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Wine words 1: Let the wine do the talking

Update 28 November - the December article is here.

Wine words 1:  Let the wine do the talking

International Wine & Food Society Journal, September 2013


 
  Preamble

Most recent article 
here and relevant to this one.     All my IWFS articles are here.    

IWFS members arrive here from the link in the September 2013 Food & Wine journal.  At the end of November, it became available to the general reader

The first version of the article includes additional smaller text.   If you want to read the article as published and with no additional links etc, it is 
here.     
                                              
 
   Michael Broadbent's lecture here.  
   
                         
                 

Wine words 1:  Let the wine do the talking

                                        by Prof Alan F Harrison

                                                                                                   
 
 
 

     You can almost hear the chatter from the four IWFS glasses! here  more  The March article here covered our founder’s thoughts on wine generally.  The June article here began with his wine words, in particular – balance. Other writers were brought in to contrast André Simon and to develop the topic of balance. We now look at the broader topic of describing wine beginning, once more, with our founder.

      To appreciate wine “ .. one must drink good wine, not necessarily great wines, but sound and honest wine, with sufficient concentration to memorise its colour, bouquet or fragrance, and flavour: in other words one must cultivate a ‘palate memory’. Just as it is always a pleasure to recognise the features or the voice of a friend, there is a very real satisfaction in recognising a wine which one has tasted and enjoyed before.”

     If we hope to memorise the colour, bouquet or fragrance, and flavour of a wine which has been tasted and appreciated, let the wine do the talking. That, of course, means learning its language. In 1948, André Simon said “Wine is a friend, wine is a joy ..  When we engage with the voice of a friend, the words we use are common to us both. When we are on friendly terms with wine, we can listen to it more easily and develop the special words within our interaction." source

     Therefore, make wine your friend and it will be even more enjoyable. As your palate memory develops, the easier it becomes to add more wine words to your vocabulary. Wine words exist to point you to those appropriate to appreciation, and developing your palate memory is part of it.. As fluency progresses, your ability to communicate with those around you is enhanced. André Simon certainly knew his stuff! 
Palate memory  was innovative in 1953. more  Much more recently, the term mouth-feel  has entered the wine vocabulary and we can deal with that in another article. more

     Already, perhaps even at the basic level in some cases, you are able to find the words you want, when you want them, and are able to communicate with like-minded IWFS members who may be going through or who have been through the same process.  However, it wasn’t André Simon’s suggestion to let the wine do the talking. By now, you are familiar with the name Michael Broadbent. In the preface to his Pocket Guide to Winetasting (1978) 2001 edition here,  also see here     and in the context of giving talks, he writes “ one learns from the wine itself. Indeed, I usually preface my remarks by saying that the wine is doing all the talking and I am merely try
ing to translate.”
     

     In his “Foreword to new edition” (2003), Michael Broadbent comments “ .. the more one tastes, the more one learns,understands, and appreciates – leading to deeper enjoyment.” The last paragraph of the foreword says the purpose of the book “ .. is to awaken the interest of newcomers and to encourage even the hard-nosed professionals to think more carefully about the words they use. … Above all, … , I aim to encourage those teetering on the brink to plunge into the unfathomable depths of wine.”

     We have the  opportunity to listen to Michael in London on 13 November and details are on p 38 of the June issue of Food & Wine. After his lecture, we can share our interpretations of what the wine tells us at the Society’s 80th anniversary lunch.                                                                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           





 
 

The quotation is from: 

A Wine Primer: a text-book for beginners on how to buy, keep and serve wine.

André L Simon

Michael Joseph, 1946 – Fourth impression, 1948
 
     
     
 
Let the wine do the talking

Very little Internet chatter using the phrase.  My search only came up with this direct quoatation:

Now, however, instead of having to choose in advance whether you’d enjoy a three, four or five course meal paired with our wines in the Foresteria, we’re letting the wines do the talking: all Avignonesi wines can be tasted with any of the dishes on our menu. You choose the dishes. You choose the wines.  source


You may do better than me in searching for quotations.  (There may be results once readers start reading ths page.)

This one is near.  Do let me know if you pay to read it.    See the dearth of quotations here.







Palate memory

Herehere  





Mouthfeel

The next article is likely to deal with the types of wine words.  If so, mouthfeel will be included in lists but not dealt with.  Here is a a sample to introduce the topic.  In Michael Broadbent's style, start translating.

Wike here.  An interesting wheel - go straight to Fig 2 when you arrive here.  Another wheel here. 

 

 
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
        You can almost hear the chatter from the four IWFS glasses!  The March article covered our founder’s thoughts on wine generally.  The June article began with his wine words, in particular – balance. Other writers were brought in to contrast André Simon and to develop the topic of balance. We now look at the broader topic of describing wine beginning, once more, with our founder.

      To appreciate wine “ .. one must drink good wine, not necessarily great wines, but sound and honest wine, with sufficient concentration to memorise its colour, bouquet or fragrance, and flavour: in other words one must cultivate a ‘palate memory’. Just as it is always a pleasure to recognise the features or the voice of a friend, there is a very real satisfaction in recognising a wine which one has tasted and enjoyed before.”

     If we hope to memorise the colour, bouquet or fragrance, and flavour of a wine which has been tasted and appreciated, let the wine do the talking. That, of course, means learning its language. In 1948, André Simon said “Wine is a friend, wine is a joy ..”  When we engage with the voice of a friend, the words we use are common to us both. When we are on friendly terms with wine, we can listen to it more easily and develop the special words within our interaction.

     Therefore, make wine your friend and it will be even more enjoyable. As your palate memory develops, the easier it becomes to add more wine words to your vocabulary. Wine words exist to point you to those appropriate to appreciation, and developing your palate memory is part of it.. As fluency progresses, your ability to communicate with those around you is enhanced. André Simon certainly knew his stuff!  
Palate memory  was innovative in 1953.   Much more recently, the term mouth-feel  has entered the wine vocabulary and we can deal with that in another article. 

     Already, perhaps even at the basic level in some cases, you are able to find the words you want, when you want them, and are able to communicate with like-minded IWFS members who may be going through or who have been through the same process.  However, it wasn’t André Simon’s suggestion to let the wine do the talking. By now, you are familiar with the name Michael Broadbent. In the preface to his Pocket Guide to Winetasting (1978), here and in the context of giving talks, he writes “ one learns from the wine itself. Indeed, I usually preface my remarks by saying that the wine is doing all the talking and I am merely trying to translate.”

      In his “Foreword to new edition” (2003), Michael Broadbent comments “ .. the more one tastes, the more one learns, understands, and appreciates – leading to deeper enjoyment.” The last paragraph of the foreword says the purpose of the book “ .. is to awaken the interest of newcomers and to encourage even the hard-nosed professionals to think more carefully about the words they use. … Above all, … , I aim to encourage those teetering on the brink to plunge into the unfathomable depths of wine.”
     We have the  opportunity to listen to Michael in London on 13 November and details are on p 38 of the June issue of 
Food & Wine. After his lecture, we can share our interpretations of what the wine tells us at the Society’s 80th anniversary lunch.

 
     
     
     
 
Beware of downloads.  The book is in pdf format here.

 
 
   























































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