Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wine Styles, Graphically Speaking

As I mentioned in my original post on plotting wines using structural descriptions, I think it's potentially a good way to give a sense of balance, style and especially intensity. As an example, here are three hypothetical wines, each of which would be considered balanced:
Wine A represents a powerful young wine with lots of stuffing, and is probably the sort of wine that critics would love. While consumers sometimes suggest that critics will rate flabby wines highly, based on the few highly rated wines I've tasted, more often the wines are simply packed with lots of everything. This isn't the only path to quality, though.

Wine B represents a slightly mellower wine, either because it has a bit of age or is simply made in a style that stresses complexity or finesse over raw power. A younger wine with these characteristics likely is the epitome of what critics score in the high 80s. Personally, this would be my choice as the white hot intensity of the previous wine tends to lead to palate fatigue.

Wine C represents a balanced wine that's pretty much boring. There's nothing offensive, but nothing impressive, either. For me this epitomizes a solid, mass-produced 'grocery store' wine. Balanced, yes, but lacking concentration, aroma and flavor. One could do worse, though.

I'd probably find the first wine over the top and fatiguing, especially with food. The last wine just wouldn't be that interesting. Wine B probably would be my choice. But each type has its supporters. There's no right or wrong in taste, only preference.

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