There is a saying in the wine world (well, actually there are lots of sayings..most of them not relevant to this post). It is said that the hard part about winemaking isn’t making wine, it’s selling wine. I have to disagree. The hard part about winemaking is writing a “wine descriptor”. You know, that pithy, informative, entertaining, useful paragraph that purports to tell you what what to expect when you put a glass of Montoliva wine to your lips. It’s not that I have a problem with writing itself. Heck, someone actually published a book I wrote on brewing back in the 20th century. Got all the words spelled right, and everything. No, it’s not the writing, it’s the “pithy, informative, entertaining, useful” part that I find exceedingly difficult. What constitutes a good description, or review, of a wine?
Is it prose? Should a good review read like a Shakespeare sonnet?
How do I taste thee? Let me count the ways.
I taste thee of the fruit, earthiness and tannin,
That I still taste, even when you are out of sight.
(with apologies to Ms. Browning)
Should it have a bit more of an objective slant?
· Harvest at exactly 4:35am, 16 Sept 2007
· Brix – 25.14159265
· TA – 8.56295
· pH – 3.49
I’ve got to be honest with you…I’m skeptical of descriptors that tell me what I am supposed to be tasting, especially when it references something that has me lunging for the dictionary. “This Sauvignon Blanc has the distinct character of an underripe Durian”. I mean, what the heck is a ‘durian’?
So, yes, I find it difficult to write those descriptors that you read when you visit the winery. I taste my wines very differently than you do. And I don’t want to TELL you what you are enjoying (it is my sincerest hope that you appreciate MV&W wines without excessive prompting). If you devolve our descriptors down, you will find that they all basically say the same thing – our wines are not “fruit bombs”, we strive to bring out the earthiness of the central and southern Italian varietals we work with, our wines tend toward being dry in the finish, and we work to make the fruit flavor “varietal” in character (whatever that may be for the given varietal). I throw in a few numbers for those who like to know that information. Mostly, though, I’m trying to write something to entice you to try the wine. I work with some pretty odd varietals. The first step towards determining if you like Aglianico, or Negroamaro, is getting it to your lips.
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