Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Text & Talk

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Language, Discourse & Communication Studies

Ed. by Sarangi, Srikant

IMPACT FACTOR 2018: 0.400
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.750

CiteScore 2018: 0.61

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.305
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.670

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 40, Issue 2


Comparing the wine tasting notes of Jancis Robinson and Terry Theise: A stylistic analysis

David Michael Bell / Theresa Moran
Published Online: 2019-11-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2019-2053


This paper offers a stylistic analysis of the tasting notes (TNs) of wine writers Jancis Robinson and Terry Theise. We define linguistic style as those distinctive, consistent, and creative linguistic choices writers make beyond what is conventionally expected in a TN, which are only discernible by comparison to other wine reviewers. Using a corpus of Robinson’s and Theise’s TNs on German and Austrian wines 2012, we compare their TNs in terms of rhetorical and grammatical structure, use of descriptors, and other evaluative language. Robinson’s elliptical note-form style is characterized by adherence to canonical rhetorical structure, verbless clauses, extensive use of conventional metaphoric descriptors and limited use of object descriptors. Theise has an effusive, people-centered additive style characterized by non-conventional rhetorical structure, multiple phrase and clause and coordination, and extensive and exotic use of diverse object descriptors, personification, and intensifier + evaluative adjective phrases. We then connect their varying linguistic styles to their differing approaches to wine tasting.

Keywords: wine; tasting notes; descriptors; appraisal; style; stylistics


  • Anthony, Laurence. 2014. AntConc (Version 3.4.4m) [Computer Software]. Tokyo: Waseda University. http://www.laurenceanthony.net/.

  • Askehave, Inger & John M. Swales. 2001. Genre identification and communicative purpose: A problem and a possible solution. Applied Linguistics 21. 195–212.Google Scholar

  • Biber, Douglas & Susan Conrad. 2009. Register, genre and style. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Biber, Douglas, Stig Johansson, Geoffrey Leech, Susan Conrad & Edward Finegan. 1999. Longman grammar of spoken and written English. London: Longman.Google Scholar

  • Bratož, Silva. 2013. Anthropomorphic metaphor in Slovene and English wine tasting discourses. English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries 10(1). 13–25.Google Scholar

  • Caballero, Rosario. 2007. Manner-of-motion verbs in wine description. Journal of Pragmatics 39(12). 2095–2114.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Carman, Tim. March 16, 2017. The mysterious demise of Lucky Peach magazine and its uncertain future. Washington Post. Available at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/food/wp/2017/03/16/the-mysterious-demise-of-lucky-peach-magazine-and-its-uncertain-future/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6b9885799668 (accessed 2 November 2018).

  • Coffin, Lilia. 2015. November 3. An evening with Jancis Robinson. HillRag.com. Available at: http://www.capitalcommunitynews.com/content/evening-jancis-robinson (accessed 13 December 2016).

  • Coupland, Nikolas. 2001. Language, situation and the relational self: Theorising dialect style in sociolinguistics. In Penelope Eckert & John R. Rickford (eds.), Style and sociolinguistic variation, 185–210. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Crystal, David & Derek Davy. 1969. Investigating English style. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar

  • Enkvist, Nils Erik. 1973. Linguistic stylistics. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar

  • Fabb, Nigel. 2006. The teaching of stylistics. Subject Centre for Languages, good practice guide. Available at https://www.llas.ac.uk/resources/gpg/2755.html (accessed 24 June 2017).

  • Ferris, Sharmila Pixy. 2002. Electronic writing: Effects of computers on traditional writing. The Journal of Electronic Publishing 8(2). University of Michigan Press. Available at: http://www.press.umich.edu/jep/08-01/ferris.html (accessed 13 December 2016)

  • Fowler, Roger. 1977. Linguistics and the novel. London: Methuen.Google Scholar

  • Gabrielatos, Costas. 2018. Keyness analysis: Nature, metrics and techniques. In Charlotte Taylor & Anna Marchi (eds.), Corpus approaches to discourse: A critical review, 225–258. Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Gluck, Malcolm. 2003. Wine language: Useful idiom or idiot speak? In Jean Aitchison & Diana M. Lewis (eds.), New media language, 107–115. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Hommerberg, Charlotte. 2011. Persuasiveness in the discourse of wine: The rhetoric of Robert Parker. Växjö: Linnaeus University Press.Google Scholar

  • Hommerberg, Charlotte. 2015. Bringing consumption reviews into relief by combining appraisal and argumentation analysis. Text & Talk 35. 155–175.Google Scholar

  • Hommerberg, Charlotte & Alexanne Don. 2015. Appraisal and the language of wine appreciation: A critical discussion of the potential of the appraisal framework as a tool to analyse specialised genres. Functions of Language 22(2). 161–191.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Irvine, Judith T. 2001. Style as distinctiveness: The culture and ideology of linguistic differentiation. In Penelope Eckert & John R. Rockford (eds.), Style and sociolinguistic variation, 21–43. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Jeffries, Lesley. 2010. Critical stylistics: The power of English. Basingstoke: Palgrave/Macmillan.Google Scholar

  • Kittay, Eva Feder. 1990. Metaphor: Its cognitive force and linguistic structure. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Kramsch, Claire. 1998. Language and culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Lehrer, Adrienne. 2007. Can wines be brawny? In Barry. C. Smith (ed.), A question of taste: The philosophy of wine, 127–140. Oxford: Springer.Google Scholar

  • Lehrer, Adrienne. 2009. Wine and Conversation. 2nd edn. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Livsey, Alan. December 16, 2016. Wine expert Robert Parker leaves a pointed legacy. Financial Times. Available at https://www.ft.com/content/73ea0bfa-afd1-11e6-9c37-5787335499a0 (accessed 27 October 2018).

  • López-Arroyo, Belén & Roda P. Roberts. 2014. English and Spanish descriptors in wine tasting terminology. Terminology 20(1). 25–49.Web of ScienceCrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • López-Arroyo, Belén & Roda P. Roberts. 2015. How specific wine tasting descriptors are? Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 198. 287–299.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • López-Arroyo, Belén & Roda P. Roberts. 2017. Metaphors in wine-tasting notes in English and Spanish. Herme¯neus: Revista De Traducción E Interpretación 19. 139–163.Google Scholar

  • McIntyre, Dan. 2012. Linguistics and literature: Stylistics as a tool for the literary critic. SRC Working Papers 1. 1–11.Google Scholar

  • Nabhan, Gary Paul. 2014. Cumin, camels, and caravans: A spice odyssey. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar

  • Paradis, Carita & Mats Eeg-Olofsson. 2013. Describing sensory experience: The genre of wine reviews. Metaphor & Symbol 28(1). 1–19.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Paradis, Carita & Charlotte Hommerberg. 2016. We drink with our eyes first: The web of sensory perceptions, aesthetic experiences and mixed imagery in wine reviews. In Raymond W. Gibbs Jr. (eds.), Mixing metaphor, 179–201. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar

  • Robinson, Jancis. 2015. What future for expertise? Available at: http://www.jancisrobinson.com/articles/what-future-for-expertise (accessed 13 December 2016).

  • Silverstein, Michael. 2004. ‘‘Cultural’’ concepts and the language-culture nexus. Current Anthropology 45(5). 621–652.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Simpson, Paul. 1993. Language, ideology and point of view. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Simpson, Paul. 2004. Stylistics: A resource book for students. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Sorlin, Sandrine. 2014. The ‘indisciplinarity’ of stylistics. Topics in Linguistics 141. 9–15. ISSN (Online). 1337–7590. .CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Suárez–Toste, Ernesto. 2007. Metaphor inside the wine cellar: On the ubiquity of personification schemas in winespeak. Metaphorik.de. 122007. 53.Google Scholar

  • Theise, Terry. 2010. Reading between the vines. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar

  • Wine Folly. 2013. 120 Most Common Wine Descriptions (Infographic). Available at: http://winefolly.com/tutorial/wine-descriptions-chart-infographic/ (accessed 13 December 2016). page 22.

About the article

David Michael Bell

David Michael Bell is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at Ohio University. His research focus is on Semantics and Pragmatics, and Language, Culture and Food. Linguistics Department, Ohio University, 369 Gordy Hall, Ohio University, Athens OH 45701, USA. Email: belld@ohio.edu

Theresa Moran

Theresa Moran is the Director of the Food Studies at Ohio University and the university’s Sustainable Living Hub Coordinator. As well as the discourse of wine writing, her research interests focus on concepts of taste in antebellum American travel writing and the personal and political implications of food choices. College of Arts and Sciences, Director of Food Studies, 359 Ellis Hall, Ohio University, Athens OH 45701, USA. Email: morant@ohio.edu

Published Online: 2019-11-19

Published in Print: 2020-02-25

Citation Information: Text & Talk, Volume 40, Issue 2, Pages 125–146, ISSN (Online) 1860-7349, ISSN (Print) 1860-7330, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2019-2053.

Export Citation

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in