Wine descriptions, according to Britt and Per

Britt et Per Karsson sont Suédois, mais ils vivent à Paris… quand ils ne courent pas la planète vin, soit pour écrire des guides de vin, soit parce qu’ils organisent eux-mêmes des voyages dans le vignoble, pour des oenophiles.

Ils en profitent bien sûr pour déguster – plutôt bien – et pour raconter ce qu’ils voient et ce qu’ils goûtent, sur leur propre support, BKWine Magazine. Aujourd’hui, ils nous parlent justement, non pas d’une dégustation, mais de la dégustation en général…

Wine descriptions…

How should a wine writer describe a wine so that everyone understands what he/she means? “Excellent” is of course a good word in this context which cannot easily be misunderstood. Possibly it is a bit short although sometimes it can actually be enough.

Some writers choose to write entire novels about each wine and cite characteristics, flavours and aromas endlessly. But too much does not help either.

You need to find the core of the wine. How to best describe the experience. For drinking a wine is all about an experience, a personal experience that you are going to pass on to others. Will the reader better understand a poetic description of the wine than a dry and factual? Can you describe a crispy dry champagne as « the feeling when wading in a mountain stream » and believe that people understand what you mean? Perhaps that is easier to understand than words like minerality, structure and soft tannins?


I remember when we made a visit to Angelo Gaja in Barbaresco a few years ago. He told us that when he is in the United States he often have to « explain » his wines. Americans are accustomed to heavy, powerful wines. They don’t always understand the more complex and elegant charm of a Barbaresco


« I thought long about how to explain the difference between elegant wines and heavy, powerful wines » said Angelo. « I started doing comparisons with actors. The American wines, I said, are like John Wayne, friendly and accessible as an open book. Our wines on the other hand are like Marcello Mastroianni standing in a corner, looking a little grumpy. You have to have the desire to discover them, they require some effort… »

What works for you? What kind of wine descriptions give you the best information? Let us know!

Britt & Per Karlsson

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