What of the tasting note? Every wine writer will contemplate the question at some stage in her career. If not out of curiosity, then perhaps when forced to defend the habit by those unconvinced. Such queries are hardly surprising and not without merit. Even at its most definitive, the tasting note is, at best, part literature, a bit scientific, mostly truthful but entirely subjective. As a result, and in so small thanks to our willingness to sprinkle them like confetti throughout wine and life in general, the tasting note has become, depending which side of the pen you are on, a talisman and a target.
My feelings are mixed. Though, I confess, some of my hesitations are mere trifles. For one, there’s the matter of flow. On the page, tasting notes create a nuggetty, crunched, bunched-up clump of words that too often disrupt the flow of a sentence, like a knot in an otherwise long and languid rope. They are hard to stitch into a sentence without leaving obvious scars, at least when sutured by an amateur. And while the poets glide you over the detail as if on a scenic and cinematic flight, too many drag the reader over them as if driving you cross country in a homemade billy cart.
This is my latest ‘Curiosities’ column for the World of Fine Wine. To continue reading it and other articles by writers including Hugh Johnson and Andrew Jefford, purchase a copy of issue 55 right here.