A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from September 06, 2013

"Winespeak” is the specialized language used in the wine industry. “Winespeak” can involve a technical term (such as “foxy,” from “fox grapes") or a lengthy wine description ("Are you thinking of something rich, ripe and generous, buzzing with honey, pear and vanilla aromas and flavors?"). The term “winespeak” was used by Michael Pakenham of Knight-Ridder Newspapers in 1977 and was popularized in the title of a book, The Illustrated Winespeak: Ronald Searle’s Wicked World of Winetasting (1983) by Robert Searle.

A similar term is “menuspeak.”

23 March 1977, Chronicle-Telegram (Elyria, OH), “Most wine consumed in the area of winery” by Michael Pakenham (Knight News Wire), pg. C-7, col. 1:
They go on healthily, yielding commercially significant quantities of wine made primarily from native American grapes (vitus labrusca) with their characteristic rather hard-edged, grapey flavor, called “foxy” in winespeak, from the early European settlers’ designation of those wild vines as “fox grapes.”

12 November 1978, Odessa (TX) American, “A Tasted of Wine”: by Michael Pakenham (Knight News Wire), pg. 4AA, col. 8:
For anyone who reads about wine or buys odd bottles here and there the Schoonamker book is the most efficient extant reference for decoding winespeak and tracking down elusive obscurities.

11 September 1980, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “A Step-By-Step Guide To Wine Evaluation” by Michael Pakenham (Knight-Ridder News Service), sec. 7, pg. 1, col. 1:
AREN’T SUCH efforts simply exercises in pretentious winespeak?
(Col. 3—ed.)
Try to get in the habit of taking notes on wine. Very personal ones are for no one’s eyes but your own (thus avoiding the Satanic temptations of pretentiousness or obscurantist winespeak).

OCLC WorldCat record
The illustrated winespeak : Ronald Searle’s wicked world of winetasting.
Author: Ronald Searle
Publisher: London : Souvenir Press, 1983.
Edition/Format: Book : English

16 June 1983, The Times-Picayune (New Orleans, LA), “Learn winespeak to recall why you liked what you sipped” by Michael Pakenham (Knight-Ridder Newspapers), sec. 9, pg. 11, col. 2:
Take foxy. That’s a winespeak word from a now-abandoned term, fox grapes, that was used to distinguish native North American grapes, vitus labrusca, from traditional European wine grapes, vitus vinifera.

New York (NY) Times
WINE TALK; Warning: Winespeak Can Often Intoxicate
Published: January 19, 1994
“A red wine, sir? Would you like it dark and brooding, or would you prefer something positively hedonistic, with loads of unbridled delicious fruit?

“And you, madam, would you rather a white wine? Are you thinking of something rich, ripe and generous, buzzing with honey, pear and vanilla aromas and flavors? Or a wine that towers over others in its category and keeps pumping out the apricot, pineapple and pepper flavors on its extremely long, classy finish?”

The wine industry has made impressive gains in recent years in the vineyard and in the winery. Less so on the printed page. Welcome to winespeak, the cork sniffers’ lingua franca.

OCLC WorldCat record
WineSpeak : a vinous thesaurus of (gasp!) 36,975 bizarre, erotic, funny, outrageous, poetic, silly, and ugly wine tasting descriptors. Who knew?
Author: Bernard Klem
Publisher: Stamford, CT : WineSpeak Press, ©2009.
Edition/Format: Book : English : 1st ed
Database: WorldCat
Summary: A thesaurus of 36,975 wine tasting descriptors into 20 special collections extracted from 27 categories so you can locate exactly the right term or phrase to express yourself clearly or to understand others.

The Telegraph (UK)
Winespeak – what wine experts really mean
Experts cram their tasting notes with cryptic comments and mysterious acronyms. Victoria Moore helps decode them.
By Victoria Moore
7:00AM BST 06 Sep 2013
‘DNPIM” the man next to me wrote in his notebook after setting down his glass. He underscored it twice. Oh dear. That bad? DNPIM is wine taster code. It stands for Do Not Put In Mouth. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Friday, September 06, 2013 • Permalink