gcdyersb wrote:Mostly poetic license in my opinion. It's not that people aren't experiencing the flavors they note, though there are probably some fakers out there. But they are overly specific given how individual sensory thresholds and sensory experiences vary. It's all done by analogy, and overly specific descriptions lose the forest for the trees.
Orange or citrus would be just fine instead of tangerine zest as far as I'm concerned. When reading notes it's good to interpolate back. Lists of citrus fruits, or stone fruits (plums, cherries), or flowers, or spices give you a broader sense of the components.
I read somewhere that scientists have actually done studies and found that the human palate, even for so-called "supertasters," is physiologically incapable of distinguishing more than three or four flavors when combined in food, so it's a little absurd to think it's possible with wine. Still, in defense of people who reel off seven or eight discrete components in their tasting notes (myself included), they typically don't all show up at once.
As well, many times I think the flavors a taster picks out are more psychological than actual, when the wine merely hints at something which the mind amplifies and recalls some obscure taste memory which may not be entirely accurate but is the closest frame of reference the taster has (like "tangerine zest"). Or it could just be tasting note writers trying to sound pretentious, see, e.g., Parker's "pain grille," "grilled/roasted Provencal herbs," and the classic "spice box".
Ultimately, though, I try to focus my notes, or at least make mention of, the much more crucial but often overlooked elements that really dictate how a wine feels - heat, acidity, and the balance thereof, sweetness/dryness, body, ripeness, minerality, etc. Parker's minions can list off a bunch of tasty dark fruits, black pepper, and a "91," but I may still hate the Shiraz if it's hot and cloying. Ah well, c'est la vie.
Lawyer (of sorts) by day. Drinker of fine wines, homebrewer of fine beers, connoisseur of fine Scotches by night.
The current holdings.