Quaffable. It’s a great word, isn’t it? But, like many good things that have been employed too frequently (Johnny Depp, for example), has sadly picked up a few negative connotations along the way.
A case in point: As I sat, fossicking around my brain for a word to describe this wine, I thought I had stumbled upon the right one when I whispered to myself, “mmmm, quaffable”. To which my bat-eared partner (in sensitivity, not size) responded: “That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it?”
I knew what she meant, of course. But felt sure that quaffable was still correct. Surely in its truest sense, it merely meant that one would like to drink a lot of it, right?
As is normally the case in this situation, I demurred, and, after what seemed like an appropriate length of time, discreetly consulted my phone for the answer. The Oxford English Dictionary commences thus:
quaffable adj. (of a beverage) pleasant and easy to drink, esp. in quantity
For the briefest of moments, vindication was mine! Alas, just as I was elasticising my joints sufficiently to do my finest, jubilant, drunken Jack Sparrow dance, I noticed that the entry did not stop there:
… frequently used of wine which is palatable but not outstanding
My heart sank, just like when old Johnny made his cameo at the end of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Evidently the word quaffable, like the depreciating Depp, does not carry with the social cachet it once might have.
As the OED is the self-proclaimed “definitive record of the English language” it’s hard to argue with. Also, I don’t think I’d emerge victorious disputing semantics with the millions of people using the word in that context today.
But I wonder … I wonder … if for this wine, and maybe this wine alone, could I perhaps convince you that for once (just this once), we use the “q” word in a more positive way? After all, it is easy to drink, but in a delectable sort of refined way.
It is light of colour (even a large pour could not conceal the bottom of my glass), and light of style, with a faint whiff of rose petals on the nose. And, if that doesn’t sound classy enough, I noted when it went down that there was a fine acidity that reminded me of some of the best rosés. An acidity that was not jarring, but clean.
Like a great vodka and the best oysters, somehow the beauty of this is that it glides down without making a big deal of it. The flavour of raspberry and soft herbs fleetingly touch your taste buds as the liquid goes through, like a runner high-fiving people as he’s jogging down the home stretch. And then it settles in your belly, warm and inviting, waiting for you to send through some more delicious drops to join it.
And if that doesn’t sound like a wine you would want a whole lot more of. That doesn’t sound palatable and outstanding. That doesn’t seem eminently quaffable … Well, then I don’t know what does.
Cognitive Bias: Glass totally full