In my previous item I wrote of the bullshit imbued world of art criticism and the unadulterated nonsense many reviewers indulge in, particularly with so-called installation art. Tracy Emin’s unmade bed, capturing both awards and rave reviews, epitomised this. It was an unmade bed for God’s sake and had no artistic or creative aspects. But I also raised the possibility there was another activity which attracted similar hyperbolic imagination and excessive verbiage, and that is wine criticism.


Cathay Pacific’s first-class passengers’ wine list currently includes “Chris Ringland Shiraz Barossa Valley 2007” and is described so (I’m not making this up). “Aromas of Christmas pudding, chocolate raisins and brambleberry jam with hints of spices and vanilla; a velvety palate with wild blackberries and smoky biscuit dough; a fresh finishes fresh, with lingering dark chocolate and rhubarb compote.” That, I’m sure readers will agree, is world-class bullshit. I especially liked a “fresh finishes fresh” gibberish. To write this nonsense requires either insanity or an obsession with piss-taking. If the latter, then I concede it must be a fun career and frankly would thoroughly enjoy a few days at it myself.


Mind you, to an extent I did in writing my 2003 novel True Facts. This was about a newspaper targeting the underclasses in which all the “news” was made up. Writing that made me realise what fun the poseur art and wine reviewers have. I had stories such as “Boy born with horses head due to sperm bank balls-up”, “600 lbs. woman marries 68-year-old retired jockey” – you get the picture.


Here’s an interesting point re this issue. To the best of my knowledge all the bullshit purveying art and wine critics are male. Why? Do women lack the imagination? That’s one possibility, but my explanation based on extensive and diverse experiences with the buggers is they don’t like taking the mickey and see it as unkind to mislead the innocent.



But I believe many horoscope writers are women, and they are bullshit artists in a league of their own.

I recall reading an expansive but ridiculous description of a Western Australian white wine which ended “…and to finish the harmonious palate there’s a manly clout of apricot!” I do not know anyone who clouts others with fruits of any description. This type of trite absurdity must surely distract wine drinkers from the real message which any plonk may actually deliver? I recall a John Cleese skit (circa 1972) which was concerned with self-defence where one was being attacked by persons armed with various types of fruits and vegetables..”How would you like it were I to attack you with a handful of loganberries?”

“Overtones of wet dog and old saddle leather”. Heard at the Chard Farm cellar door circa 2001 by a lovely host who knew how to take the piss with a straight face.

Yes, that ‘fresh finishes fresh’ is a bit puzzling. For some reason, I first thought of the smell from a freshly polyurethaned floor, but that’s possibly not what the writer meant.

There is always this write up on Purple Death by it’s own makers:

‘An unusual “Rough-as-Guts” aperitif that has the distinctive bouquet of horse-shit and old tram tickets. It is best drunk with teeth clenched to avoid foreign bodies. Possessors of a cultivated palate will admire the initial assault on the taste buds which comes from the careful and loving blending of animal manure and perished jock straps strained through an old miners sock. The maturing in small pigs bladders gives it a very definite nose.

Marketed under the Saviour Brand (9 out of 10 people who drink it for the first time exclaim “Je-e-esus Chri-i-ist”).

Caution keep away from ‘naked flames’ (both old and new)’


No bore like a wine bore…

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