Mark Liberman has a most interesting series of posts at Language Log, taking off from a querulous comment of mine on a Semantic Compositions entry (“I was disappointed in Mark’s post; I hate to see him joining the bandwagon of people making easy jokes about winetalk”). Anyone at all interested in the topic should read Apologia pro risu suo, Grand Cru Smackdown, and More on winetalk culture. I should say that I did not mean to imply that the exotic descriptions used by so many wine writers are all exact and scientific, or that I do not myself often find them funny as hell. In the immortal words of Theodore Sturgeon, “90% of everything is crud,” and that certainly applies to wine babble. I merely resent the fact that the noble art and science of wine appreciation is so frequently the target of free-floating populist resentment and suffers indignities not often heaped on, say, art historians (who are at least equally given to unverifiable specifications and unsuitable metaphors). I just wish Americans drank wine as routinely as soft drinks so they wouldn’t see it as some sort of Old World boondoggle.
Oh, and as to the ruckus over the 2003 Chateau Pavie: no one in their right mind would try to judge a Bordeaux that soon; it’s not going to be drinkable by normal people for several years, and it’s a waste to drink a good Bordeaux before a decade has elapsed. I’m not surprised the experts differ.