This is an experiment in writing tasting notes. The first is the way I have been writing them for this blog based on a classical method with some descriptive prose. The second is based on a classical method with specific terminology. The third is a stream of consciousness including my experience of the wine in that moment.
Barely there charm with firm elegance and bittersweet nuances. Light, onion skin pink with crystal clear luminosity, medium intensity and complexity on the nose with predominant floral notes of fresh white flowers followed by aromas of white peach, apricot, and hints of toasted nuts, on the palate dry with high acidity and pleasant minerality, light body with a nice balance and an elegant, grapefruit finish.
Food pairings: This wine has a very light body with fresh acidity and marked minerality making it best for lightly structured dishes with soft flavours, including shellfish, white meat and pasta. Some examples include: fried calamari, salmon fillet with steamed vegetables, or shrimp with linguini pasta.
Appearance: crystal clear, luminous, onion skin colour with copper toned reflections, almost transparent, medium-low consistency
Nose: medium intensity, medium complexity, frank and clean quality, floral, fruity and slightly toasted with notes of fresh white flowers, yellow stone fruit, citrus and toasted nuts.
Taste: dry, medium alcohol, medium softness high acidity, medium-high minerality, light body, balanced, medium-high intensity, medium persistence, elegant finish with returning citrus notes and fine quality.
Young but ready to drink, quite harmonious.
Food pairings: dishes with a light structure which include starch and/or fat, without too much salt, acidity, or spices.
*the terms are roughly translated from Italian based on the AIS wine tasting sheet shown above.
“Lacrima rosa” means pink tear in English, this wine is not sentimental, Chanel pink, far off memory of peanut shells in childhood, weak colour, more white than rosé, pretty blue bird on the label, lightness, sense of home with Mastroberardino, wholesome, this is not rosé!, juicy summer fruits, I used to love peaches, lounging, winking, purring, playful cats, sweet, inconsequential, laughter, silliness, bittersweet, what’s “Dolce vita”?, more bitter mixed with sweet after living in Italy, apricots (I don’t know if I like them), who needs heavy?, antique pink is so much less garish, pink like my rose blanket, soft, almost finished with Jane Austin, sweetness, acidity, toasty, cold, warm, bittersweet, pink like the yellow in the sunset outside my window.
This wine with pasta and yesterday’s tomato sauce, I’m not a good cook, this is not the best choice, acidity in tomatoes, acidity in wine, salty sauce, give me wine, salty wine, give me sauce, more cheese, panettone with candied fruit, this is better, sweet and doughy, acidity, pink, bittersweet.
Which is the most accurate description? Which is the most relatable, the most informative, and to who? Which is the most interesting to read, which to do. Which is completely idiosyncratic, subjective, or irrelevant? Why should we write tasting notes at all?
I was watching a film the other day called “The Final Portrait”, and I started to think that perhaps writing wine descriptions is like painting a portrait.
In the film, the artist Alberto Giacometti, played by Geoffrey Rush, asks a New York journalist, played by Armie Hammer,to sit for him to paint his portrait. The eccentric artist is shrouded with self-doubt and a sense of inadequacy and failure, despite being a celebrated artist at that time. He repeatedly paints over the portrait just when it’s about to be “finished”. Meanwhile the frustrated and increasingly impatient journalist tries to understand the artist’s process and how he can intervene to declare the portrait is finished so he can fly back home and get back to his life.
click this link to watch A scene from The Final Portrait
In the film, Giacometti calls himself a “liar” because he can never paint things exactly how he sees them, and a portrait is never really finished, thus perhaps they shouldn’t be started at all. However, he seems to neurotically enjoy the process and the challenge in any case.
This is possibly true of wine descriptions as well. Maybe we can never fully depict a wine as it truly is, or finish describing it as we perceive it. And even more so, maybe it is the act in itself and the process which is more interesting than the description. More interesting to the perceiver and only secondarily interesting to the one reading it who may enjoy the process which produced it, the aesthetic it has, or the relatability to their own senses and experience which it may provoke.
In an attempt to not be redundant, uninteresting, un-relatable, or irrelevant in my own tasting notes, I would like to address these questions in my future posts.