An eccentric old man in a straw boater and blazer, wearing a monocle, sitting at a laptop outdoors

Sorry about the unctuosity

We try to keep things simple at Simply Spanish Wine – hence the name. We want the world of wine to be accessible to all and we know that stuffy language can really put people off.

Wine is, after all, an agricultural product. And the people who make it here in Spain are essentially farmers. Honest, down-to-earth people who will tell it like it is. It’s only when it gets into the hands of critics and sommeliers that we start seeing the stuffy language creeping in. Phrases like ‘reminiscent’ or ‘heady aromas’.

We try hard to avoid that. But it’s not always easy.

The other day for example I was putting up a post on Facebook for one of our wines – Casar de Burbia Godello. And as I scanned through our product description, I noticed that we had described the wine as having ‘unctuosity’.

I winced.

“What kind of a word is ‘unctuosity?” I asked myself. One look at that and people would imagine us writing our descriptions wearing a monocle and a straw boater.

So, I rolled up my sleeves and went off in search of an alternative to “unctuous”.

The first options weren’t promising. Oily? Slick? Insincere? Not really - it’s wine, not a cartoon villain.

“Buttery”, was a possibility. Unfortunately, it makes me think of toast, and that’s not a great association to have with white wine.

“Creaminess” is close. But again, the dairy link doesn’t quite work with something that’s also floral and fruity.

What we were trying to say was that the wine fills the mouth in a smooth, lush, textured kind of way and there’s good acidity in there too to stop the wine becoming cloying. There’s a lot going on in terms of flavour and structure, but everything is nicely in balance and as it should be – and all in such a way that you want to gulp it down and take another swig.

In the end ‘unctuosity’ may be a slightly pompous word to use, but we felt it was the one that worked. Perhaps the above paragraph would have been a better option. Either way, we’ll keep trying to keep things simple and, wherever possible, avoid the language of the monocle. But if you do see stuffy language creeping into our pages, please let us know.


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