Archive for the ‘Ditch the Jargon’ Category

Jargon Buster #4 -Vinosity

Posted on: April 23rd, 2013 by Andrew No Comments

In this exercise that we are engaged in of trying to demystify the experience of drinking wine we have looked at three well-used terms that so-called wine experts are fond of when compiling tasting notes on a wine.  So far, these have been words with which we are all familiar although in this context they can appear to be meaningless without explanation. Vinosity however is a little different. It is not a word one would encounter day to day and indeed it has a specific meaning relating to wine. But what is that meaning?

I would argue that the term is quite specific, in that it refers to the basic nature of the wine. Does the wine taste like wine?  You might ask, why would it not? After all wines are all basically the same combination of fermented grape juice. But some wines fail to exhibit this property of vinosity – indeed they might taste like something else entirely.  I have had wines, admittedly from the lower end of the price spectrum,  that show little evidence of being wine at all – they are more akin to alcopops or RTD’s than they are to fine wine.   And that is the point.  I don’t really use the term whilst describing the vast majority of wines out there because it really refers to the hidden and complex qualities that make up a fine wine.

So if you come across this term on a wine list somewhere, you can be sure that the writer is trying to convey a sense of the completeness of the wine, a sense that this wine has value.  It wont tell you about the flavour, or the style, but it will indicate that it is high quality and thus worthy of a second look.

Jargon Buster #3 – Finish

Posted on: January 24th, 2013 by Andrew No Comments

It’s a truism that the wine trade tends to speak another language when discussing the flavours and attributes of wines and this gets up the noses of the sort of people that think it should all be plain English. You know – wine smells of grapes etc. Whilst I have some sympathy with this argument, we don’t after all want to alienate our customer base with hi-falutin jargon that no one else understands, but have you listened in to any conversation between two professionals in any discipline recently? Nearly every time they will be using words and phrases that mean nothing to the layman. Or you can watch the classic Two Ronnies Ironmongery sketch to get a feel for trade-based obscurantism at its best. (more…)

Wine Jargon #2 Balance

Posted on: November 15th, 2012 by Andrew No Comments

Balance is one of those things we discover very early in life as we learn to walk as an infant and then later as we become acquainted with two wheeled motion. Some of us will hone the skill in later years on a skate or surf board, or a pair of skis. So it is something with which we are intimately acquainted. Balance is also how we describe the weighing up of two differing things, whether it be ideas or solid objects, usually pictured visually as a pair of scales . But what does it mean when we use it in wine description? (more…)

Jargon Buster No 1 – Nose

Posted on: October 22nd, 2012 by Andrew No Comments

One would assume that the word “nose” would be fairly self explanatory – as plain as the nose on your face so to speak. But in wineland we are not talking about the Olfactory Organ as such but what it can detect. You might read that the “Nose” of the wine was dried fruit and crushed garlic  – an odd combination I agree and not one that crops up much but for the sake of argument lets go with it. (more…)

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