Thursday, January 31, 2008

What does chewy mean anyway?

When I see it on a tasting sheet, I ask the pourer what it means. I get some interesting answers. “Well, it is a leather and tobacco quality that the wine has and it didn’t sell well, so we are changing the tasting notes.” Well, that’s not chewy.

Dr. Debs had an interesting post regarding wine-speak. Watching Frasier reruns, one may get the idea that wine aficionados are boorish snobs living in a world of their own, getting all excited about Chateau This and That while their more down to earth father pops open a cold beer.

In fact, my experience is quite the opposite. Wine people are actually down to earth, love what they are doing and are as personable as any other segment of the population.

But there is a terminology to wine. Can’t help it. Would it be as exciting if the reviews looked like this? “Purple liquid that tasted good. I smelled good too. 87”. No we need a vocabulary. "Dark ruby red wine with aromas of cherry, blackberry, black pepper and anise." So far, so good. "With sued-like tannins..." Okay, now you have a description for a Zinfandel. With a little practice, we learn what silky, sued and leather tannis are like in a wine. So tasting wine and comparing notes is important when learning.

One slang term I use is "packie". I try to remember to link to a definition to “packie” which is a Massachusetts term. Packie is slang for a package store or liquor store. I use this when I mean a little mom-and-pop corner liquor store that has beer, hard liquor and wine. This is in contrast to a wine shop. Here I mean a small wine store that specializes in wine. Then there is the big discount store. You get great deals, huge selections and discount prices.

To that degree, here is what I do when I come across a word I don’t understand. I get it defined. One of my favorite on-line places is This is a dictionary search engine that never lets me down.

Second, This is pretty good, but who know who put what were. I like to back this up with other on-line searches. In addition, to the right, we have Italian and French wine term links and a link to Robert Parker's glossary.

So what does “chewy” mean? You can find out here.