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Wine And Cheese

Over the holiday weekend, sitting inside while it snowed, I rediscovered a not-so-old chestnut on FX: Sideways, starring Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church.

The movie masterfully mocks the language — funny adjectives and adverbs, delivered with real earnestness — wine enthusiasts use. As Giamatti's character sips — and describes — the latest Pinot Noir, his soon-to-be-wed friend listens patiently, looks on incredulously, then swills his whole glass.

On The New Yorker's Book Bench, Macy Halford, the blog's co-founder, recently returned from Cheese 101 at Murray's Cheese in Manhattan, introduces her readers to another niche lexicon:

This is only a partial listing of descriptions and you should not feel limited to it. As each taster has a different palate, s/he will also have a different reaction to the cheese which also evokes unique feelings and memories. At Murray's, that's what makes our descriptions of cheeses so creative and interesting. No two people will ever speak exactly the same way about a cheese.

APPEARANCE: smooth, snowy, rindless, bright white, fluffy, furry, brown mottling, straw colored, shiny, orange, rough, moldy, cloth-bound, craggy, glossy, pudgy, punctured, waxy, veined

AROMA: citrus, milky, hay, ammoniated, stinky, barnyardy, pungent, bodily, wet dirt, straw, nutty, grassy, herbal, leathery, fruity, wet stone, mushroomy, earthy, cave

FLAVOR: milky, lactic, tangy, lemony, mushroomy, buttery, milky, bacony, fruity, meaty, salty, grassy, earthy, dates, hazelnuts, carmelized onions, butterscotch, metallic peppery

TEXTURE: dry, dense, thick, creamy, pliable, runny, bulging, curdy, firm, elastic, hard, flaky, oozing, soft, high moisture