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Jun 24, 2011 12:11 PM

Weirdest Tasting Notes in Wine Reviews

Sorry if a similar thread exists, I searched and didn't see one, so..... I read a review yesterday of a California pinot in which the reviewer (besides the usual berries, etc.) described notes of "gun metal" "rubber tires" and "creme brulee". Yikes! Anybody have other strange ones?

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  1. I once saw "lead pencil" as a description of a wine at a festival.

    4 Replies
    1. re: raclette

      I saw that once, too. The last thing I want to be reminded of when I'm sipping wine is chewing my pencil in frustration during SAT's!

      1. re: raclette

        Nothing weird here. "Lead pencil" is a very common descriptor, particularly applicable to red Bordeaux, and specifically the commune of Pauillac.

        1. re: raclette

          The pencil aroma comes from the incense cedar wood that's used. And the EPA would throw a hissy fit if the pencils contained real lead.

        2. I have lost it over time, but back before there was an Internet, someone posted some great tasting notes on (Usenet), on a red Burgundy. He/she went into wonderful detail such as "essence of the felt in the case of a Stradivarius violin case," "reminds me of the sharp keys on a well-tuned Steinway - only the sharp keys!" I rolled for an hour, as they went on, and on. I feel that the poster's tongue was very firmly in their cheek, but it was great reading, none the less.


          2 Replies
          1. re: Bill Hunt

            OT, but Bill.............. is still alive in any form. I used to post there too................ not really all that long ago.

            1. re: Midlife

              You know, I have not dropped by in some years. About the time that Adobe dropped NTTP, I really stopped using a news reader.

              My other favs., both on Hawaii, digressed to just Liberal vs Conservative, and then there were the tons of spam.

              I just flat lost interest, though I do miss many of the folk from I wish them all the best, and doubt that they have missed me.


          2. You'll find a few mixed in with this group:

            maybe some here as well
            The Red Wine Haiku Review

            1. Parker in his early days referred to an Oregonian wine as 'having the nose of wet stones', one of my favs.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Actually, "wet stone" is a descriptor I've been using for 35+ years . . . it's very accurate, and not at all "weird." (This is not to suggest that I "taught" Parker; rather, it's that this is a relatively common term.)

                1. re: zin1953

                  I use "wet stones" for many Chablis offerings, due to the heavy mineral notes.

                  Now, back when I was taking geology classes, I never though that licking rocks might help me some day. It did.


              2. "Gun metal" and "creme brulée" are all CLASSIC descriptors for various wines -- the latter especially used with dessert wines -- and "rubber tires" is often used as a slightly less obnoxious descriptor than "burnt rubber," thus suggesting a lower concentration of mercaptans in the wine being so described.

                You want REALLY WEIRD descriptors??? Well, ones that I've used include . . .

                From "Late Harvest: Wine History of the Santa Cruz Mountains," © 1983, written by Michael Holland, with Charles Sullivan, and Jason Brandt Lewis, contributing editors:

                "1981 Cook-Ellis Santa Maria Chardonnay: . . . off-aromas in the nose show volatile acidity and turpentine, oxidized fruit, brussels sprouts . . . " (p. 41)

                "1981 Silver Mountain Monterey Chardonnay, Ventana Vineyards: . . . opulent fruit and oak fill out the aroma with a touch of pumpkin . . ." (p. 52)

                From "TASTE" magazine -- I can't find the specific issue but circa 1986-1988:

                "1983 Silver Mountain Monterey Chardonnay, Ventana Vineyard: . . . smells like dead-daisy water . . . "

                Not about a specific wine, but in a review of Chateau Julien that I did for "Notes from the Grapevine," on Monterey (California) radio station KBOQ, I wrote that the owners "made their money in the oil business and it shows in the winery."

                There are many more examples, but it's beautiful outside right now, so . . . .


                1 Reply
                1. re: zin1953

                  <making a note to avoid 1983 Silver Mountain Monterey Chardonnay, Ventana Vineyard>

                  Dead daisy water! OOog.