I always get a kick out of anything that forces me to imagine something completely impossible. And who says you can’t have a sense of humour when describing a wine? For instance, I’ve had wine that was stupid (and I mean STUPID) expensive that smelled exactly like fresh dog dirt on the pavement, sitting in the sun just after a rainstorm. Having a colorful way of expressing my impressions certainly makes me remember a wine much better and I’ll never forget that bottle. What wine makes you think of is (outside of basic chemical structures and the way your mind interprets them) such a subjective thing. Just like beauty, it resides entirely in the eye of the beholder.
To my mind, the height of sophistication is when you can enjoy two seemingly disparate sensations or flavors like leather and chocolate that shouldn’t exist in the same spot in your mind. And with the right combination of nature, winemaking and age this sensation is somehow possible. And, it’s bottled! How cool is that?!
“Out there” tasting notes are where poetry can play. It’s a good note as long as you, yourself, understand it. It makes you remember it, no matter how crazy it may sound to everyone else. So, as far as I’m concerned, if, for whatever reason, a wine reminds you of a fox* relaxing on some moon rocks**…you gotta go with it!
So, the next time someone says, “it’s crystalline, rigid and delicate like dragonfly wings,” don’t scoff too soon. That is the art of wine. It’s the partnership of perception and translation which can take you farther than you thought possible if you allow your imagination to take flight. Your impression of the wine is what makes it exist.
Drink well and Better.
Your friendly neighborhood Sommelier,
J Corey Evans
*Wines being described as “foxy” have some sort of earthy gamey and sharp funkiness that somehow suits the illustration. For example, Muscadine wines, native to America, are known for this.
**If you’ve got a cooling quality and chalkiness in the minerality, I could see moon rocks being used to describe it. I’ve had some great Aglianico from Taurasi that I’ve described in just such a way.
Fox on moon art by @culpeo_fox
D-fly Wine art by J Corey Evans