On the always-lively wine pages forum, a member recently asked a question that began ‘I’ve been researching wine-tasting terms…’ He then asked for opinions on a piece he’d done called ‘How to Talk About Wine’ [update – the link’s gone now…].
Let’s just take our wine hats off for a moment, stand back, and take a long, hard critical look at ourselves. Now let’s rehash these phrases for other genres – ‘I’ve been researching gardening terms’ or ‘How to Talk About Cinema.’ Anyone ever seen articles on such topics? Yet many wine folk insist on using terms to which that the majority of normal people simply cannot relate. Palate. Complexity. Residual Sugar. Finish. Length. Attack. Balance. Terroir. Structure. Fruit-Driven. Etc
Does anyone talk about the complexity of a white truffle? The residual sugar in a ripe mango? The finish on a piece of Wagyu beef? No. If those of us whose job it is to get people enthusiastic about wine can’t do it in standard lingo, then we deserve to be dismissed as wine snobs or wine buffs. This doesn’t mean dumbing wine down, just introducing it to people in a manner that won’t alienate them from the start.