Reviewing a wine in 7 words: it was the best of ways, it was the worst of ways.
I know that the idea behind the Wine Blogging Wednesday #42 seven word limit was meant in a whimsical way, but it got me to thinking about the words we use to talk about wine. Of course, this has been a subject on my mind lately, as evidenced by the poll I’ve been running for a week or so about whether or not winespeak makes it difficult to learn about wine.
The results to the polls indicate that while occasional words are confusing (technical words like carbonic maceration and battonage, I’m guessing), on the whole people get what we wineaux mean when we babble on about aromas and flavors. Or at least, 8 of the 13 voters said so.
I can’t blame them; some of the more technical words having to do with wine are not things that you’d natrually just pick up on the side of the etymological road. And you won’t get a chance to use them very often, unless you have lots of wine geek friends or you work in the business.
So that’s been kicking around in my head, along with all the other maundering thoughts of recession, elections, new jobs and the old What I Should Be Doing Right Now. And then Andrew Barrow of the British wine blog Spittoon (love that tag line) proposed that we review a wine in only seven words, I thought “Boy, that’s going to be tough.” My reviews tend to run about 200-500 words, and the tasting notes alone run 30-80, depending on the wine. How to truly sum up a wine for my readers in a mere seven?
Poetry to the rescue! Mr. Rogers got me writing poetry since before I could write (I dictated to my mother); I don’t write many poems these day, but if you want to communicate a lot of sensation in few words, a poem is your magic bullet. So I figured I’d take those shockingly few seven words and make them a haiku. It was tough, but I was happy with the results.
So now I’m thinking… why not other poetic forms? Why not a sonnet about a wine you love dearly? A villanelle about a wine you drink often? Drinking a wine that’s so complex it seems almost impossible, try a sestina! For a rustic vin de table, a limerick? If poetry communicates the ineffable, then it seems made for wine, as anyone talking about wine is describing a completely subjective, sensual experience. Poetry and wine! Game, set, match.