When ‘good’ isn’t good enough…

Just saw that Jamie Goode has described a Californian Sangiovese on Facebook as ‘quite good’. Actually, I got that wrong, the term he used was was ‘actually quite good’. And then when I looked for it on his blog, I found that this was very much a positive comment (it’s here if you want to take a look). It got me thinking of the nuances of English as spoken by the English. Earlier this year in Argentina, I spent an evening talking to someone about the use of the word ‘good’ in combination with other phrases as a qualitative assessment of wine. In increasing order of appreciation, the scale – now amended to include ‘actually quite good’ – runs like this:-

Quite Good
Actually Quite Good
Rather Good
Really Rather Good
Extremely Good

Did I succeed in getting the message across? Certainly I was more successful than when I tried to explain to Philippe Chavy in Meursault what a chav was. But ultimately, I have the feeling that I confused rather than enlightened my Argentina audience – and since I haven’t found much support for my Plant Pot to Yeah But No But system, it looks like it’s back to the 100 point scale for me…

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

3 thoughts on “When ‘good’ isn’t good enough…

  • Ken Sternberg

    That array of descriptors is certainly as valid as any others I know. My favorite, wich I may or may not have coined, is “It has flavor.” More often than not, this is aimed at California Chardonnays.

    Please pass me the potatoes with duck juice.

  • Simon Post author

    Hi Ken, how are the guitars? Like ‘it has flavo(u)r’ – it’s up there with other comments such as ‘this must once have been rather good’ and ‘did you achieve what you were trying to with this wine?’

  • Ben Smith

    Actually Quite Good post, Simon. The phrase ‘damning with faint praise’ could have been invented for the English.
    I watched the middle three sets of the match and then got in my car and drove home from Brighton. Fed won just as I pulled into Wimbledon. How appropriate. And boring. Can’t forgive him the jackets.