expensive wines, I don't know why anyone takes so-called "experts" seriously.

Drink what you like. Enjoy your wine and your food.

Gato Negro Merlot. Five bucks a bottle. Not the best ever but awesome for its price.


Bandit wines.  shiat comes in a box and tastes good.
 
2013-04-15 02:49:33 AM
The jargon is bad for tasters, but professional wine qc are hired (usually for life) because they have hyper olfactory sensation that allows them to distinguish whether there is a difference between a sample of wine and another. They don't qualify their experience as "good wine" or "bad wine", and they lack the vocabulary to describe the wine objectively, but they can tell whether the sample is the desired product.

This is common with people who have anxiety disorders and this ability is especially common among those with bipolar disorders. There are other physiological disorders that allow this, too, though. For example, after a series of fungal and bacterial infections affecting most aspects of ENT regions, I began to smell in colors. I can accurately break down constituent ingredients in mixed solutions as a result. I literally see spectrums of colors when I inhale, even to the point I comprehend the relative amounts of colors... thus the relative amounts of associated ingredients.

Then several infections became systemic, affecting lungs, and digestive system as well. From that I could detect odors from chemicals because they produce the same physiological effect I experienced when I was exposed to them during the infection (gagging, sweating, gasping, choking, pain, blurry vision, etc. etc.), and thus I can identify the presence of chemicals most people cannot.

The impact this has had on my life is tremendous and not good for me. But it's there. And it's a medical problem common enough that there are drugs to treat the disorder.

I can't say this means people like me can say whether wine/beer/scotch/coffee/flowers/younameit is good or bad. I can say that we can tell you whether it has a certain property, just by sniffing it. That is why your favorite wine from your favorite region consistently matches your preferred flavor and drinkability.

Look it up.
 
2013-04-15 03:00:38 AM
I took a sip of some unknown wine in the fridge yesterday, and thought, "Jesus, what crap! Ridiculously sweet, one note, almost like a wine cooler. This is wine for idiots with no sophistication." I then poured myself a big, tall glass of it.
 
2013-04-15 03:13:28 AM
I dunno, I feel like I can definitely tell a five dollar bottle from a thirty dollar bottle.   Higher than that and I'm probably way in over my head.
 
2013-04-15 03:26:59 AM

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich:  can't tell the difference between red wine and white wine with red food coloring


I'm calling this statement a load of bollocks. White wine is an abomination of all that is good with the grape and I personally can detect its taint at 50 paces. Food colouring has zero chance of hiding its foul stench or acrid flavour...

OT: Try enough variation and you'll eventually find something you enjoy. That's a great wine. Price, origin and marketing have little to do with it, although there is every indication that pricing drives expectation which affects the experience.
 
2013-04-15 03:27:04 AM
I have a cousin who is a master sommelier (I think that's his title).  He gets paid like a hundred grand or more per year to taste wines and make pairings.  If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't get this stuff.  I still can't perceive the really fine differences.  But I love a good flinty red, and just tonight I was sampling a dry, grassy semi-sweet white with undertones of pear, kiwi, and weeping willow.

/I wish I was kidding
 
2013-04-15 03:35:04 AM
Many years ago, a BBC show called "Food And Drink" was somewhat famous for the bizarre things its wine critics, Jilly Goolden and Oz Clarke, said they could smell in the wines they tried. "Mmm, I'm getting car tyres, with a hint of dead leaves - but there's a definite underlying aroma of compost heap..."* To this day, I'm not sure to what extent they were taking the piss.

*No, seriously, they actually referenced those specific things. More than once.
 
2013-04-15 03:38:37 AM
Those terms often are useful- they're sometimes a bit excessively poetic, not just simple descriptors, but "fine old bones" suggests to me a well structured wine with a good backbone- think one strong dry note that lasts through the entire sip as other flavors develop and fade, with dusty notes. You could describe it as dusty and structured, but when the wine writer gets bored with that, the imagery of a skeleton works to convey much the same thing.

fallingcow: but finding whites that aren't sickly sweet can be tricky if you're on a budget.


Goddamnitsomuch, this. I had a bottle the other day that was labeled a pinot grigio (usually fairly dry) that tasted like a farking riesling, and not a good one. It was $4 (sale from $6.50), so I wasn't expecting too much, but is it too much to ask that you use the right grape? Fortunately, there are plenty of decent cheap reds floating around the market, and I tend to prefer reds anyway. I'm actually really bad about that- I'll go into a store looking for a bottle of some throwaway white, and walk out with two bottles of heavy red.

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: studies have repeatedly shown that professional wine experts can't tell that two wines are the same when it's put into two different bottles and they're told one bottle is much more expensive


The only one I've seen with that tested a bunch of idiots off the street who had barely ever had wine before.

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: can't tell the difference between red wine and white wine with red food coloring


I'll have some of what you're smoking. Though with the sensory perception you seem to have, the stuff you think is pot is probably weeds that were grown next to a slag heap.
 
2013-04-15 03:47:35 AM

HotWingAgenda: I have a cousin who is a master sommelier (I think that's his title).  He gets paid like a hundred grand or more per year to taste wines and make pairings.  If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't get this stuff.  I still can't perceive the really fine differences.  But I love a good flinty red, and just tonight I was sampling a dry, grassy semi-sweet white with undertones of pear, kiwi, and weeping willow.

/I wish I was kidding


My parents know a prominent wine critic, and he got them into good wine. They in turn, trained my siblings and I. We were raised on good wine- they've only gotten into the really nice stuff since we've all left the house, but we still get it when we visit. I've very much gotten to the point where I can pick out a lot of those little things, and where wine descriptions are useful to me.


As an aside, knowing good wine is not a good thing when you're on a budget. It is a dangerous and depressing thing, though not quite as bad as knowing good whiskey.
 
2013-04-15 04:27:56 AM
Ive often thought the same thing of people who review premium cigars. Ive had some top notch cigars (90+rated) and never tasted things like earth, leather, toasted wood, etc.
 
2013-04-15 04:35:04 AM
Will the science extend soon to include film and movie critics?

/Ebert gasps, yells 'not an art form!'
 
2013-04-15 04:46:59 AM
At a party, a local wine snob was being a pompous ass, until someone gave him a glass and asked his opinion. The snob took a sip and spit the liquid out violently.
"My God, this is piss!" he choked.
"Very good," said the other approvingly. "Whose?"
 
2013-04-15 04:47:39 AM
It would be better to get some synaesthetes and have them review things.

"This sauvingnon blanc tastes like yellow squares with a spackling of lime foam and zaggy sky blue lines. And trumpet noises."
 
2013-04-15 04:49:46 AM

Sultan Of Herf: Ive often thought the same thing of people who review premium cigars. Ive had some top notch cigars (90+rated) and never tasted things like earth, leather, toasted wood, etc.


What about pot? You ever smoked pot that tasted like cat piss?
 
2013-04-15 04:50:38 AM
brooding a hauntingly wet stone next to spring hedgerows above a firm skeleton.
 
2013-04-15 04:53:06 AM

Maul555: brooding a hauntingly wet stone next to spring hedgerows above a firm skeleton.


Sprinkled with albino hedgehogs.
 
2013-04-15 05:23:18 AM

Sultan Of Herf: Ive often thought the same thing of people who review premium cigars. Ive had some top notch cigars (90+rated) and never tasted things like earth, leather, toasted wood, etc.


Those are the only things I can smell/taste from a cigar.  Granted, I've only smoked 2 in my life.
 
2013-04-15 06:07:48 AM
So I'm probably out of luck looking for "Tastes exactly like Welch's concord grape juice but will get you hammered?" as an official review?

/doesnt drink wine
 
2013-04-15 06:17:29 AM
sp4.fotolog.com

Vegtabl, son, it's spelled vegtabl.
 
2013-04-15 06:42:31 AM
Several of my friends have become Wino's in the pretentiousness way.


Wine is a cult.
 
2013-04-15 08:23:17 AM
Wine is just vinegar that hasn't finished yet.
 
2013-04-15 08:46:50 AM

nulluspixiusdemonica: I'm calling this statement a load of bollocks. White wine is an abomination of all that is good with the grape and I personally can detect its taint at 50 paces. Food colouring has zero chance of hiding its foul stench or acrid flavour...


Or you could just do a google search:

In 2001, Frederic Brochet, of the University of Bordeaux, conducted two separate and very mischievous experiments. In the first test, Brochet invited 57 wine experts and asked them to give their impressions of what looked like two glasses of red and white wine. The wines were actually the same white wine, one of which had been tinted red with food coloring. But that didn't stop the experts from describing the "red" wine in language typically used to describe red wines. One expert praised its "jamminess," while another enjoyed its "crushed red fruit." Not a single one noticed it was actually a white wine.
 
2013-04-15 08:47:59 AM
But surely the ultra beer snobs can tell apart their brews and it's not mostly about marketing or the pepsi paradox is it?

I don't know what the ratio is, but a large portion of our tastes are purely a result from expectations and marketing.  That's why Stella is a "premium" beer here in the US, while Pabst is a super premium beer in China.  If you give a person two drinks or two slices of cake, serve one in a fancy container and give it a fancy name, most poeple will always say the "fancy" one is better.

This is a major issue I have with all sorts of beverages.  People should focus more on what they like, rather than what they are told is good.  You prefer a huge Cab that tastes like you are chewing on a piece of oak or a zin that reeks of black liqourice? Great!  That means you aren't driving up the prices of the nice clean Pinots or sparklers that I prefer. Cheers!

xkillyourfacex: The jargon is bad for tasters, but professional wine qc are hired (usually for life) because they have hyper olfactory sensation that allows them to distinguish whether there is a difference between a sample of wine and another. They don't qualify their experience as "good wine" or "bad wine", and they lack the vocabulary to describe the wine objectively, but they can tell whether the sample is the desired product.

This is common with people who have anxiety disorders and this ability is especially common among those with bipolar disorders. There are other physiological disorders that allow this, too, though. For example, after a series of fungal and bacterial infections affecting most aspects of ENT regions, I began to smell in colors. I can accurately break down constituent ingredients in mixed solutions as a result. I literally see spectrums of colors when I inhale, even to the point I comprehend the relative amounts of colors... thus the relative amounts of associated ingredients.

Then several infections became systemic, affecting lungs, and digestive system as well. From that I could detect odors from chemicals because they produce the same physiological effect I experienced when I was exposed to them during the infection (gagging, sweating, gasping, choking, pain, blurry vision, etc. etc.), and thus I can identify the presence of chemicals most people cannot.

The impact this has had on my life is tremendous and not good for me. But it's there. And it's a medical problem common enough that there are drugs to treat the disorder.

I can't say this means people like me can say whether wine/beer/scotch/coffee/flowers/younameit is good or bad. I can say that we can tell you whether it has a certain property, just by sniffing it. That is why your favorite wine from your favorite region consistently matches your preferred flavor and drinkability.

Look it up.



A lot of the professional wine grading is pure bull plop. As you mentioned there are a small number of people who can taste very specific notes and flavor compounds in a beverage (super tasters). That's why those folks are frequenly paid big bucks to taste coffee or smell perfume for a living.  The major issue I see is that if a super taster is telling me that he likes Wine X over Wine Y, odds are my taste buds won't agree. If the tasting notes say "contains a hint of flowers, peat, and caramel" then my brain is going to work it's ass off trying to detect those tastes.

I don't think I'm quite a super taster, maybe a super taster light as I do a much better job at detecting flavors in foods or beverages than almost anyone I know, but even I can't detect half the flavors that are claimed to be in many wines.
 
2013-04-15 08:52:22 AM
www.thestylecounsellor.com

"leathery", "old bones", and heavy amount of "brooding". Overall, it will leave a "haunting" aftertaste.
 
2013-04-15 08:56:27 AM
While wine snobs can be the most objectionable of all foodies, there is something to the various
characterizations that wine tasters use.  My wife and I once took a wine tasting course (and naturally
that makes me an expert), and I came to the conclusion that most wines taste to me like either plant
life or wood.

Except reisling.  I love me some good sweet reisling.
 
2013-04-15 08:59:59 AM
stay with vodka and gin drinks.   better tasting and far fewer congeners.  google it.
 
2013-04-15 09:00:02 AM

Theory Of Null: Sultan Of Herf: Ive often thought the same thing of people who review premium cigars. Ive had some top notch cigars (90+rated) and never tasted things like earth, leather, toasted wood, etc.

What about pot? You ever smoked pot that tasted like cat piss?


That reminds me of a term used to describe hops aroma: "catty." Guess what it means?

/smells like a cedar tree.
 
2013-04-15 09:05:23 AM

cptjeff: The only one I've seen with that tested a bunch of idiots off the street who had barely ever had wine before.

I'll have some of what you're smoking. Though with the sensory perception you seem to have, the stuff you think is pot is probably weeds that were grown next to a slag heap.


So, because you haven't seen it, it doesn't exist?

Also, I do have pretty good sensory perception. I can, for example, taste an Indian curry and pretty accurately say what spices went into it, as long as the over-riding flavor isn't "oh my god, the burning."
 
2013-04-15 10:10:38 AM

Sudo_Make_Me_A_Sandwich: nulluspixiusdemonica: I'm calling this statement a load of bollocks. White wine is an abomination of all that is good with the grape and I personally can detect its taint at 50 paces. Food colouring has zero chance of hiding its foul stench or acrid flavour...

Or you could just do a google search:

In 2001, Frederic Brochet, of the University of Bordeaux, conducted two separate and very mischievous experiments. In the first test, Brochet invited 57 wine experts and asked them to give their impressions of what looked like two glasses of red and white wine. The wines were actually the same white wine, one of which had been tinted red with food coloring. But that didn't stop the experts from describing the "red" wine in language typically used to describe red wines. One expert praised its "jamminess," while another enjoyed its "crushed red fruit." Not a single one noticed it was actually a white wine.


Im curious as to what the fark white wine they used that was tannic enough that there was any confusion. Most whites and most reds should be instantly recognizable as at least a red or a white on that alone. And thats not even a taste thing, thats a "this one dries the fark out of my mouth like black tea, this one doesnt", id think people who know anything about wine would be able to do that with a clothespin on their nose.
 
2013-04-15 10:16:30 AM

HotWingAgenda: I have a cousin who is a master sommelier (I think that's his title).  He gets paid like a hundred grand or more per year to taste wines and make pairings.  If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't get this stuff.  I still can't perceive the really fine differences.  But I love a good flinty red, and just tonight I was sampling a dry, grassy semi-sweet white with undertones of pear, kiwi, and weeping willow.

/I wish I was kidding


What the heck does weeping willow taste like?  I was on board until you got there. ;)

cptjeff: HotWingAgenda: I have a cousin who is a master sommelier (I think that's his title). He gets paid like a hundred grand or more per year to taste wines and make pairings. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't get this stuff. I still can't perceive the really fine differences. But I love a good flinty red, and just tonight I was sampling a dry, grassy semi-sweet white with undertones of pear, kiwi, and weeping willow.

/I wish I was kidding

My parents know a prominent wine critic, and he got them into good wine. They in turn, trained my siblings and I. We were raised on good wine- they've only gotten into the really nice stuff since we've all left the house, but we still get it when we visit. I've very much gotten to the point where I can pick out a lot of those little things, and where wine descriptions are useful to me.


As an aside, knowing good wine is not a good thing when you're on a budget. It is a dangerous and depressing thing, though not quite as bad as knowing good whiskey.


I have seen my genuine taste in really good (typically more expensive) wine increase dramatically over the past few years (so has my income but sadly not as fast). Notably after a few trips to CA and Euro wine areas. Thank god I can still find some good 10-$15 bottles that we enjoy. We will pickup expensive stuff for special occaisons and they are usually better, but the taste does not increase as fast as price.

For me, tasting notes are much more useful when they mention a flavor I don't like. "blah blah black licorice...heavy oak" = pass. "blah blah fruity, jammy, creamy etc." = ok I'll give it a shot.
 
2013-04-15 10:27:22 AM

impaler: Theory Of Null: Sultan Of Herf: Ive often thought the same thing of people who review premium cigars. Ive had some top notch cigars (90+rated) and never tasted things like earth, leather, toasted wood, etc.

What about pot? You ever smoked pot that tasted like cat piss?

That reminds me of a term used to describe hops aroma: "catty." Guess what it means?


3-mercaptohexanol?  3-methyl-3-mercaptobutyl?  3-methyl-3-mercaptobutyl formate?    WHICH ONE DOES IT MEAN??

/uber beer geek
 
2013-04-15 10:38:32 AM
I don't know wines, but I know that Fonseca Bin No 27 Porto (real Portuguese Port wine) tastes like purple velvet looks.

/I like Port.
 
2013-04-15 12:17:11 PM

Cyno01: Im curious as to what the fark white wine they used that was tannic enough that there was any confusion. Most whites and most reds should be instantly recognizable as at least a red or a white on that alone. And thats not even a taste thing, thats a "this one dries the fark out of my mouth like black tea, this one doesnt", id think people who know anything about wine would be able to do that with a clothespin on their nose.


If I had to bet, I'd probably bet that the same experts could identify the wines as red or white in a blind tasting. I think the results are more that expectations drive perception so much that they fail to recognize something very basic. And wine is very much about expectations.
 
2013-04-15 12:21:06 PM
Wine has many subtle and less subtle flavours, and it is enjoyable to detail them, in your mind, when trying a new wine.

That said, fark wine snobbery, there isn't enough depth to wine to deserve the level of corksucking it gets today.
 
2013-04-15 03:16:23 PM
chocolate
tobacco


two terms I've heard used to describe red wines.  I have a sensitive palate, but I don't drink near enough wine to pick those up in a wine.

/beer or whiskey, on the other hand...
 
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