CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sometimes it's laughable. Other times it makes me crazy! Please read the following description of a wine being pitched to customers by an online wine retailer. The description takes hyperbole to a new level:
"The nose is redolent of dark Bing cherries, hints of black and white pepper on meat roasting in a wood oven, memories of English plum pudding steaming at Christmas, a touch of saddle leather, warm spice and tobacco at a distance. The nose continues to build and unfold with hints of violets and Portobello mushrooms, blackberries, minerals and sweet earth. It envelops the palette, almost to the point of overwhelming, then opens up to show beautiful balance and sophistication, and an elegant, glycerol texture. Explosive on the palette, it transforms midway into every red berry you've ever tasted. The finish lingers uncovering a wisp of anise, blackberry honey, and golden pastry roasting in the oven ... Cherry Pie."
Holy obfuscation! How can you possibly learn anything about a wine with this drivel? Saddle leather? Portobello mushrooms? Explosive on the palette? Plum pudding steaming at Christmas along with hints of white and black pepper on roasting meat?
No need to have dinner with this wine. It is dinner: appetizer, main course and dessert all rolled into one!
I must admit I have, on occasion, let my enthusiasm for a good wine cause me to use overly flowery language to describe a particularly memorable bottle. But in the main, I try to use common taste and aroma descriptors to which you can easily relate.
For example, if I recommend a wine that has flavors of cherries and an aroma of cinnamon, just about everyone has had those sensory experiences, and can therefore relate to them in evaluating whether to buy the wine.
Of course, not all wine tasting experiences are positive. Just recently, I stuck my rather indelicate snout into a glass filled with wine and sniffed deeply. Mistake!