A metaphor is defined as a figure of speech in which an expression is used to refer to something that it does not literally denote in order to suggest a similarity.
I love metaphors and spit them out much the way Linda Blair spewed pea soup in the Exorcist. In my book, a metaphor is great when it helps you to understand what something is like by comparing it to something completely different. Here are some great examples:
His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the countryspeaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipsewithout one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
She grew on him like she was a colony of E. coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn’t.
McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup .
Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
Anyway, those are some solid metaphors…. but when it comes to describing wine, the metaphors can send your head swirling! Here are a few wine notes that demonstrate what I’m saying:
“The 2001 Batard-Montrachet offers a thick, dense aromatic profile of toasted white and yellow fruits. This rich, corpulent offering reveals lush layers of chewy buttered popcorn flavors. Medium–bodied and extroverted, this is a street-walker of a wine, making up for its lack of class and refinement with its well-rounded, sexually-charged assets.”
“A beguiling combination of rich, almost decadent flavors on an upright frame that has a nicely buried backbone of acidity and tannin. Nothing is obstrusive, everything is in graceful balance, leaving an ultimate impression of both muscle and flesh.”
Wine writer Colin Bower is frustrated with the use of simile and metaphor in wine writing. He questions why we can’t seem to describe the experience of tasting wine in a direct, factual way, without using metaphor. Here’s a great quote from Mr. Bower:
“Wine is always described as being like something else. This is appealingly post modern. If a chardonnay tastes a bit like a peach, what then does the peach taste like? A chardonnay? And if so, what does either taste like? If you must describe the Van Loveren 2001 limited edition Merlot as being “chocolately”, does it mean that chocolate tastes like the Van Loveren Merlot? And if we like the Merlot on account if its tasting like chocolate, why don’t we eat chocolate instead of drinking wine?”
Amen Mr. Bower, we couldn’t be in agreement with you more!