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Several times I have tried a wine while reviewing various critic's tasting notes. I can't for the life of me figure out how they come up with their descriptions.

Now, I'm no expert, and I would fail a chef Ramsay Blind Taste Test of kumkwats or white truffles, and couldn't tell the difference between raspberries or black raspberries, but I am familiar with the smell of oak, cedar, mocha, cinnamon, many spices, and others; and the flavor of chocolate, coffee, caramel, licorice, berries, and others.

I can believe that people may perceive colors, flavors and smells differently, such that when I taste a strawberry, for instance, that I don't experience the same thing a critic does. However, I would still think that if a critic experiences a smell or flavor in a wine and it's something I'm familiar with, that I should be able to make a similar connection.
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Many, if not most, tasting notes are poetic esoteria. Once a professional critic uses some of these esoteric terms, a lot of amateur poets scramble to incorporate those terms in their notes. One that never ceases to amaze me is the transposition of sensory awareness, like the smell of white flowers. The ability to tell the color of a flower from its smell is certainly a talent devoutly to be wished. Then there are the taste descriptors of items that most definitely have never been actually tasted.
Originally posted by davec:
but I am familiar with the smell of oak, cedar, mocha, cinnamon, many spices, and others; and the flavor of chocolate, coffee, caramel, licorice, berries, and others.

Recognizing a familiar aroma outside of its usual context is not as obvious sometimes. Get an aroma kit like Le Nez du Vin and test it out. We get a kick pulling it out once every few months with my tasting group.
Gary V's 15 minutes are up

Really? Because he's had 3 best-sellers and more coming out, has a larger English-speaking audience for wine than the next half-dozen or so wine writers/critics, and actually has groupies? Like it or not, he's made himself a bigger force in the wine industry than pretty much anyone I can think of offhand. His schtick is a little wearying sometimes and I'm not sure I'd agree with his take on things all the time but he's sold himself as a decent, hi-energy guy without bizarre pronunciations, pretentious descriptions, and the supercilious air of someone who drinks only the most expensive wines.
I'll take a stab at the forest floor/earth/loam thing.

I believe when you taste certain things, your palate's ability to identify them are enhanced when after tasting air is exhaled through your nostrils. As we know, a large percentage of taste is derived from smell. I like Chilean red wines a lot, particularly Cab and Syrah. When tasting/smelling these wines, I get an olfactory sensation that reminds me digging moist dirt/soil, and picking up branches or sticks that have dirt/soil on them. Some friends of mine occasionally will refer to Chilean Cab jokingly as "dirt wine".
Originally posted by KSC02:
Originally posted by PurpleHaze:
Originally posted by Board-O:
Forest floor is a smell, not a taste, unless you're creating fiction.

....or have fallen from a tree.


Big Grin Big Grin I can honestly attest to that (a younger age of course but it's burned into the cranium)

While peaking through the neighbor girl's window? Razz

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