I came across something interesting this morning whilst reading a few of my favourite blogs over breakfast. As you may have ascertained, from some of my past posts on Vinsanity, I am not a fan of wine reviews in general and I personally think the 100 point wine rating scale is a load of phooey!
A certain Dan Sogg, who used to work for The Wine Spectator, has a new blog: thesoggblog. However, it was not one of Mr. Sogg's posts that caught my attention but rather a comment on his post from a gentleman called Tom Ferrell. I have no idea who Tom is (so I can't give him proper credit) but his comment went something like this;
"...an interesting exercise is to go to the Wine Spectator web site and search, sort, show, copy and paste wine descriptions into a document, then after you have accumulated a bunch, cut and paste all that verbiage into a word counting tool (like http://www.writewords.org.uk/word_count.asp). The tool will list all the words and show the number of times each is used. If, for example, you do this for the 303 Cabs that scored 95-100 at W.S. you will see that, after sorting out non-descriptive words (the, and, J.L., Napa, etc), the three most widely used descriptive words are “black”, “rich”, and “ripe”. Do the same for the first 303 Cabs they list that scored 84 and the most often used words are “cherry”, “currant”, and “plum.” For the high scoring Cabs the word “concentrated” is toward the top at number six, whereas for Cabs scoring 84 “concentrated” is in 39th position. Whether you do this for Pinot, Zin, Chardonnay, or any varietal it is easy to see that for the critic who judges wine, dozens of them at a time, size definitely matters."
I don't have time to perform such nonsense as cutting and pasting wine reviews and the suchlike, so I am simply going to take Tom at his word. Besides, I already knew that "black, rich, and ripe" were synonyms for cult, overpriced, and unobtainable.
Wine reviews...gotta love 'em!