Crap Tasting Note of the Year: Fruit Salad award

fruit salad
Pic: Rob 'vermeer' Johnson

The ‘Fruit Salad’ category of our Crap Tasting Note of the Year awards is where words come to play. And then die.

It’s for those notes where you get the impression the writers are just chucking out whatever comes into their head, possibly adding in a bit of Thesaurus action for good measure.

Why do they do this? We don’t know. Perhaps they think long tasting notes make them look clever.

We’re here to tell you they don’t.

The Fruit Salad Note of the Year

‘cherry oak tobacco leather vanilla plum black cherry black fruit mushroom cassis licorice balsamic prune cedar dark chocolate earthy coffee mocha cigar cigar box caramel nutmeg baking spice sandalwood creme brulee toffee minerals’

Garret Abraham Penning, Vivino, writing about Baron de Chirel Rioja (five stars)

This entry went straight to the top of the pile when it first came to our attention. And stayed there. There’s just so much to love. The total lack of punctuation. Or verbs. Or anything approaching a sentence structure, to name but three.

Like the great beat poets of the 1960’s, this note removes any extraneous baggage. It’s tasting note by deconstruction. Like sticking a probe into a liquid and getting its chemical composition. It’s hard to pick a favourite element, but trying to work out what ‘earthy coffee’, ‘coffee mocha’ or ‘mocha cigar’ might be kept us amused for a while. The final, slightly desperate ‘minerals’ is a perfect comic close.

We can imagine Garret Abraham (King of Writing Spam) typing as if possessed; he is no longer of this realm, but is merely a conduit through which the true nature of flavour can be known and revealed

Our only friend in the wine world @wineman147 has brilliantly put this to music. If you’re a Fake Booze supporter, you can see it on the video page on our website. If you’re too tight to give us £4 a month, tough tits. You’ll have to make do with this screenshot.


‘Tart green apple, fresh grass, squeezed lime. Sour green grapes, river stones, underripe white peach. Playfully bright and linear bursts of gooseberry, white grapefruit and citrus peel radiate with crisp and zippy delight as subtle overtones of white blossom and elderflower contribute a layer of beautifully delicate floral charm. Hints of mowed lawn and mint leaf gently emerge to expose delicate grassy notes that integrate seamlessly with the snappy and youthful fruit. Wonderfully clean rocky minerality rounds out the display with a streak of invigorating freshness, while a distinct stainless steel twang follows it close behind. Loveably light-hearted, primary and fruit driven on the palate while further livened by pops of spritzy effervescence; exhibiting an unpretentious yet thirst quenching profile that is dry, tangy and just plain fun.’

Unknown Blogger, writing about Maker Wine’s Sparkling Sauvignon 2020

Never before in the field of human conflict (otherwise known as Wine Twitter) has so much been said, by so few, for absolutely no reason at all.

There are three things you need to bear in mind when looking at this entry. A) it’s Sauvignon Blanc; B) it’s fizzy; C) it’s in a can. This entire note could have been replaced with ‘tastes like Sauvignon Blanc’ or – at a push the single word ‘grassy’. Though the image of citrus peel ‘radiating with crisp and zippy delight’ is one we’re having a hard time shaking.

It is often polite to dress up disappointment, to ease the blow. This tasting note has been to Saville Row, bought the finest smoking jacket it could afford, and proceeded to vomit all over the front of it.

‘A waft of ristretto coffee – first run – synergises with soy and a dark char, almost tar and pitch… bright red fruits conspire to create an amalgam, a continuum of flavour basking texturally avec sheen, gloss. These fruits do not travel solo – chinotto, licorice, bread and butter pudding flavours peddle (sic) in parallel, quietly courted by stylish oak.’

Penfolds press release, describing Bin 150 Shiraz

Have you ever drunk the strongest coffee you could find then buried your face in molten asphalt as its being laid? This is the kind of tough, probing question that wine drinkers want to be asked. Not just asked, but then given the answers to.

There is an awful lot of crap to fall in love with here. Not just coffee, but ristretto coffee. And not just ristretto coffee, but first run ristretto coffee. Flavours don’t mingle, they ‘synergise’ or ‘conspire to create an amalgam’. Certainly they don’t ‘travel solo’. It’s like a note written by Jane Austen’s sister who works in marketing.

By the end of it all, we wanted to know whether the bright red fruits would have freed themselves of the evil attentions of the tar and pitch and peddled (!) off into the distance with the gentlemanly ‘stylish oak’. Or whether they’re stuck at home having to read this dross for eight hours a day waiting for Mr Darcy.

‘The nose is very perfumated with Turkish rose oil, rose petals, bergamot, dried mandarin orange, lots of fresh raspberry, violin rosin, a hint of musk, nutmeg and an overtone of old port, toast and slate. After warming up in the glass it became smoky, nutty with walnuts. I got a hint of sandalwood, patchouli and that lovely smell of old red currant confiture and quince jelly. When you give it time in the glass you get cured para ham and an impression of leather and lots of Alsatian patisserie. In the mouth this is elegant, sexy, dynamic but also compact. On the palate you get raspberry, goji berry, dried redcurrant, bramble, a hint of fino sherry (Bolly gout anglaise is back!) and dry toast with lovely acidity of kumquat, mandarin orange, redcurrant and a rather dark – going towards graphite – minerality topped off with rose pepper corns.’

Michiel Demarey, Champagnist website, on Bollinger Rosé 2006

Sometimes, perhaps only once in every three or four generations, a tasting note comes along that unites all wine lovers; bringing joy to seasoned professionals and the casual Friday imbiber alike.

This is not such a note.

Legend has it that the author was challenged to write a note so cumbersome and unwieldly that it could pass for a piece of performance art, but backed out at the last minute.

Astonishingly, this lumbering dross is an abbreviated version of the original note, which was sent to us by someone who has clearly got a longer attention span than we do.

We have tried to read this note from start to finish several times and failed on each occasion. Even the excitable high camp of ‘Bolly gout anglaise is back!’ can’t keep us awake. Which is why, although this is utter, utter piss, because it is – literally – unreadable we couldn’t give it first prize.

The actual full note is about the length of War and Peace. Rumour has it that M Demarey began work on it when still a schoolboy and is expected to finish it around his 90th birthday.

Two observations. First, we think ‘nutty with walnuts’ might be the title of Fake Booze’s autobiography, and second what is the difference between Alsatian patisserie and ordinary patisserie? Unless (which we’d love) he means patisserie baked by Alsatian dogs.

Click here for our review of the They Said What? category and winner.

Like this nonsense? Use the hashtag #thecrappies and, you know, do something with it.

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