The Taste of Silence

Important as they are, sometimes I find the abundance of scores and adjectives used to communicate the merits of a particular wine or set of?+¦-+?+¡wines dull, boring, predictable and taxing. Let me stress the use of sometimes as I also indulge in dishing out adjectives and descriptors, although I leave the scoring to the maestros.

Let’s face it, to the uninitiated wine communication can seem about as gripping and engaging as a white paper on run-off water management in the breakfast cereal industry. Terms like ?+¦?+º?+¦primary fruit?+¦?+º?+æ, ?+¦?+º?+¦phenolic ripeness?+¦?+º?+æ and ?+¦?+º?+¦palate weight?+¦?+º?+æ are not going to appeal to discussion groups and conversations outside of those breathing the rarified air on?+¦-+?+¡Mt Wine Boffin.

But man, do we try! Hipster and gonzo communication tools are all the rage, but let’s face it, after the fifth time you’ve heard an Elgin Pinot Noir tasting like sweaty rock-chick crotch or a botrytised Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc being sweet enough to cause a priest to get a rose tattooed on his scrotum, it’s pretty much been done. (The description, not the tattoo.)

Commenting about wine is, however, challenging. Unlike other forms of criticism and review, there are no pensive brush-strokes, musical deftness, acting prowess or literary skill for the critic to enthuse upon. All you have is a glass filled with something which is basically red, white or pink. The rest is up to your senses of taste and smell, from which the wine reviewer has to present a lucid, thought-provoking ?+¦-+?+¡comment.

In this day and age of visceral information overload, he or she has her work cut-out to attract eyeballs. And this is why most of us involved in this blogging game do it for?+¦?+º?-¼?+¦?+º?-¼shit, I don’t really know?+¦?+º?-¼?+¦?+º?-¼

In any event, Thomas McGuane wrote a book on fishing called The Longest Silence in which he says that the greatest moments of experience and appreciation call for a state of joyful and introspective wordlessness which imply the magnificence of the experience.

We all know or should know the feeling: Hearing a forgotten Paul Weller song, watching the Marlon Brando-Rod Steiger taxi scene in On the Waterfront or reading the first paragraph of a new Paul Auster and knowing that no words can be used to aptly describe what you are sensing. Things best left unsaid.

The F.O.A.D collection.

I call these FOAD moments. Why? A few years back, the magazine Loaded ran a review of the hottest chilli sauces found on the English market. The winning sauce came in a small black bottle. No description as to the manufacture or flavour of the contents was deemed necessary, as the label said it all: Fuck Off and Die. (FOAD).

And it was the best and the winning sauce.

Therefore it is sometimes apt to shut the hell up about wine. Just to list some FOAD wines that have passed your lips recently, wines that strike all the right notes, hit the right spots and whose effect are too magisterial to deserve scores or description.

My 10 Fuck Off and Die Wines of the Past Month

  • ?+¦-+?+¦++?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡ GS Cabernet 1966
  • ?+¦-+?+¦++?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡ Edgebaston GS Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
  • ?+¦-+?+¦++?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡ Vriesenhof Pinot Noir 2005
  • ?+¦-+?+¦++?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡ Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon 1991
  • ?+¦-+?+¦++?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡ Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir 2007
  • ?+¦-+?+¦++?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡ Welbedacht Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc
  • ?+¦-+?+¦++?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡ Jordan Whole Nine Yards Chardonnay 2009
  • ?+¦-+?+¦++?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡ Donkiesbaai Steen 2011
  • ?+¦-+?+¦++?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡ Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2009
  • ?+¦-+?+¦++?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡?+¦-+?+¡ Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve Port 2008

Now, about the upfront fruit, bright acids and barrel-influence?+¦?+º?-¼?+¦?+º?-¼

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