Just for Fun

Too Many Notes

We like to think of ourselves as open-minded—we’ve based this entire issue on showcasing wines and foods that have blown away our preconceived notions. But we realized, while writing it, that there are some things that don’t change all that quickly—like words that annoy us in wine and food writing.

Writing on taste is rife with pretension and vagueness, with text that waffles between self-consciously hip and overwrought. It’s a professional hazard for those who make a living expressing in detail how something tastes and feels: Write enough tasting notes and you’re more than likely to lapse into a voice you may not know you had.

So we try to be vigilant, and we’ve essentially banned a number of words from our pages (although some do manage to creep in now and then). And we’ve asked ourselves, what can we do to reconsider our bias against them?

We voted on which words were the most annoying in a tasting note, and some earned a relatively low Staff Annoyance Factor so we liberated them from the dust heap (cluster…precocious…). As for the rest, we looked for a way to repurpose them—stripped down to the most elemental poetry in a haiku. Who could write the winning haiku? This one, authored by Deanna Gonnella, captured the most votes.

succulent chunks of
blubber literally make
me go nom nom nom

(All of us will now think twice before using succulent in our notes…)

This feature appears in the print edition of the Fall 2018.
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