The Ooh! Oooh!! Ooooh!!!

               Wine rating system!

 

Wine lovers who are foolish enough - or simply far too curious - sooner or later end up discovering the various rating systems wine professionals have devised to play with each other’s minds and baffle the wine buying public.  Pay no attention!

The Five Star system is visually very friendly.  But unless the wine is made in Hollywood or sold in Texas (where they must have a lot of truly feeble Lone Star wines) who really cares how many stars it gets? 

Magazines like ‘The Wine Dictator, ‘Wine Excess’ and ‘The Wine Avocado’ usually use a point system to rate wines.  Whether it is the 100 point system or the 20 point system the idea is that a bunch of wines are tasted blind.  The results are presented as scientifically analytical assessments. Hmmmm….

Simple $12 wines often get the same 87/100 points (or 17.5/20 points) that $95 blockbuster ultra-deluxe wines get. You have to wonder whether blind refers very subtly to the sensory impairment of the panel of judges.  Who shuffled the corks on their abacuses?

An alternative to this suspicious bafflegab is the Ooh! Oooh!! Ooooh!!! system.  Totally casual, stridently subjective and gloriously hedonistic, this system can be used – and often is – by less than professional wine lovers.  Although you’ve surely already seen it in action, you may, in fact and unknowingly have used it yourself.

The “Ooh!” in a One Ooh! Wine is that pleasant surprise that sometimes comes with the first sip of an untried wine.  Roughly translated it means:  “This stuff’s pretty good!  What did it cost?  Maybe I should get more, anyway.”  J.J. McWilliam Cabernet Merlot (300236) $9.99 is a fuzzy puppy kind of easy-drinking red blend from Australia. 

 

Jose Maria da Fonseca Albis (156059) $11.99 is a blend of 75 per cent Moscatel de Setubal with 25 per cent Arinto from tiny Setubal, near Lisbon on the Portuguese coast. This is a crisp “dry” white with delicate hints of lychee fruit and pineapple riding on a base of lemon, lime and grapefruit.


The “Ooh! Oooh!!” in a Two Oooh!! Wine comes after that first “Ooh!”  This kind of wine turns out to have a lot more layers of flavour flaring up in your mouth.  Roughly translated it means: “ What a beauty!  Who brought this?  I’m going to have to find out where they got this yummy stuff and how to get some more.” 
 

If you bought a Two Oooh!! Wine like The Wild Olive ‘Old Vines’ Chenin Blanc (205922) $12.99 yourself, you’ll be starting to pat yourself on the back because other people with the same wine in their glasses will be making awed and appreciative noises, too.  The underlying tart apple flavours of  this rich South African white  are dusted with a quietly earthy edge.  Oooh!  Oooh!!

 

A Two Oooh!! Value from France, Cote Mas Languedoc Reserve (486639) $15.99 blends Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvèdre into a rich, ripe red that slides seamlessly through mixed black berry fruit, sun-drenched sage and sand and finished with a subtle twist of dark oak – ‘Rural Luxury’ at an affordable price!

The “Ooh! Oooh!! Ooooh!!!” in a Three Ooooh!!! Wine can come right after the first sip and is often driven by intense and concentrated aromas and flavours so rich that they seem to coat the insides of your mouth like silky honey or black truffles.  No experience is necessary to make this kind of assessment. You just have to really like the stuff.

The wine has to be indescribably delicious and your enjoyment and appreciation must exceed your ability to turn what is, after all, a very sensual and hedonistic experience into mere words.  Sometimes these three “Oooohs!!!” are soft little gasping sounds.  Don’t put your glass down when there are other wine lovers around. 

Joie Noble Blend 2013 (882027) $23.90 is an astonishingly tasty white BC VQA blend of Gewürztraminer and Riesling with a dab of Pinot Auxerrois, a splash of Pinot Blanc and Muscat and a dash of Schönburger.  Three Oooohs!!!

 

There’s definitely Three Oooohs!!! of complexity in Tridente Tempranillo (189852) $26.99 from Spain’s Castilla y León region.  After 15 months spent in oak this 100 per cent Tempranillo oozes ripe red and black fruit flavours and teases the taste buds with lingering undercurrents of dark chocolate and coffee.

 

WineWise can be reached by email at douglas_sloan@yahoo.com