10 things I hate about wine

Cathy Marston has some gripes about her favourite pastime.

by: Cathy Marston | 01 Nov 2013

As I think practically everyone in the Southern Hemisphere is aware, most of the time I love wine.

But not always, and like any lasting-relationship, there are always those little irritating niggles which can sometimes explode into a full-blown row.

Here are 10 triggers to make me scream to the highest heavens and reach for a large tumbler-full of brandy instead.

1. I hate... full spittoons at a tasting. Other peoples’ spit. Splashback. Gross. Enough said.

2. I hate... wine waiters who bring the bottle to my husband to taste even though I ordered it. See your tip? Going dooooooooown.

3. I hate... that wine makes me fat. Life’s a bitch, it really is. When do you really need a glass of wine? When you’re depressed. What do I get depressed about? The fact that my clothes shrink a little smaller every single year. It’s a vicious, vicious circle. Pass the bottle.  

4. I hate... plastic corks. I could pretend to be all eco-conscious and say that my objections to them is that they don’t bio-degrade, but that would be a lie. I could also say that I hate them because I can’t fit them back in the bottle, but those who know me, know that finishing every bottle I open is a personal mission which I am always prepared to accept, so there is never any need to re-close bottles in my house.
The truth is that I hate them because I cannot get them off my corkscrew. They either stick tighter than a politician caught out in a lie, or come off so suddenly, I stab my fingers and cut them. Plastic corks are an abomination on the face of the earth and I hope that every producer who persists in using them drowns in a butt of alco-pop.

5. I hate... that Barbaresco isn’t made from Barbera. Not fair guys. Just not fair. They even come from the same damn region and you STILL couldn’t sort it out! And whilst we are on the subject – Vino Nobile di Montepulciano isn’t made from the Montepulciano grape either? Guys – get it together please. I mean - really.

6. I hate... wax seals on bottles. When I say I want a glass of wine, of course what I really mean is that I want lots of red, shiny, waxy bits sticking in between my teeth. Not.

7. I hate... scoring wines. ‘15.5’ tells me nothing about a wine except that it’s about three-quarters of the way to being perfect. Oh no wait, that’s not true is it, because you NEVER EVEN USE HALF THE FREAKING SCALE. Why score out of 20, if less than 10 is faulty and never gets used? Why score out of 100 when no-one is interested below 89? Why bother calling yourself a ‘wine writer’ at all if all you do is churn out numbers?  I will admit I have done it when I’ve reaaaaallly had to, but - grrrr. Pass the bottle.

8. I hate... Gewürztraminer. Sorry all you Gewürztraminer-makers out there, but when I want something to dab behind my ears, I’ll choose Chanel. Floral and perfumed or fat and oily – no thanks.

9. I hate... people who use the term ‘natural wine’ to offload faulty, oxidised crap. Make your wine naturally if you can (bearing in mind that the whole way we grow grapes for wine is pretty much contrary to what the vine will do if left to its own devices, so natural is a bit of a subjective term here!), experiment, push the envelope, try new stuff, but if it goes wrong – admit failure and turn it into vinegar. Don’t put a hipster label on it and try and pass it off as ‘natural’ because you’re doing no-one (least of all ‘natural winemakers’) any favours at all.

10. I hate, hate, HATE... people getting confused between the spellings of palate, pallet and palette. Especially if you’re in the wine industry – really, there is no excuse here at all. But hey, I mean it’s up to you.
By all means tell people your pallets are smooth and silky if you think that’ll help, but I wouldn’t count on crowds of people turning up to lick your woodwork anytime soon.


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