Episode 49: Sucking on Stones

by whitney & christina on October 2, 2012

The ladies are talking taste- what does it mean to you, how do we describe it and what’s up with minerality in wine? Christina chats with wine writer Talia Baiocchi about why flowery tasting notes fall flat. Finally, what happens when two drunk men run loose in an Australian Sea World? All that and more, coming up!

Animals and alcohol. It’s ridiculous.

Speaking of animals…Snake Wine. And what Christina looks like after drinking said wine.

Fiona Beckett’s article on why tasting notes can be so unreliable AND her article in the Guardian about whether wine descriptors give people an idea of flavor or actually confuses them.

We sit down with our good friend, wine writer  and editor of Eater.com, Talia Baiocchi. Her piece on Eater.com about taste being subjective and whether tasting notes are useful or not and The Salon article that Talia references about expectation and taste.

Jancis Robinson’s article ‘Sniffing Stones and other Tasting Notes’

Christina standing in front of the incredible red slate soils of the Wurzgarten vineyard in Urzig, Mosel.

The Wineous blog by Steve Slatcher.

Graham Roddel’s WSET diploma topic- ‘Minerality in Wine: Fact, Fun, or Fiction’ and the survey he asked people to fill out.


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Dusty October 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Dissolved or not, the snake wine sounds very scary. I don’t think I could drink it without thinking I’d been slightly poisoned or something. The one with the snake in the bottle is worse.

That said, you should definitely bring it out for Halloween!


whitney & christina October 2, 2012 at 9:07 pm

I don’t think the one I tried was poisonous but it certainly wasn’t pleasant!


Steve Slatcher October 2, 2012 at 8:00 pm

Nice to hear you kicking around ideas in my blog post, but some of the views you disagreed with in the podcast were not my own. I certainly agree with you that sulphurous and reductive notes seem distinct from any notion of minerality, but a link has been suggested by others, and I do wonder if those less sensitive to reduction might perceive it as minerality. Also I don’t think I ever said you never find salt in wine, though I might have said somewhere (I am not sure where) that it is relatively rare. But it is no big deal – anyone who cares enough can check for themselves what I really think. Thanks for your interest!


whitney & christina October 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Hi Steve, apologies for assigning views to you that weren’t your own. After re-reading I realise you were talking about others’ ideas. I do wonder the same, whether sulphurous notes can be perceived as minerals (although after tasting a lot of natural wines with little to no added sulphur that have mineral qualities, there does seem a distinct difference…but easy to see how they could be confused). You referred to rarely finding salty qualities in wines when talking about ions. Personally I find salty qualities in wines often but again, as these discussions prove, it is so personal! In any case, you article was really interesting and certainly sparked much discussion from us, so thank you! -Christina


Leslie October 6, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I really liked this podcast! It made me feel so much better about my palate, which I have been working on. Fruity, spicy, acidic, oaky, I get. Blackberry, blueberry, cherry, GOOSEBERRY – not so much!


Whitney and Christina October 7, 2012 at 7:02 am

Thanks Leslie! Don’t worry I didn’t know what the heck a gooseberry was until I moved to Britain! Specific fruit flavours aren’t important; how balance, texture, acidity, alcohol, oak, etc all work together (or not) is really the main bit. Keep practicing! :-) -Christina


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