This Sunday, I want to point you to a thoughtful piece by Eric Asimov, the wine critic at The New York Times. A few weeks ago he published this piece in which he argues that words that have certain connotations that can be perceived as bad, but are not per se bad. The five words are: Bitter, Green, Oak, Dark and Cold.
While I use bitter, green and oak usually as a bad connotation for wines I describe (yes, even oak. I think it is sometimes heavily overused in production, especially in a lot of new world wines), Asimov argues that there are good things to all these descriptors as well. Dark and cold are the two other words where he tries to steer us away from dogmatic views.
I am all for shattering dogmata, so I thought I’d share.
Very interesting, especially the lesson on “Bitter.”
Yes, very true. I am still on a path to appreciate it. Thanks for stopping by, Marylin!
So I started to type a comment and it turned so long that it became a post of its own. You’ll find it on my toward daylight blog very soon (with a link back to your blog, of course). Thanks for the inspiration!
How fabulous! Probably the biggest compliment for my Sunday Reads yet…heading over there now!
Just realizing you said “very soon”…sometimes excitement gets me…:)
It’s there now….
Thank you for sharing, Oliver: I am totally with you re oak, and the often heavy-handed usage that is done of it in many New World wines. I think, as in most things in life, subtlety is key, so I agree that oak is certainly not “bad” per se, it is just a question of what a winemaker makes of it. So, for instance I am very much in favor of practices like using oak in a white wine only for x% of the wine, which then gets blended with the remaining y% that instead only did steel or also using second or third time used barriques, the “strength” of which is therefore considerably diminished.
Stefano, yes, subtelty and balance are key to a good wine. I also have had wines that were blended from oak and stainless steel and they just had it all. Very good point you made there.
I found the observations on oak very interesting – how using neutral oak can add texture and ability to age without imparting an overbearing flavor on the wine. Thanks for sharing!
Yes, I thought so, too. I mean, there are many wines that age in oak that do not taste like it. So, it is all a matter of balance, as with everything.
Thanks for sharing! I found this very interesting.
Thanks! I’m glad you liked it.