I want to share another trend in wine journalism that has piqued my curiosity: nonverbal wine reviews. Talking about wine without words. If you think any of the following are cool, please review my wines without words! Or review some of your favorite wines nonverbally. You don’t even need a blog since you can use sites like Petrogasm to post your own wordless reviews.
The prime example that has me thinking about this all the time is Chateau Petrograsm, a blog where anybody can register and review a wine by posting a picture. You don’t get to explain why the photo is representative of the wine. “Readers” must use their imaginations to connect the dots between the picture and the wine being reviewed.
Sometimes, it’s fairly obvious. A picture of crisp golden apples because the wine reminded the reviewer of crisp golden apples. Other times, it’s less obvious. People will sometimes pick a celebrity whose character matches the wine. Or they’ll pick a landscape that is very complicated and almost as nuanced as the wine itself. Here, a new user characterizes a wine from La Negly with a dark and brooding coastline. These reviews are often less judgmental and nitpicky than verbal reviews.
I used this photo to the left for a wine I tasted once. I don’t want to explain my choice because I think that ruins the fun and gets unnecessarily intellectual. But suffice it to say that a photo like this can give multiple and almost conflicting images at the same time. And that’s how taste works sometimes.
By getting away from words and going back to a more symbolic review of wine, we free ourselves from the tyranny of language and expectations!
I just really love the concept and I think it reminds us that some pictures are worth far more than 1,000 words.
I very frequently feel like I’m at a total loss for words when talking about wine in a foreign language. And hell, even in my native language, a wine can have so many apparently opposite traits at the same time! It’s hard to talk about it naturally. The reason I rely so much on video in my wine reviews at Love That Languedoc is because I think you can easily convey a ton of information through body language and spastic hand gestures. Sometimes, it would take far longer to convey the same information in words.
And I’m not alone. Right, Gary?
Gary Vaynerchuk is a guy who talks with his whole body when he reviews a wine. And it’s great. Because he can deliver a lot of surprisingly nuanced descriptions with a little nudge of his shoulder or by throwing his hands up in the air as he talks about different layers of a wine.
And occasionally you can spawn catch phrases that go along with a little body language and then you make tshirts and the whole nine yards. Oak Monster!
Music and Wine
I’ve also seen a few efforts to pair music and wine. Some of these music and wine pairing attempts actually do get very wordy. I know I commented on a blog the other day that did this with much less pretense, but I can’t find it!! The author would just post the title of a song at the top of the wine review. And it begs the question, does he think the wine is like that song or that the wine pairs with that song? After all, some people swear that a wine’s quality can change drastically based on what music you listen to.
And it might be interesting to see if there’s a site that tries to actually embed audio so that it can truly be nonverbal. BottleDJ is a blogger who tries to pair music and wine to interesting effects.
We were actually talking about a similar concept at VinoCamp Paris. Wouldn’t it be cool if there were a website like last.fm that looked at your musical tastes and predicted what kind of wines you’d enjoy? I wonder how effective it would be!
What music does O’Vineyards go with or what songs does it remind you of?! TELL ME.