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Wine Words 5

This week 2 very different descriptors, one specific & one general.. both equally as delicious.  If you find yourself using them to describe a wine, the likelihood is that you’ll want more of the stuff!

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Lushness | lʌʃ ‘nəs |

Referring to pretty much everything, rich, generous & juicy.. lushness suggest a wine that coats your mouth, both with flavour & texture. An indulgent gift that keeps on giving.

Like: Black Forest gâteau

For example: “This 100% Merlot cuvee has put on weight since I tasted it last year. It reveals a beautiful, exotic, coffee bean, sweet cherry, and cassis-scented bouquet as well as superb charm, lushness, and fruit. Reminiscent of a lighter-weight Le Pin, this beauty can be drunk now or cellared for a decade. It will not make old bones.”

Robert Parker reviewing Certan Mazelle 2004

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Toast | təʊst |

Refers to a very particular taste & smell – often used & yet not always fully understood; toast the nutty & warm smell that you get from grains crisping up – gently warms the back of your palate; familiar & more’ish.

Like: Toasted seeds

For example: “Atypically opulent, flamboyant, and extravagantly rich for a 2006, this tiny garagiste operation has fashioned a gorgeously sexy 2006 boasting sweet creme de cassis notes intermixed with kirsch, coffee, and subtle smoked herb and toast characteristics in the background. Full-bodied, round, and delicious, it is impossible to resist, so enjoy it over the next 8-10 years. Great value.”

Robert Parker reviewing Croix de Labrie 2006

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  • Wine Words 4

    Now to look at 2 different kinds of descriptors, both (ironically) rather hard to describe.  The first has risen in popularity over the past decade, whilst the second might feel more resonant of times past, but most definitely translates to a very of-the-moment sensation.

     

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    Minerality | mɪnəræləti |

     

    Refers to both taste & aroma of a wine & very much a reflection of what soil the vines are planted in. Can be salty or flinty & with a lively essence, mineral wines dance on your tastebuds & feel of the earth.

     

    Like: a fresh oyster

     

    For example: “The wine exhibits an intense minerality along with a blue/purple fruit character as well as both the terroir’s and vintage’s tell-tale floral notes. More showy and denser than some recent vintages, it possesses sweet tannin, full body, and admirable richness as well as length. It will require 3-4 years of bottle age, and should drink well for two decades.”

     

    Robert Parker reviewing Beausejour Duffau 2008

     

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    Sumptuous bouquet | səmptʃwəs buke |

     

    Refers to the aroma of a wine – a smell that affects all your senses with a rich, deep & sometimes emotional resonance. This sensory overload often translates into how you will taste the wine as tastebuds have already been sufficiently tantalised.

     

    Like: the first lift of the tagine lid before serving

     

    For example: “One of the finest under-the-radar estates in Pessac-Leognan, Haut-Bergey’s 2005 (a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot) offers up aromas of scorched earth, wet stones, burning embers, charcoal, and copious black currant and cherry fruit. The sumptuous bouquet is accompanied by a full-bodied wine displaying dazzling purity, sweet tannin, and a long, opulent finish. This beauty will be drinkable at a relatively early age for a 2005. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2025.”

     

    Robert Parker reviewing Haut Bergey 2005

     

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  • Wine Words 3

    This week, 2 terms that are often banded about & can get a bit lost out of context.  They also both happen to describe tactile elements of the wine, the focus being on how it feels rather than tastes.  Although the two, of course, are inextricably linked..

     

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    Unctuosity | ˈʌŋktju’ɒsɪti |

     

    Refers to both taste & texture of the wine – a rich thickness that coats the glass & the inside of your mouth upon consumption.

     

    Like: a naughty caramel sauce

     

    For example: “There are 10,000 cases of this perfect sweet white Bordeaux. The 2001 Yquem reveals a hint of green in its light gold color. While somewhat reticent aromatically, with airing, it offers up honeyed tropical fruit, orange marmalade, pineapple, sweet creme brulee, and buttered nut-like scents. In the mouth, it is full-bodied with gorgeously refreshing acidity as well as massive concentration and unctuosity. Everything is uplifted and given laser-like focus by refreshing acidity. This large-scaled, youthful Yquem appears set to take its place among the most legendary vintages of the past, and will age effortlessly for 75+ years.”

    Robert Parker reviewing Chateau d’Yquem 2001

     

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    Attenuated mouthfeel | əˈtɛnjʊeɪtɪd maʊθ’fiːl |

     

    A wine that behaves in a thin & closed manner once in the mouth. This is often from tannins & can make for a good structure for a wine to mature around.

     

    Like: not quite ripe banana

     

    For example: “Christmas fruitcake, truffle, cured meats and sweet earth along with black currant notes make for a complex, noble bouquet. In the mouth, some of the vintage’s tell-tale angular and astringent tannins give the wine a slightly attenuated mouthfeel, but there seems to be plenty of concentration, medium to full body, and lots of minerality. My instincts are that this wine is going through a relatively closed, difficult, ungracious state, but I like its potential. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2026+.”

    Robert Parker reviewing Gaffelière 2006

     

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  • Wine Words 2

    Round 2,  time to get slightly more abstract..

     

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    Impressively endowed | ɪmˈpresɪvli ɪnˈdaʊd |

     

    Refering to a style of wine: rich, full-bodied & oozing luxury.

     

    Like: unctuous chocolate praline

     

    For example:  “This is a very strong effort from this estate, which sits just adjacent to Petrus. In fact, they sold part of their vineyard to Petrus in the early 1970s. This is a full-bodied, powerful 2006 with the oak more restrained than it normally is in a young Gazin. Copious quantities of sweet plum, fig, and black cherry fruit are intermixed with cedar and dried herbs in a medium to full-bodied, rich, long, impressively endowed style. This is an outstanding wine, with enough stuffing, structure, and density to age beautifully over a 20- to 25-year period.”

    (Robert Parker reviewing Gazin 2006)

     

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    Forest floor | ˈfɒrɪst flɔː |

     

    Earthy & alive foraging fare. So, fruit, shrubs, nuts & pinecones.

     

    Like: Mum’s best fruitcake

     

    For example: “Rauzan-Segla’s finesse-styled 2004 offers raspberry, cherry, forest floor, and dried herb-like characteristics in its deep ruby/purple-hued, medium-bodied personality. With excellent purity, freshness, and precision, it is not a blockbuster claret, but rather a stylish, elegant, accessible effort with sweet tannin. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2022.”

     

    (Robert Parker reviewing Rauzan Segla 2004)

     

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  • Wine Words 1

    Struggle with some of wine’s more ‘floral’ language? Look out for JFT’s tasting note translators in our regular ‘Wine Word’ entries.

    Kickstarting with some old favourites..

     

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    Fleshy | ˈfleʃi |

    Wine with a vivacious, lively quality that dances in your mouth with substance to back it up.

    Like: a delicious fruit crumble

    In use: “A soft, fleshy, up-front styled Pauillac that will provide delicious drinking over the next 10-15 years, the 2006 Haut-Bages Liberal is dark ruby/purple in color and exhibits notes of licorice, roasted herbs, black currants, and plums. It is a sexy, round, silky-textured wine that seems something of an “outlier” in this tannic vintage”

    (Robert Parker reviewing Haut Bages Liberal 2006)

     

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    Sweet tannins | swiːt ˈtænɪnz |

    Wine retains it’s red fruit, whilst having a clean & defined ending on the palate.

    Like: a good blackberry

    For example: “This consistently high quality estate’s 2006 exhibits aromas of cedar, black currants, black cherries, loamy soil, and background toasty oak. Medium-bodied and richly fruity with sweet tannin, it should drink well for 5-6 years. Good value.”

    (Robert Parket reviewing D’Aiguilhe 2006)

     

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