I know that language can evolve through common usage and I’m prepared to bite my lip in most instances, but some things are simply wrong and cannot be overlooked. What does this have to do with a wine blog? Well, the grammatical faux pas in question relates to the word “variety”. For example, Cabernet Sauvignon is a grape variety; its blackcurrant flavour and its firm tannins are varietal characteristics. The -al suffix is appended to a noun to form an adjective. It means “of” or “pertaining to”. Cabernet Sauvignon is not, and never will be, a “varietal”.
This all too frequently encountered and all too rarely corrected error has now spread across the Atlantic from America and it’s about time that the use of this nonsensical grammatical construct is stamped out. Writers, bloggers and educators take note: this might well be language snobbery on my part but the use of an adjective as a noun is always wrong, no matter how many times you do it.
Rant over. I’ll let Weird Al have the last word: