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What is a ‘dappled wine’? – Ask Decanter

Have you heard a wine described as 'dappled'?

Peter Clayton, by email, asks: In his column in your August issue, Andrew Jefford describes the Paul Blanck, F Pinot Noir as, ‘resonant, dappled, energetic and fresh’. ‘Dappled’ seems a curious word for a wine – could Mr Jefford explain please?

Andrew Jefford, an awarded writer and contributing editor to Decanter, replies: Dappled is a visual word, referring to spots of colour that are lighter or darker than a main colour, or patches of light and shade – like the filtered light on a sunny day beneath a tree in leaf.

Gerard Manley Hopkins’ short, ecstatic poem ‘Pied Beauty’ is a celebration of that which is dappled (‘rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim’) and by extension ‘All things counter, original, spare, strange’.

Many complex wines (like the Paul Blanck F Pinot) share this quality. Indeed I’d argue that complexity in wine is a kind of dappledness: a brocade of flavour, parts of which sing clearly, parts of which are less obvious, even shadowy, and need teasing out. Such wines are ‘original’ and ‘strange’ as well as beautiful; this is why we find them compelling.

The quality of dappledness is especially evident in ‘fresh’ wines, moreover, since shade as well as light implies coolness.

This question first appeared in the November 2019 issue of Decanter magazine.


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