Anorak News | Getting Fruity

Getting Fruity

by | 14th, October 2003

‘HERE try this, it’s a 2003 Times, with an undertone of sulphur and just a hint of sour grapes. We think you’ll like it.

‘Mmmm. I’m sensing Bulgarian moonshine’

Yes, it’s time once again for the annual pillorying of Jilly Goolden, the ebullient wine critic whose television appearances are characterised by effusive descriptions that use the full range of sensory imagery.

This of course doesn’t please some people, who find it ridiculous that flavours such chocolate, vanilla, blackcurrant, cabbage, onion, garlic and bleach can be detected in what is, after all, just a bottle of fermented grape juice.

Leading wine writer Hugh Johnson is one such curmudgeon.

‘Jilly and Oz [Clarke, her TV colleague] are wonderfully entertaining,’ he allows, thus clearly signalling his lethal intentions.

‘I don’t want my favourite subject to be ridiculed,’ he continues. ‘There is a problem when these people list all these flavours and aromas they think they have detected.

‘It gets on to the label of the bottle and what you are looking at appears to be a recipe for fruit salad.’

Johnson argues that when people sniff a rose they don’t smell pineapple and cucumber (speak for yourself, Hugh). ‘It smells like a rose,’ he says, ‘and a bottle of wine smells like wine.’

Maybe so, but we feel that Goolden’s extravagance is preferable to the days, still recent enough to remember, when Britain was a closed book as far as wine was concerned.

The late Auberon Waugh’s words echo down the years: the most depressing words in the English language are ‘Red or white?’ Amen to that.’

Posted: 14th, October 2003 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink