First the good news from October's two editions. Phrases like "just a baby" (A.N.), "will need some cellaring to stretch out fully" (J.M.), "powered by the racy acidity" (A.N.), "rustic in character" (B.S.) and "ballerina of a wine" (A.N.) all tell me about the style of the wine much more than blathering on about fruit specifics.
However, more bizarre examples ruled the roost. Some one please explain to me how "layered flavors of...furniture polish" (A.N.) could possibly lead to a 93 point rave about a riesling? Or how the descriptor "eau-de-vie" (a colorless fruit brandy) could appear in four of the top five ratings for white Chateauneuf-du-Pape? Should we assume a higher alcohol level makes the better wine? Or how "winey" (J.M.) is allowed to appear in three reviews? Isn't that oenological cop out the equivalent of "it tastes like chicken?" Or how a 91 point, $85 wine could have "gritty tannins" (B.S.) in the review?
I bet I can get a $6 red wine to taste like it was "laced with hints of Campari" (J.M.) rather than spend $75 on a St. Joseph. For a $45 bottle of Vino Nobile di Montepulciano I might want more than "an impression of weightlessness" (B.S.) unless it's for me and I could float around the room by consuming a glass.
Then we find bizarre notes like "sweet stargazer lily" (A.N.), "flash of quinine" (J.M.) and the overly specific "Kenya AA coffee notes" (J.M.). Double takes no doubt followed the reading of "oatmeal and mace overtones" (H.S.) in a 94 point syrah review. I assume the cooking spice is being referenced but there are no guarantees. I have not idea what "green almond" (J.M.) tastes like but would look for something less than $49 to experiment. I had to look up "bilberry" (B.S.) and "plumeria" (M.W.).
Now this post is getting too long and my energy has been sapped too much to complete the purpose of this post. Promise it will appear tomorrow...