There are simple onomatopoetic words, like pop, rattle, snap, or click, that merely sound like what they mean. Then there are words that aren’t onomatopoetic, aren’t purely about their sound, but are mostly about their sound. These words might be rooted in old languages, but they’ve endured because they’re evocative.
There are plenty of such words in food writing, like crispy, which makes you crunch your tongue and sparkle your lips, just as you do when you bite into something that shatters. Or chewy, which makes you squinch your mouth forward and backward as you say it, just like chewing.
Some of my favorite non-onomatopoetic food words are succulent, delectable, luscious—they’re juicy to say, too. They make your mouth water.
Those are the three right words for this wine. It’s 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc, organically dry-farmed in Grgich’s estate vineyards in American Canyon and Carneros. It was harvested ripe—23 degrees Brix—but still with terrific acidity. About 80 percent of the fruit was vinified in neutral French foudres, with the balance in used small barrels. The wine was raised on lees in neutral oak. The finished total acidity clocks at a crackly 7.4 g/L.
The wine is, in a word, succulent. Its mineral aromatics mingle with passion fruit, yellow citrus, and pineapple, but once inside it’s sharply focused. The flavor skews toward rhubarb and lemon-lime, a blazing beam of acidity through the center of the glass, but its countervailing ripe and luscious fruits render it expansive.
It’s hard to imagine doing any better than this.
14.1% abv | $31 (sample)