What’s Up With Wine Label Lingo?

Winemaking is considered an art form, but it behooves us to note that writing descriptions for wine bottle labels has become an art form, as well.

Drunk girl sleepingI’ve read numerous wine bottle labels while consuming numerous glasses of wine, so I can say with some authority that this form of writing requires hard work, imagination, and a mastery of obfuscation.

Take, for example, these descriptions from labels of California Zinfandel wines in a recent magazine article:

Lush and textural, with peppery blackberries, mocha, and mineral undertones.

What does this meanWhat does this mean?

My trusty dictionary verifies that one meaning of “lush” is “a drunkard, an alcoholic,” which seems like a strange word to encourage me to drink this beverage.  And “mocha” is “a choice variety of coffee,” which I sure don’t want sobering me up when I’m drinking wine.

Here’s another description:

A gravelly layer full of black pepper and tobacco under generous sweet plum and berry fruit.

driveway_01“Gravelly” – it tastes like my driveway?  And wow – since when is “tobacco” a good thing?

How about this one:

Vibrant, briary berries mix it up with violets, mocha, and espresso through an endless finish.

When I looked up “briary,” my dictionary referred me to the word “brier,” there apparently being no such word as “briary.”  I guess wine description writers have a license to make up words.  Like “zinfandel” – “a word of unknown origin,” which means somebody made that up, too.

And as for “brier,” where the dictionary referred us:  “a tangled mass of prickly plants.”

Yum, yum, pour me some more of that.

green fresh grocery 12-07Let’s get down to basics.  The dictionary defines “wine” as “a fermented juice of grapes,” yet there’s a veritable produce section included in these descriptions.  In addition to the aforementioned blackberries, sweet plum, and berry fruit, various labels advise us we’ll encounter “dark plum, blueberry and raspberry” or “red-fruited beauty” or “blue and black fruit.”

The latter sounds like it was dropped on the supermarket floor numerous times before fermentation.

Always interested in learning new art forms, and figuring I’ve consumed enough wine to qualify, I thought I’d try my hand at writing a few wine descriptions.  First, to round out my vocabulary, I consulted a tutorial at winefolly.com and picked up some words including fat, flabby, fleshy, and food friendly.

This sounds more like a description of me rather than a desirable bottle of wine.

Here are some other terms for neophyte label writers:

Austere Refined
Charcoal Tight
Flamboyant Toasty
Intellectually Satisfying Unctuous

I’ll bet you never knew that squished grapes could be all that.

tuna noodle casserole_02Now thoroughly prepared, here are my efforts:

The angular, earthy, inscrutable, structured bouquet pairs well with meatloaf, kielbasa, and Mom’s tuna noodle casserole.

 The insouciant aromas of peaches, tangerines, and grapefruit plus a kiwi finish will slap you upside the head and make you say, “Yo Mama!”

 Mellifluous overtones and cacophonous undertones make this wine a veritable symphony of harmonious, opulent flavors.

Stone fruits are passionately present in a velvety interfusion of peach pit, plum pit, cherry pit and arm pit.

The elegant, smooth finish from the stainless steel aging barrels always complements your metal dental work.

what-did-she-say-1080x608And finally:

This jabilemno has a hint of plemtoz and oakiness that extrapolate the most discerning ramgrals.

Hey – if they can make up words, so can I.

Something Old, Something New, Why We Do What We Do

June is a big month for weddings, but whenever the Big Day is planned, ask yourself these questions:  Did you know why brides wear a veil?  Carry flowers?

Those and many wedding traditions are based on superstitions that date back hundreds, even thousands of years.  For example…

  1. Bridesmaids: This custom originated in ancient Rome, where the
    ugly bridesmaid dresses
    Can’t wait to wear this frock again.

    bridesmaids would all dress like the bride to confuse evil spirits trying to hurt her.  Today, bridesmaids support an industry making the ugliest dresses in the world that they pay a lot of money for and never, ever wear again.

  1. Groomsmen: Again, an ancient custom, having a bunch of guys around to confuse evil spirits.  Today, groomsmen are responsible for getting the groom sobered up from his bachelor party and into a reasonably upright position at the altar.
bachelor party_01
Dude, love your sister’s dance moves.
  1. The Bachelor Party: An excuse for men to hire a stripper and get drunk, as if men need an excuse to hire a stripper and get drunk.
  1. The Bridal Shower: An excuse for women to go to a club and watch buff, bare-chested men perform erotic dances while the women get drunk, as if women need an excuse, etc.
Where’s HIS white?
  1. The White Wedding Dress: This represents the bride’s purity, so don’t ask me why white wedding dresses also come in maternity versions.  Notice that there’s no corresponding white anything in the groom’s wardrobe to represent his purity.
  1. The Bridal Veil: This dates back to the Middle Ages, when parents arranged marriages and the bride and groom didn’t meet until they were at the altar.  The groom wasn’t allowed to see the bride’s face in case she was a bow-wow and he’d be tempted to run for the nearest exit.
  1. The Bride’s Bouquet: Until the invention of deodorant, for centuries people, quite frankly, stank.  Bathing was an annual event, as was changing your underwear.  Carrying a bouquet meant the bride, for one day in her life, smelled nice.  Everyone else, not so much.
I give it two months.  Maybe three.
  1. The Wedding Cake: Wedding cakes weren’t originally eaten but thrown at the bride for fertility luck.  In ancient Greece, marriages were sealed when the groom smashed a cake over the bride’s head.  Now, couples smash cake into each other’s faces, then post the pictures on Facebook while they’re still at the reception.
  1. Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue: All based on superstition, meant to bring the couple good luck, fortune and fertility.  And, oh yeah – to ward off evil spirits.  And finally…
(l to r) Loser, loser, major loser.
  1. Throwing the Bouquet: This, for a change, has nothing to do with evil spirits. Instead, when the bride tosses the bouquet to her mob of single female friends, it’s her way of saying, “Now I’m married and you losers aren’t.”

Here’s a Win-Win: Help Yourself, Help a Vet

A few years ago my husband and I were in need of a plumber for a faucet issue.  We’d hadn’t had a plumber’s services in quite some time, so I called the first plumber who came to mind – a company that does a lot of TV advertising.

To be fair, the company did tell us ahead of time that there would be a service charge for Plumbertheir technician just to show up.  I didn’t know better, and agreed.  The technician did the work in 30 minutes, for which we paid $262, which I thought was outrageous.  According to my calculator, that’s a going rate of $500+ an hour!

Recently we once again needed a plumber and once again, I tried a couple of other companies I’d seen on TV.  The first one asked numerous questions about our problem, set up and date and time, and then asked our address.  “Oh, we don’t service that area,” she said.  Couldn’t she have asked that in the first place, instead of wasting my time?

The second company did service our area – I’d learned my lesson and asked that, first thing – and gave us an 8am to 10am service window the next day.  When they still hadn’t arrived by 11:35am, I cancelled the appointment, annoyed that I’d wasted an entire morning waiting for the technician to not show up.woman-

And grateful that my plumbing need wasn’t an overflowing toilet.

I tried a couple other companies I found on the Better Business Bureau website, but they were “booked out,” meaning “too busy.”

I’m annoyed.  I’m frustrated.  And I still have a plumbing problem.

Since I live in Oceanside, CA I googled “Oceanside plumbers” and Yelp gave me a “Best 10” list of options, including a five-star rating for Vets 4 You Plumbing, Heating & Air, Vets 4 You“Serving Oceanside and the surrounding area.”

The Vets 4 You website stated that “We offer employment opportunities to vets.  We also support organizations that help disabled veterans…every job gives a financial contribution to nonprofit veteran organizations.”

Well, why not? I thought.  Why not hire a vet for the job?  None of the other service providers had dazzled me, so…

Why not?

Was there a Happy Ending to our plumbing problem?  We were 100 per cent delighted with Vets 4 You:

Day 1:

  1. When I asked, the gentleman who answered the phone said yes, he was a veteran. We agreed on a service window for the next day, from 10am to noon.  The day 1technician, Andrew, also a veteran, arrived at 10:25am.  He was impeccably polite, addressing us as “Sir” and “Ma’am.”
  2. There was no charge for just showing up.
  3. Andrew gave us a written estimate with three options for work on our two toilets, with no pressure to choose one option or even work with Vets 4 You.
  4. Andrew fixed a minor bathroom faucet issue while he was here – no charge.
  5. He said the work would take about two hours.

Day 2:

  1. Our service window was 8am to 10am. Andrew arrived at 8:05am.
  2. He got right to work and was finished in about two hours. The cost was exactly Day-2what we’d agreed on, less a 10% senior discount (Vets 4 You also offers a military discount), and no surprises.  I hate plumbing surprises.
  3. Since then, our toilets are working perfectly.
  4. We felt good about working with a company that employs vets and helps vet organizations.

Darn good.

A simple Internet search pulls up VeteranOwnedBusiness.com with hundreds of veteran-owned businesses (VOBs) all over the country by state, then county, then city.

VOB_03So, say your yard looks like the movie set for Tarzan of the Jungle and you’ve finally decided to do something about it.  A quick click on the Oceanside link gives you Arbor Artistry Tree Service – voila!  You can crosscheck or not as you like – Better Business Bureau, google the company’s name for reviews, look for customer comments posted on their website.

VOBs may not do a lot of high-priced advertising, but who says that’s a bad thing?  As I can attest, what good are annoying ads for companies that over promise and under deliver, and your toilets still aren’t fixed?

Help yourself.  Help a veteran.

Rant: Don’t Book “The Book of Mormon”

In 2011 a new musical opened on Broadway that had people talking – and the awards Tony-Awards-2017-620x360flowing:  Nine Tony Awards including Best Musical; the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award; and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.  People raved, the critics raved, and I – who’d loved musicals since I was a kid – promised myself that if the show ever came to San Diego, I would see it.

The show was The Book of Mormon, and it came to San Diego three years ago.  It came, I saw, and I was disgusted.

And now, it’s returning.

I knew the show was from the creators of South Park, and I’d seen that TV program South_Park_Season_14once.  I thought it was an egregious a waste of time, but I understood why the bathroom humor appealed to my 14-year old nephew.

So I remembered South Park, but I was certain that the creators of The Book of Mormon would have cleaned up their act – literally – for Broadway.  You’re not going to garner prestigious awards for bathroom humor, are you?

Apparently you are.  A lot of awards for a lot of bathroom humor, including a song about defecating in the river, drinking the river water, getting sick, defecating in the river again, drinking the water again and – you get the idea.

man hands over earsThe show’s creators don’t limit themselves to bathroom humor, however; early on we learn that in the African village where the show takes place, most of the people have AIDS.  There’s a thigh-slapper.  And how about that song, Hasa Diga Eebowai, which translates into Fuck You, God.  You’ll walk out of the theater singing that one, for sure.

And yes, there’s more.

Like the jokes about cutting off a clitoris – that’s always amusing.  It’s referred to as “female circumcision” which is as inaccurate as it is offensive.  Then there’s the war lord Woman-With-Hands-Over-Earswho makes several appearances and goes by the name of “Butt-Fucking Naked.”

There’s the dance number where men run around wearing three-foot-long rubber penises, though I never figured out why.  And the village doctor who announces early on that “I have maggots in my scrotum.”  He says it a second and then a third time during the first act, and because that’s so uproariously funny, we got to hear it again as the show’s closing line.

Understand:  I’m not averse to raunchy humor, four-letter words or so-stupid-they’re-funny jokes.  I love satire.  And if someone wants to poke fun at religion – I’m in.

So I don’t dismiss The Book of Mormon as 100% disgusting.  The show has terrific energy, great singers and dancers, and some of the lyrics are catchy and clever.  But all that is good is overwhelmed by the vulgarity, crudity, and just plain inanity.

money shredderNever have so many paid so much for so little entertainment:  In my case, two tickets, a whopping $345.  It appears the same two seats this time around will cost and even more whopping $450.

Plus “fees.”

I’m assuming the show hasn’t changed, so when the The Book of Mormon returns in July, do yourself a favor:  Save your money.

And just watch a couple episodes of South Park.