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Winespeak: a vinous thesaurus of (gasp!) 36,975 bizarre, erotic, funny, outrageous, poetic, silly and ugly wine tasting descriptors (September 10, 2009)

book review
by Dean Tudor, www.deantudor.com

Winespeak: a vinous thesaurus of (gasp!) 36,975 bizarre, erotic, funny, outrageous, poetic, silly and ugly wine tasting descriptors (WineSpeak Press, 2009; distr. Wine Appreciation Guild, 346 pages, ISBN 978-0-9800648-0-3, $29.95 US paper covers) has been compiled by Bernard Klem. For eight years, Klem has collated wine tasting terms from real wine reviews in English. I'm there. So is Richard Best from Oakville.

Terms are organized in 27 different categories of appearance (clarity, colour, and age), smell and taste (17 here), balance, complexity, typicity, and finish. There are another 20 categories of special collections, such as a series of words describing terroir, chocolate, and minerals – rocks (have we ever sucked rocks?). My fave from these last categories is the description "California Chardonnay is like giving Pinocchio a blow job." Near misses to "health hazard," "can be cellared for up to 10,000 years," and "mutt of the blend."

This may be a fun book, but it is also a serious book: people actually wrote these words. Klem is hard at work on a second edition, and maybe he'll propose some Parker numbers for the words.

Audience and level of use: Wine freaks and completists, new wine writers looking to expand their vocabulary.

Some interesting or unusual facts: None of this was made up.

The downside to this book: He misses a few Internet phrase generators such as the Silly Tasting Note Generator. Also, he misstated my first name as "Anthony" (Anthony Tudor was a ballet choreographer), although my website is correct and so is "Tudor's Faint Praise Index."

The upside to this book: Whew, what a collection, very complete. There should be no complaints. Just memorize everything.

Quality/Price Rating: 91.

 

 

 

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