May 12th, 2009

Strawberry Floor Wax

My longtime pal Chris Pratt and his Antipodean friend Julian Coldrey have a wine blog, Full Pour, that I read with great pleasure, even though I know very little about wine and get to drink it with others even less. I'm sure someone has written eloquently about how the art of describing what something tastes like, especially something as complex and mutable as wine, involves a good deal of accidental surrealism. The difference in the case of entries like this one, one of my favorite examples of Chris's style, is that the surrealism is deliberate and therefore all the more awesome, making the prose seem to transcend its topic entirely, if you aren't reading to sate your oenophilia:
Anyhow, if such a thing as strawberry floor wax exists, then surely it smells like this. Scratch that, it smells like Soviet bloc "strawberry" ice cream dreamed up in an East German cooperative, manufactured from apples and Bulgarian grapes. It is, however, enchanting in its oddness, dredging up memories I'm absolutely sure aren't mine of Russian tea rooms with small cakes that appear more painted than frosted.
It's hard to imagine anyone other than the inimitable Mr. Pratt writing those sentences, which makes them even more delightful to those who know and love him. For my part, I'm also intrigued by the notion that this description could be transposed, unaltered, to the realm of music criticism, where the use of metaphors from far afield is also prevalent. The harder it is to capture something in words, the more important it is to select words that simulate that something with the power of association.