When I was a high school student I won the 7th form Art cup. I would like to claim that it was due to my outstanding artistic talents but alas there were only two students in the Whakatane High School Seventh form Art class. I drove my poor Art teacher at the time to distraction with my cynical comments on Art criticism and mocked some of the creative names created by artists for their art. I used to make up the most ridiculous titles for my artworks and occasionally even managed to make my Art teacher laugh.

National treasure Bob Jones has a cynical view of both art criticism and wine criticism.

In my previous item I wrote of the bullshit imbued world of art criticism and the unadulterated nonsense many reviewers indulge in, particularly with so-called installation art. Tracy Emin’s unmade bed, capturing both awards and rave reviews, epitomised this. It was an unmade bed for God’s sake and had no artistic or creative aspects. But I also raised the possibility there was another activity which attracted similar hyperbolic imagination and excessive verbiage, and that is wine criticism.

How many times have you read the description of an ordinary bottle of wine on the bottle and wondered at the creativity displayed by the writer?

[…] (I’m not making this up). “Aromas of Christmas pudding, chocolate raisins and brambleberry jam with hints of spices and vanilla; a velvety palate with wild blackberries and smoky biscuit dough; a fresh finishes fresh, with lingering dark chocolate and rhubarb compote.” That, I’m sure readers will agree, is world-class bullshit. I especially liked a “fresh finishes fresh” gibberish. To write this nonsense requires either insanity or an obsession with piss-taking. If the latter, then I concede it must be a fun career and frankly would thoroughly enjoy a few days at it myself.


In his blog post at No Punches Pulled Bob reveals that surprisingly most art and wine critics are male.

[…] Why? Do women lack the imagination? That’s one possibility, but my explanation based on extensive and diverse experiences with the buggers is they don’t like taking the mickey and see it as unkind to mislead the innocent.

I did a quick google search to find some more examples of wine hyperbole for your enjoyment. Check these two descriptions out.

Forrest Chardonnay 2015

Bright straw-yellow in color, the bouquet is seamless with aromas of delicious lemon pudding and stone fruit, framed with biscuity, mealy nuances. The palate has medium weight with a beautiful creamy mouth feel, balanced with vibrant acidity, exuding flavors of buttery pastry and an almond, pear tarte tatin, enveloped with subtle French oak. The wine has great length with the minerality lingering on the finish.

Great length huh? Buttery pastry? Lemon pudding?

Ceres Swansong Pinot Gris 2017

Some chalky minerals unfold with eration. Dry to taste and medium-full bodied, the palate has intense and concentrated flavours of white stonefruits, acacia and exotic florals, along with nuances of honeysuckle. This has very good depth, and the mouthfeel follows a very fine, textural, phenolic line with soft and balanced acidity. The palate flows with good drive to a lingering finish. This is a tightly bound, exotic fruited dry Pinot Gris with palate weight and texture, and good drive.

Chalky minerals? Exotic florals? Nuances of Honeysuckle? You have to hand it to Bob he makes a good point.


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