Saturday, September 14, 2013

rieslings and grammar

I use Grammarly's plagiarism checker online because my memory is so bad I have to make sure I'm not repeating something I wrote in this blog even a few days ago!

Okay, so you are wondering what's up with that first sentence and what does it have to do with wine. I'll tell you, but first I'll just tell you about a recent experience drinking a couple of Rieslings.  First one was from Navarro Vineyards, a 2011 from California's Anderson Valley.  The other was a 2011 from Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, Columbia Valley (Washington).  Their prices were $16.63 and $5.99 from the winery direct and Costco, respectively.

What I noticed was that the Navarro had more of a full fruit character than the Chateau Ste. Michelle (CSM). The latter seemed more sugary, more like 7UP, and the Navarro more like fruit juice.  Both were dry and both had nice acidity to balance out the fruit. The characters of the two were quite different, though. 

Initially I preferred the Navarro and thought the CSM was less natural tasting but after drinking it over four nights it tasted better. I wonder if that is because it improved over those four nights or I just got used to it?  Whatever it is, I rate the Navarro the better wine but then the CSM was available for a bargain price, thanks to Riesling's undeservedly lower popularity among grape varietals. That said, both get a thumbs up from me. If you're looking for a nice thirst quencher that is on the simple side but very economical, the CSM is a good choice. The Navarro is more complex and has better fruit, but you pay more.

Going back to the first paragraph, I was informed about a web site that offers automated proofreading and grammar checking.  It's called Grammarly. It also compares text against over 8 billion web pages to check for plagiarism.  I think it's a useful tool and if you are tasked with writing anything that might be subject to critical evaluation, or if you just want to improve your grammatical skills, this is a site worth checking out.

I pasted the preceding paragraph into their checker and was informed that this brief collection of words contained five (5) "critical writing issues."  Two had to do with passive voice use and three had to do with writing style. My overall score was 50 out of 100, meaning what I wrote was "weak, needs revision." Oh, my.  But at least I can rest easy that I haven't previously written about those two Rieslings!

Would I use Grammarly for this blog?  Probably not, because I try and write these posts in a  more conversational way without being a stickler for grammar. I don't even bother to proofread what I write; I just type it and post it. Later on I may happen to read it at which time I'll wonder what the heck was I thinking, and then edit to correct my errors. If I were tasked with writing something more formal, however, then Grammarly would be of good use to me.

Maybe I'm learning as I go along because the above paragraph received a score of 75/100 with only two critical writing issues.  One was passive voice use and the other writing style so I'm still having problems in the same category but they are fewer.

Anyway, I thought I'd mix it up a bit and write about something more than just wine this time.

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