This may be more true of wine criticism than most other kinds of writing. A British importer of my acquaintance takes great pleasure in mocking what he calls "the fruit and vegetables" approach that dominates American wine writing. But we Yanks are equally amused (and perhaps a bit put off ) by Brits in the habit of ascribing masculine and feminine characteristics to wine - a favorite Hugh Johnson technique.
I was thinking about this because I recently tasted a wine so purely and simply beautiful it made description gratuitous.
The 2008 Goisot (GWA-zoh) Bourgogne Cotes d'Auxerre was brought to my attention by someone who knew I was working on a column on extreme (austere, high latitude) chardonnay and recommended it as a superb example of the genre. Sadly, the importer/distributor advised that it was out of stock, with no new shipment expected for months. Under these conditions, it didn't seem fair to include it.
Had I done so, what would I have been able to say about it? It's not that this $21 wine is somehow peerless or possessed of a magnificence that renders one speechless. It's just that it has a quality that, seen in a person, would cause you to stop and gaze, and to take real pleasure in the view.
It's a beauty. I won't say more.
Goizot Bourgogne Cotes d'Auxerre is distributed in Massachusetts by Vineyard Road Inc., 781-789-1662.
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ContributorsSheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.
Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.
Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.