Astrid of Alphington asks, “Recently a friend passed on a recommendation for bargain French bubbly. I was almost sold, then I read the tasting notes that used the term “meaty”. Now I know I am a vegetarian, but eeew! Is this a flavour anyone wants in their champers?

“Picking up my newspaper today one wine in the Penfolds range, was described as having “mature meaty/gamy” flavours and another as having “‘meaty’ complexity”. Is all this butcher shop terminology some sort of new fad amongst wine writers, and seriously, can a wine taste like meat?”

Wine writers will persist in using language in wine reviews that is incomprehensible to most of their readers. Anthony Hanson once wrote “Great Burgundy smells of sh*t.” I think this is similar to what other writers mean when they say a wine has “barnyard” characteristics.

I imagine that the terms “meaty” and “gamey” are attempts to describe savoury characters found in wine. Those that remind us of roasting meat, bacon etc. The taste “Umami” is used in a similar context. See also the “Maillard Reaction”. Martin.

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