Describing wine in words is quite a difficult task. It’s certainly one of the challenges for wine writers.
Just listing descriptors isn’t all that helpful.
No matter how exotic they seem.
Metaphors are useful, but they can easily sound contrived. At least, though, they treat the wine as a whole, which is the way we experience it.
I try to make my tasting notes as straightforward and useful as I can, but I’m not sure they are all that good. One thing I find is that I often have descriptors on my mind, just as you might have a tune going round your head that you can’t seem to shake.
When I rewrite tasting notes from a particular day, I find some descriptors appearing with higher than expected frequency. Had I been carrying these around with me, ready to use? Were they just the most accessible terms when I came to describe the wine? Sometimes I think this is the case.
A while back, Frédéric Brochet did an interesting series of psychological studies in which he showed that the way we produce tasting notes is ‘prototypical’. That is, we first decide what sort of wine it is, and then marshal those descriptors which we have learned to associate with that wine. So some of our note is no doubt based in what we are actually getting from the wine, but in part it is a psychological construction.