It's elemental: does wine have a language problem?


When it comes to wine-tasting is the fashion for certain words, such as ‘minerality’, a help or a hindrance?

There’s always a moment of self-consciousness the first time you use a fancy new description for wine in public. Until you’ve used it a few times without being corrected, you can’t be quite sure you’ve got the meaning right, and you can’t help feeling not just pretentious but fraudulent.

Such was the case for me with “minerality”. I can’t remember the wine that prompted me to use it for the first time. There would have been something in the glass, some flavour other than fruit or flowers. I was copying other tasters I admired, guessing that what they meant by this new word applied to the wine in question, and hoping deeper understanding would come through repeated usage of a term that, at the time, invited ridicule (“What do you mean it tastes of stones?”).

Continue reading…