If you’re not much of a wine connoisseur, listening to a wine critic can be a little confusing, if not downright painful. Waxing on about “fruity notes” and “zesty undertones” can seem a bit superfluous, to say the least. But it turns out that wine critics actually have a lot to teach us.
When it comes to describing tastes, especially subtleties in flavor, our language has not been kind. Eskimos might have twenty-five different words for “white,” but English-speakers don’t have the same range of vocabulary to describe reds, whites and rose when it comes to wine.
A lack of vocabulary is party why wine critics reach out and grab other words from the English language. Critics need tools to describe their experience, and they can only do so by borrowing from different flavors and ideas. It might sound excessive, but it’s a necessity. Wine critics rely on a language to put their views across.
Why you should listen to a wine critic is hopefully becoming a little clearer. But merely having a vocabulary is not enough: you also want a critic with a sophisticated palate.
Let’s say that you’re in the market for an expensive bottle of wine (perhaps because you’re a collector or an investor or you want something special for a big occasion). Then you would be wise to depend on the expertise of a wine critic. Not all critics, however, are equal. Though there are some who can tell the difference between a 1951 Chateauneuf du Pape and a 1954, the vast majority cannot. Wine tasting is an art and requires the artist to understand flavors in a way few of the rest of us can do on a conscious level (though we might experience something intangible should we drink a wine of exceptional quality).
With the rise of wine clubs, people want to expand their knowledge of wine. Getting into wine is easy, according to this Winc wine club review, but with so many growing regions, styles, and varieties of processing grapes, understanding the differences can be a challenge. Wine critics are helpful not only for determining which wines are of high quality, and which aren’t, but they can also help you pair wines with your meal.
As a busy person, you probably don’t have the time to find out for yourself which wines go with which flavors. For instance, which variety of white wine pairs best wish dishes heavy on tarragon? What about thyme? How about oregano? It’s unlikely that you know the answers.
But critics, with their expertise in the realm of flavor combinations, can often find great wines to go with practically any meal. Having this kind of knowledge by your side prevents you from wasting money and getting the most out of your Friday night supper.
As a final note, it’s worth remembering that although wine critics tend to have highly developed palates, they may not have the same experience of pleasure drinking them as you. You might, for instance, might hate the taste of wines recommended by critics. Just like you, critics are individuals with their own preferences.