Languages of Taste

How do we talk about wine, and to what end? Is it to remember what we’ve tasted, or to describe our experiences to others? To give, or receive, recommendations for something that the person asking might like? To to communicate luxury or prestige, to sell a product? To evaluate quality?

Here are some (genuine) examples of language around wine being deployed to different ends. See if you can figure out which are being used for what, and think about how you use languages of taste yourself:

Class was delayed because of winter snowstorms, and held on two makeup sessions on February 11 and 13. These were the wines:

How it might look on a list
Fabien Jouves, côt, “Haut Côt(e) de Fruit”, Cahors, Sud-Ouest, France 2019

Who made it? Fabien Jouves (took over medium-sized 21 ha family estate in 2006, also purchases some fruit — he makes 22 different bottlings! There are six team full-time team members on last year’s holiday card.)
Out of what? Young vines of côt aka malbec, either purchased or leased from plots either certified organic or in conversion, in the upper slopes of Cahors, in South-West France. 
Made how? A quick seven-day whole cluster maceration in used oak cask and concrete, pressed and finished in concrete for six months, bottled early in the spring without filtration and with less than 20ppm SO2.
Key vocabulary: Juicy (although this is a bit more tannic & structured), fruit-driven, crowd-pleasing, party wine, glou glou (French onomatopoeia for “glug-glug), medium-bodied.

How it might look on a list
Leonardo Erazo, moscatel, “La Ruptura”, Itata, Chile 2019

Who made it? Leonardo Erazo Leonardo Erazo (went full-time in 2016 after working as the winemaker for Altas Las Hormigas in Mendoza — he moved them to organics — and another Itata collaboration, Rogue Vine. He’s currently planting riesling, chenin, and albariño in the coastal hills outside Coelemu).
Out of what? 175 year-old dry-farmed, bush vine moscatel on a tiny 0.3 hectare parcel of an ancient vineyard.
From where? The red granite hills of the Itata river valley, in southern Chile, birthplace of viticulture in the Americas.
Made how? A few hours of skin contact in the press, native yeast fermentation and aging in concrete vats, bottled with a coarse filtration and minimal sulfur.
Key vocabulary: Aromatic, textural, dimensional, wine of place.

How it might look on a list
Trossen, pinot noir/dornfelder, “Purpur Purus”, Mosel, Germany 2018

Who made it? Rita & Rudolph Trossen, who began farming biodynamically in 1978 and experimenting with zero-zero wines in 2010 (their philosophy, in their own words).
Out of what? Dornfelder on sandy clay with a splash of pinot noir.
From where? The plummeting slate slopes of the Mosel River, Germany.
Made how? Destemmed, fermented on the skins for about two weeks, bottled without filtration or sulfur addition.
Key vocabulary: Acid-driven, a little wild, sappy dark fruit, savory/umami, “zero-zero”, “a little acetic”, “a little brett-y”, “not mousey on day 3.”

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