As Literal as Weights; as Figurative as Wine

Chateau de La Perriere Brouilly, 2009The other day I was in the gym lifting weights like I’ve been doing for the past 25 years (taking time out for meals, of course) when I heard what is perhaps the worst training tip ever. The guy next to me was telling his friend, ‘Lift the weights out in front of your body…but not literally.’ When it comes to lifting weights, there’s nothing figurative about it. If weight lifting isn’t literal, I don’t know what is.

Last May, the food and wine hedonist, a trained sommelier, wrote a blog about wine, giving his reasons for not writing about wine. His main reason is that wine is a subjective experience. In a sense that’s absolutely true. The average human can perceive 1000 aromas, and we each perceive them a little differently. There are 200 different aromas that can be found in wine.

When I smelled the Jean-Claude DeBeaune Chateau de la Perriere, 2009 Beaujolais last night, it was as if I had put my nose in a bouquet of red and purple flowers that were so fresh, they had a small amount of soil still on their stems. The flavor was like a mouthful of cranberries with just a whisper of dirt, soft, light and lovely. But I was not literally smelling and tasting those things. The aroma experience of wine is subjective and very figurative, not to mention, seriously romanticized. It’s the poetry of wine. That’s one side of analyzing wine. The other side is more like weight lifting. Wine has elements. They are acidity, alcohol, tannins, and sweetness. It literally has those elements. And when those elements are in balance with each other, like the Brouilly was last night, the wine is well made. When it comes to assessing the elements of a wine, experience and knowledge go a long way and can be very helpful in culling the good from the bad or mediocre. When a knowledgeable person writes about a wine that has good balance, I know it is a well-made wine. I may not experience the same aromas that the reviewer experiences, but I can count on the quality of the wine.

I hope the food and wine hedonist continues to share his ‘wine voice’ and knowledge with us. In the meantime, I have to get back to benching five more 500 pound sets…but only figuratively.

15 comments on “As Literal as Weights; as Figurative as Wine

  1. Dana Dean says:

    Thank you my friend for helping those of us who simply “like what they like” when it comes to wine, better understand “why”…you have successfully helped my brain comprehend the complexities…literally 🙂


  2. In the end, no matter how much experience we have in being able to describe a wine, it just comes down to how much you enjoyed the overall experience you had drinking it. Mood and serenity play a huge part in your perceptions. If you’ve just had a tiff with your partner you aint gunna enjoy that wine so much.

  3. Stefano says:

    So true a point you make about balance: it definitely is the most important factor in an enjoyable wine.

  4. I like your analogy of the experience of wine because it rings true for me. Sometimes it’s like poetry; sometimes it’s like weight lifting. Very well said.

  5. waywardwine says:

    In addition, I think there is more to wine writing than recommending or rating bottles. We teach with every comment. Your reviewing this 2009 Brouilly, taught me a facet about that region, its grapes, the ripeness of fruit in that vintage that led to its balance. Knowledge is power for the consumer. Even if they never see this wine, they are empowered to try any 2009 Brouilly, or any 2009, or any Brouilly with interest and confidence.

    Also, I may not smell its purple flowers, but most could agree it smells floral with a dash of something savory (your earth, or leather, or herb, or something akin).

    I write to give people a movie preview. We wouldn’t go see Transformers 6 without seeing the teaser or a critic’s review. We wouldn’t know the movie existed. It’s the same with wine. Reviews get people out of their box.

    • foxress says:

      Very good point. I know I’ve tried lots of wines because of recommendations. There are so many wines out there. Reviews provide a great road map.

  6. coastalcrone says:

    I like the idea of liking wine because we like it. I have been missing some posts in Reader as apparently other have. Cheers!

  7. Lets have you call into the Radio show sometime Foxress….email me at wine@wineliferadio

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