Why descriptors like masculine and feminine are really outdated
Hello! This is 2018! Why are we adding gender descriptors to wine? Not to sound like a super woke social justice warrior, but terms like masculine and feminine are two of the worst wine descriptors we have ever heard of. It was supposed to help us differentiate between lighter and fuller bodied wines, or wines that were delicate versus wines that have a lot of powerful flavors. However you look at it though, they just got everything wrong.
Whats wrong with calling a wine masculine or feminine?
When these terms first started cropping up they echoed a stuffy wine culture that thought women drank delicate wines and men drank heavy wines. Masculinity was initially supposed to describe a wine that was complex, where the flavors were powerful. Feminine meant that the wine had a subtle elegance without being flat and unpleasant. Then we gave it too much credit and as a culture decided that drinking a "masculine" wine was for men and "feminine" wine was for women. But suggesting a wine is somehow gendered shut it off to half of wine lovers and drinkers because on the face you are saying that this wine is not meant for this person.
You still see it a lot out there amongst even the most casual of wine drinkers. Men the world over will stick to Cabernet Sauvignon and not stray as if drinking the heaviest, biggest, fullest body red wine is the manliest thing they can do because somebody once described a Cabernet as being masculine.
Culturally, we are moving away from this bullshit.
We can live how ever we want to. We can wear what we want to, love who we want to, eat whatever we want to, and speak out about whatever we want to. So why do people judge what we drink? To this day people still look at the man who ordered a Rose with suspicion as they do when a woman orders a Syrah. I have been on countless business dinners where the men all proclaim that they drink nothing other than full bodied red wines, and then ask the women if they can handle it. Enough! Its just fucking wine!
Yes, wine has character, and sometimes we personify it without reason. There is a romance to how we describe wines as if they were a person we desired. But often these are traits that are shared equally between men and woman, be they gay, straight, or trans. The full bodied characteristic of your favorite red wine is not something to hold above someone, but rather something exciting to share with everyone.
As Jon Bonne says in his book New Wine Rules, "wine is complex enough, there's no need to bring gender into it."
So how should we be talking about wines?
When we talk about a wine here at Vynl we try and stay as neutral in our descriptions as possible. We want the person on the other end to feel what we are feeling, but allow them to fill in the rest based on their loves and desires. When we describe a wine as dark and sexy, we hope that the person reading it see's their ideal of they think dark and sexy is, not ours.
The idea is to paint a picture for somebody without overwhelming them. Let them experience the wine on their own terms. Using terms like powerful or subtle, rugged or smooth, delicate, light, balanced, and nuanced are all perfect terms that need no expansion. If we describe wines in the broadest terms possible we allow them to be appreciated by as many people as possible as well.
At the end of the day ask yourself these questions? Are full bodied red wines reserved for those competing on manliness? No. Is the reason you described the wine as feminine because you think it should only be drunk by women? No! So why describe your wines like that? This is 2018! Stop assuming the wine's gender or assuming the gender of the wine drinker.