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10 silliest wine tasting terms

Cathy Marston shares her most annoying tasting descriptions.

by: Cathy Marston | 22 Apr 2013
wine snob

There’s no denying it – sometimes wine critics/reviewers/tasters can really get too far up their own backsides. Some of the words and terms they use are ridiculous and make no sense whatsoever to the general public.

So with that in mind (and whilst being fully aware that I am as guilty as the next wino of using most of these), here are my top 10 silliest wine tasting terms:

Pronounced nose – Who are you calling Cyrano de Bergerac? Come over here and say that to my face.

Like licking a wet stone – oh come on. How many stones have you licked today? How many stones have you licked ever?? Stop talking rubbish. 

It’s a feminine wine – what the hell do you mean by that? If you’re implying that this wine is delicate, flowery and girly and thus only suitable for women to drink, I shall punch you in the face. People who use this term are the same people who talk about a ‘Ladies Steak’ and should be forced to drink dodgy papsak for the rest of their lives. Grrrrr.

Nervy – shame, is it stressed? Does the poor little glass of wine have deadlines piling up in front of it, no food for dinner in the house, three kids to ferry to different playdates, 427 emails in the in-box and a weekend fancy dress party demanding an intricate costume of a corpulent pirate with a wooden leg and a one-winged parrot to prepare for?? Nervy –pah, don’t talk to me about nervy.

Cat’s pee on a gooseberry bush – mmm, it may be accurate, but honestly, do you really think I’m going to buy it based on that description?

Mercaptan – if you don’t want to say anything as common as cabbage, then best to say nothing at all.

Picked at optimal ripeness – this is a bit of a wine hack’s whinge, but honestly if I had R5 for every time I see this drivel in a tasting note, I wouldn’t still be hauling my arse around to tastings, I’d be sitting on a yacht on Camps Bay.

Dumb – I wish you were, if that’s all you can think of to say.

Voluptuous – actually, you can include ‘seductive’ here as well. These are words to describe sex – is that really what you want people to think about when armed with a bottle? What on earth do you think they’re going to do with it? My mind, she boggle-eth.

Dry – yes, yes, I know we all use this one all the time but have we ever considered the fact that the thing we are referring to as ‘dry’ is, in fact, wet? Think about it…

What terms drive you to distraction?

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