original writing: wine reviewing for the rest of us

April 11, 2013

You know these fancy ass people who pick wines because of the, what, like grapes? And regions? And whatever the hell appellations and varietals are? Poncy snobs. Insufferable.

I employ the same rule for choosing wine and race horses: Get the pretty one. I learned that from my step mom Dale. We don’t always win, but damn we keep good company. In a pinch, it’s also permissible to order whatever the very lovely bartender recommends.

But back to my point, and I do have one. I got so tired of reading these ridiculously otherworldly fancy wine reviews that I decided – well I along with Ellen, my California coast travelling companion last fall – we decided to come up with our own rating system. Now, it would have been splendid had we actually taken note of the actual wine we were actually drinking and apply the reviews, but we got a little tipsy and forgot. So I have randomly assigned wines and wine groups, just to illustrate. And so…

Denise and Ellen’s Wine Ratings Guide™ (aka wine reviewing for the rest of us)

5/5: So, if you poured, for example, any wine with the word “ripasso” on the label…

E&I might give it 5 stars out of 5 and saucily address such a bold wine this way:

Settle down there dude. We heard you the first two times. Full fruit on the tip of the tongue. Weight of a thousand butterflies carrying a mordant level of bad cholesterol.

4/5: If you were brave enough to decant a depanneur merlot…

E&I, knowing that you are savvy enough to appreciate that cheap doesn’t have to mean crappy, would pat you on the back, give your dep plong 4 stars out of 5, and elucidate thusly:

Salty bacon on the aggravating tear on the roof of your mouth; stings a little at first, but pleasantly, numbingly astringent. Finish of dark chocolate, with a whiff of slightly hummy canned pineapple.

3/5: And what about those trailer trash nights when only Gimli Goose or some other plonk is what you want?

E&I would chuckle and give you 3 stars out of 5, for chutzpah, and opine:

Opens with a bouquet of Doctor Pepper drizzled over burnt toast, settling on the tonsils like molasses left too long at the back of the fridge. No real finish. It just kind of walks away and stops acknowledging your texts. Like a guy named Steve.

2/5: But then there are those moments when you’re just trying too damn hard, like with a San Bernadino riesling…

E&I would be a little embarrassed for you, dole out 2 stars out of 5, and mutter:

Peanut butter and apricot jam on the nose, with no Kleenex handy. And even if there were, the tissue would disintegrate and leave tiny strips of jammy tissue hanging off your nose, which the condescending wine bar waiter would point out while calling you “ma’am”.

1/5: And if you dared to swill some chardonnay? ANY chardonnay?

E&I would cleanse our palates with tap water and flick you 1 star out of 5, sadly declaring:

Cheap gum on the nose, with tinny finish, and the longevity (and aftertaste) of a fish fly in early June.

This has been a Rut Dug Inc. Production ™



  1. You talkin’ bout wine or men in this rating system?

    • Oh Kevin (both)

  2. Ha ha ha. Steve RUINED my taste for Gimli Goose. This post was HILARIOUS and I’m going to review my next glass of wine and post it here.

    • I’ll go for the 3/5 myself, fan of Dr. Pepper. Great!

      • Ha!

    • Damnable Steve.

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