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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 alt.food.wine (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.

          Hunt

          2 Replies
          1. re: Bill Hunt

            OT, but Bill.............. is alt.food.wine 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 alt.food.wine. I wish them all the best, and doubt that they have missed me.

              Hunt

          2. You'll find a few mixed in with this group:
            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/672811

            maybe some here as well
            The Red Wine Haiku Review
            http://redwinehaiku.blogspot.com/

            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.

                  Hunt

              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 . . . .

                Cheers,
                Jason

                1 Reply
                1. re: zin1953

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

                  Dead daisy water! OOog.

                  ;-)