13 Dec Wine 101: Aromas
Cape gooseberry and lime on the nose?
Let’s chat wine aromas. You’ll often hear ‘those in the know’ spurting some rather outlandish and fanciful wine descriptors when sniffing and swirling on their favourite vinos but where do these descriptors actually come from?
Yes, taste is important when reviewing a wine but it’s the aromatics that really allow that Bordeaux red or Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to shine.
Aromas such as cat pee and honey are actually derived from chemical compounds that are released by the grapes during fermentation whereas those floral, fruity, vegetal and mineral aromas come from within the grape itself.
Beyond the grape, you’ll encounter a few other aromas that are imparted via the winemaking process. Ageing in oak imparts vanilla or cherry cigar notes. In the case of malolactic fermentation – the process whereby tart-tasting malic acid, naturally present in grape must, is converted to softer-tasting lactic acid – can produce those buttery notes often present in a Chardonnay.
There are so many ways aromas come to being and no, we do not add acetone to the vines during the growth cycle.
So next time you pick up blueberry and roasted marshmallow on the nose at a dinner party, don’t be alarmed. Share your thoughts because those expressions are legitimate and worthy of discussion. Cheers Winelovers!