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STUPID WINE DESCRIPTIONS

John Tilson • 1/11/20        Print This Post Print This PostComment Bookmark and Share

IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN!

 

 

STUPID WINE DESCRIPTIONS

For the last 5 years I have published my list of the most stupid wine descriptions from the past year. The list is a compilation of what I think are the most stupid wine descriptions published by some of the 100 point wine writers. And, hard to believe, but these wine descriptions are written by these 100 point wine writers who are describing actual wines. So take a look and see if you think the description of the wine matches the actual wine or, for that matter, any wine that you have ever tasted. For me, the answer is a resounding NO!  Therefore, I believe that these descriptions are prima facie evidence that many wine descriptions do not matter when using a 100 point system. After all, who would buy or drink any wine based on these descriptions? That only leaves the points as the basis for buying. And, sadly, for many people, wine is all about points. But, for the rest of us, we can get some laughs out of some of the descriptions! And we can drink the wines we like and like what we drink (click here to read my article on that subject).

Stupid Wine Description Winners From 2019

This year I have four stupid wine descriptions of the year from 2019. Quite frankly I spent almost no time finding these so I am sure there are many more out there for anyone who wants to look. And, just as an aside no one took me up on my offer last year to send in stupid wine descriptions. Maybe it is just as I have thought. No one actually reads them. The number is all that matters to the people with number addiction. But I continue to find the descriptions to be so absurd as to be funny. So here’s to having a few good laughs! And, once again, if any of you have candidates for stupid wine description of the year please send them in. More ammo is always a good thing!

The first two stupid wine descriptions are from 2 different 100 point wine writers describing the same Spanish red wine. The second two are also from 2 different 100 point wine writers (one is the same who described one of the Spanish red wines and in my opinion is one of the worst in the 100 point group) describing the same Italian red wine. Stupid is as stupid does! Take a look!!

 Spanish Red Wine

Dried cherries, cedar, sandalwood, tar, treacle tart, cinnamon and vanilla. Medium body, fine-grained and very silky tannins for a wine of almost 10 years of age, bright and transparent acidity and a long, very spicy finish. Like going back in time and touching an ornate tapestry. The texture is mesmerizing. 96 points 

Wow! Just what I want in drinking a wine is to go back in time and touch an ornate tapestry. That must be a thrill on a hill! And as an added bonus there is a mesmerizing texture whatever than is. But what does the wine taste like? No mention of that. I guess that is what happens to you when you get mesmerized and start stroking ornate tapestries!

…The wine is expressive, aromatic, very elegant and clean, with classical aromas of long aging in barrel and slow oxidation through the years in wood. The palate is polished and sleek but shows plenty of energy, with very fine, mostly resolved tannins and very good harmony and persistence. There is great complexity, and you could start smelling spice and smoke to move to earthy tones, hints of beef blood, cherries in liqueur, curry, diesel, old furniture and forest floor. 95 points.     

It was aged in barrel (duh!) and the palate is polished(?). And how about that complexity? – Beef blood, cherries in liquer, curry, diesel, old furniture and forest floor. YIKES! How disgusting!! Beef blood with your cherries in liquer and curry? How about some diesel? That is really special and should light your fire. And old furniture on top of everything! What is that? Is that where the wax comes in to polish the palate? Or maybe the furniture came from the forest floor! How absolutely enticing!

 Italian Red Wine

The nose is decadent but not overdone with plum liqueur, Christmas cake, cedar, Chinese spices, licorice, tea leaves, tar and hot stones. Full and very dense with mouth-coating tannins but also attractive fresh fruit, pretty acidity and a long finish. Rather chewy and needs time…. 95 points

First there is the decadent nose. Of course, it is not overdone. After all with tar and hot stones you pretty much have it all. And “hot stones”? What do they smell like? I surely do not know and do not care. After all if you get too close you will burn your nose. And that might also be a match for the tar giving you a double whammy!

…benefits from the concentration and complexity you get with old vines. The wine wraps thickly over the palate, imparting luscious aromas of dried cherry, exotic spice, pressed rose and scorched earth along the way. This is a wine for the cellar. The bouquet has a lot to give, but this will require some extra time. All the elements are there for an excellent aging future. 95 points

So here you start with old vines concentration and complexity. But, after that? The wine wraps thickly on the palate and that somehow manages to transfer into your nose with some good stuff mixed up with scorched earth. Yikes! That must really wipe out your nose! But, what about the taste? Seems like that the taste doesn’t matter. At least it is not mentioned. And with all these aromas the bouquet will require extra time. For what? More scorched earth to really put you in orbit?

So after reading these four wine descriptions the wines are absolutely nothing like the descriptions. So it must be easy to write these descriptions. There may even be no need to taste the wine. So perhaps we can say that this is just Hollywood?

But, despite that there is nothing in common with these descriptions (except how they have nothing to do with how the wine actually smells or tastes), isn’t it curious that the same wines have nearly identical number scores from the different writers – 96 and 95 for the Spanish Red Wine and 95 and 95 for the Italian Red Wine.  So we can add curious is as curious does! Hmmm…!!!  It looks like we have a new project for the great detective Sherlock Holmes to investigate!!!

And, while you are waiting for Sherlock to check in, if you would like to read the earlier stupid wine description articles to see how the trend is continuing just click on the following articles:

2018 STUPID WINE DESCRIPTION WINNERS

2017 STUPID WINE DESCRIPTION WINNERS

2016 STUPID WINE DESCRIPTION AWARD WINNERS AND MORE

2016 STUPID WINE DESCRIPTION OF THE YEAR

 

 

POSTSCRIPT

And if you would like to read more articles on the subject of wine descriptions that preceded the Stupid Wine Description articles along with the announcement of rules for submitting articles take a look below. I encourage all of you to send in your candidates for Stupid Wine Description of the Year. As I have said, the more ammo, the better!

BIRDS OF A FEATHER…

THE BIRDS ARE STILL FLOCKING – WATCH OUT BELOW!

BIRDS OF A FEATHER – LAUGHABLE WINE DESCRIPTIONS

And click onto the following to read about wine writing:

WINE WRITING – WHAT IS IT?

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:

  • You must send the description in its entirety and also send the source of the description, the date, the author, and how you received it (as a subscriber, through an offer to sell wine, from an auction catalog, etc.).
  • Following The Underground policy, the author’s name will not be used nor will the name of the person who submits the description unless requested.
  • As the year progresses I will publish the most bizarre and extreme examples (aka “Stupid”) as “Reader Choices”. And, at the beginning of next year, the winner will be announced.

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

let the games begin
In Vino Veritas,
John Tilson

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    Years ago, while visiting my son in Oakland, Ca., we stopped at a wine/liquor shop and I saw a wine rated “94 points” with thew following description (in part) “Tastes of road tar and pencil shavings (???) I wish I’d taken a photo of the complete description, but it was well before smart phones.

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    […] Good old winespeak: John Tilson at the Underground Wine Letter presents his annual list of the most stupid wine descriptions of the past year. As always, he […]

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