Title suggestions: Lingua Vinum (+2, -2); Sommelier Speak (+1, -1); Wine Talk; Wino Lingo (-1)
In fiction and satire, if someone is called upon to describe the flavor of a wine, they will begin speaking in a kind of Purple Prose
which may include any of the following:
- Sesquipedalianly loquacious gushing or ranting.
- Elaborate, perhaps mixed, metaphors.
- Personification of the wine, ascribing to it personality traits, moods, and even moral agency.
- Tastes Like Feet, except not necessarily negative: even an admirable wine may be compared to metal, cat pee, gasoline, or the like.
- Stock phrases, "A good year" being especially common.
A variant combines this with Alien Lunch
or I Ate What?
— another substance is mistaken for, or passed off as, wine, and the unwitting drinker describes it in similar terms. And see also Expensive Glass Of Crap
Partial Truth in Television
, as detailed in this article
. Wine is
complex (often several flavour notes will be in the same one, and the combinations can sound discordant, like black cherry/pepper/tobacco) and volatile (the lingering taste in the drinker's mouth, called the "finish", can be different than the initial sensations). It is also important to note that the terms used to describe wine flavors, like "black cherry" or "plum," do not necessarily mean that the wine tastes like those things — rather, these are agreed-upon terms for specific but hard-to-articulate flavors.
See also Wine Is Classy
Anime and Manga
- There was an advert for Gordon's Gin in the UK where a very pretentious guy at a garden party was going on about a glass of wine having aromas of things like wood pigeon and pebbles in the rain and being mocked by two nearby gin and tonic drinkers.
- Kami No Shizuku is a manga about wine tasting and serving that is memetic for trying too hard to make being a sommelier sound awesome, and naturally is drowning in this, with the protagonist having LSD-like visions from the wine flavors. He is on a quest to find twelve wines that are described by comparing their flavors to Jesus' apostles. (The top panel of this page◊ of Kami no Shizuku might make a good page image, if it can be made to fit without making the text unreadable.)
- Miles, the protagonist of the film Sideways is a wine enthusiast who often uses metaphors like these.
- The French movie L'aile ou la Cuisse uses this when the main character has been challenged to prove his culinary expertise by identifying a wine on TV. Unbeknownst to the audience (but not to the bad guy), he has lost his sense of taste, and must rely on other descriptors like color, transparency and viscosity to pull it off, spouting all the usual phrases.
- In the Roald Dahl story "Taste", the villain does this as part of a drawn-out display of identifying a wine. Earlier in the story, it is noted that this is an idiosyncrasy of his:
. . . when discussing a wine, he had a curious, rather droll habit of referring to it as though it were a living being. "A prudent wine," he would say, "rather diffident and evasive, but quite prudent." Or, "A good-humoured wine, benevolent and cheerful — slightly obscene, perhaps, but none the less good-humoured."
- Dave Barry has mocked this a few times. In particular, he attended a wine steward competition, as described in this column.
The people at my table, on the other hand, leaned more toward the slosh- and-sniff approach, where you don't so much drink the wine as you frown and make a thoughtful remark about it such as you might make about a job applicant ("I find it ambitious, but somewhat strident." Or: "It's lucid, yes, but almost Episcopalian in its predictability.") As it happened, I was sitting next to a French person named Mary, and I asked her if people in France carry on this way about wine. "No, " she said, "they just drink it. They're more used to it."
- From the Thrilling Adventure Hour episode "A Beyond Belief Valentines Day":
Frank Doyle: I seek a wine with structure — and stability — and backbone. Something brooding, but which won't tell me what's on its mind. A wine that's superior, haughty, withholding. I want a wine so fickle and baffling I'll wake up at three in the morning with my fingers already fumbling on the dial of my phone to ask it what I've done wrong. I want a wine that disapproves of me and every choice I've made. Bring me a wine that insults me to my face and makes me like it!
Maitre d': Ah! A French wine, then.
- One of the better-known examples is this◊ James Thurber cartoon: "It's a na´ve domestic Burgundy without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption."
- The Silly Tasting Notes Generator produces a short random instance of the style, in "Normal-silly" or "Extra-silly" flavors. The template is derived from actual Wine Spectator notes.
- This blog post by fantasy author/commentator Brian Stavely talks about descriptors of wine that don't really match up with any perception by the senses of the drinker — its used as a metaphor for fantasy novels doing the same with language (i.e. saying a character is "dumb as a smeerp" has no real meaning for the audience, since smeerps don't exist).