- The Underground Wine Letter - http://www.undergroundwineletter.com -


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As we approach the 2016 Academy Awards, I am offering my selection of the Stupid Wine Description Of The Year.

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After all, many wine descriptions have become as much of a fantasy land as Hollywood!

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And, at the end of this article I have a proposal for all of you that will be a lot of fun. But, first the Stupid Wine Description Of The Year which I received from a retailer with 1996 Krug for sale.

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1996 KRUG 99+ points. “Light gold. Remarkably perfumed nose projects an exotic bouquet of deep, leesy yellow fruit, minerals, honeycomb, smoked meat and flowers, with Asian spices building expanding in the glass. Almost painfully concentrated, offering a surreal parade of orchard and pit fruits, smoked meat, toasted brioche and marrow braced by intensely salty, stunningly incisive minerality. Imagine a Frankenstein’s monster of Chablis Le Clos and Clos Ste. Hune – but one with perfect balance, of course – and you get an idea of what I found in my bottle. The energetic, stony character builds exponentially on the finish, which didn’t seem to, well, finish. The best analogy I can come up with for the intensity, focus and clarity of this Champagne is liquefied barbed wire. Utterly hallucinatory and one of the most amazing wines I’ve ever been fortunate enough to drink. At the risk of sounding completely out of touch with reality, this is a value.”

This was my choice among the many that came my way last year. And, the only way I see these descriptions is accompanied by offers for wines for sale on the internet and in auction catalogs. When I began The Underground Wineletter in 1979 I stopped subscribing to any wine publications. The reason was simple. You see The Underground Wineletter came into being only because my friends and I did not find any wine publication helpful in making our wine decisions. And, as a wine publication totally focused on consumers like ourselves, I did not want to have any outside influences tainting my findings and opinions (click on the following article – from Volume 1, Number 4 over 35 years ago and reprinted when we first started the online Underground  – to read my article outlining our mission: WHY THE ”UNDERGROUND” WINELETTER? ARE WE TERRORISTS? [5]). The original philosophy has carried through to today and I see no reason to change. For information about wine, I pay attention to my wine drinking friends and people in the trade whom I know and trust. That’s it. Other than that, I am on my own.

Before I dig into the stupid description of the 1996 Krug, I have a confession to make right up front: I love Champagne, I love Krug Champagne, and I love 1996 Krug Champagne. Champagne and Krug Champagne has been a big part of my adult life for over 40 years (to read a recent article on Krug Champagne click here [6]). The Underground Wineletter was in the forefront of writing and recommending Champagne as a wine to drink with food and not just for celebrations. In fact, in our third issue December-January 1979-1980 we said CHAMPAGNE It Has No Peer And Nothing Else Deserves The Name (to read the article click here [7]). Today one room in my wine cellar is devoted almost entirely to Champagne and we drink Champagne nearly every day. In fact, our motto is “every day is a good day to drink Champagne!” So I have some skin in the game here.

And when I got this offer to purchase 1996 Krug, I was simply aghast at the description! No 1996 Krug Champagne tastes like this. In fact, no other Krug Champagne tastes like this. And, for that matter, of the zillions of bottles of Champagne that I have enjoyed over the years, no Champagne has ever tasted even remotely like this. If they did, I doubt Champagne would even exist! In fact, the worst bottles of Champagne that I have ever tasted are not nearly as bad as this description implies.

Thank goodness that this 100 point addict gave us the color, a comparison with 2 white wines, and at the beginning the name of the Champagne. Otherwise, no one would have had an idea of what he was talking about. But that actually would have been a good thing. Since, based on this description, the wine is disgusting and something I would not want even to get close to, much less drink. And, I would guess that would apply to most people with a sense of taste.

Let’s see. How can we count the ways that this description is stupid. Let’s start with “smoked meat and marrow”? Did this get mixed up with some stupid description of a red fruit bomb? And “intensely salty”? YUK! This is something we are supposed to drink not wash our feet in!! How about “liquefied barbed wire”? YIKES! “Almost painfully concentrated…” Are we into S&M here? “Utterly hallucinatory…” Is this the liquid to wash down recreational drugs? This description is stupid on nearly every count and intensifies as it goes on!

But, there is no truth here that I can see. In fact, this kind of commentary is so blatantly stupid that I cannot understand how anyone can pay attention to it. And, why would ANYONE pay money to get this information??? Can it be that maybe some people cannot read text and only count backwards from 100? But, then I thought that this was what the doctor told you to do after you had big whiff of gas to put you out? Even so, why 99+ points? I guess if the 1996 Krug Champagne threw you into convulsions, scratched off your skin, and put a ring in your nose, it would have gotten a 100! Stupid is as stupid does!!

The 1996 Krug wine description originally had the author’s name attached. I removed the name since this is not a personal commentary and only one example of the many absurd wine descriptions used by the various 100 point boys to sell wines. Click on the following articles to read many other ridiculously funny wine descriptions:




And click onto the following to read about wine writing:


So with that as a background, let’s start a little information gathering campaign. Here’s my proposal: Whenever you find a wine description that you think totally misses the mark in describing the wine send it to The Underground Wineletter at the following address john@undergroundwineletter.com  

Here are the rules:

So, lighten up. Let’s have some fun. Let the games begin!

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In Vino Veritas,Sig

John Tilson