Sunday Read: 5 Words Not to Fear

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.

Happy Sunday!

The New York Times: 5 Words Not to Fear

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12 thoughts on “Sunday Read: 5 Words Not to Fear

  1. Very interesting, especially the lesson on “Bitter.”

  2. 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!

  3. Stefano says:

    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.

  4. 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!

  5. Thanks for sharing! I found this very interesting.

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