Wine magazines and catalogs try to educate you about wine, but their true goal is to sell wines. Colour, aroma, and taste are all described to give buyers a sense of the wine on offer. They use descriptors like “laced with ripe pear, “”Apples and honey on the nose,” “complex aromas of spiced oak and black fruit.”
A bold red wine may be described as ‘intense fruit aromas of rich cherry and smoke.” A milder red may be noted as having “the flavours of currant, plum, and spice. “
These notes are written by wine experts or merchants. But again, they are based on the writers’ tasting profiles and limited only by their imaginations.
While colour may be rated on a scale we all understand, aroma and flavour are personal evaluations. Each person has different values. Each person’s sense of taste is a product of their upbringing and lifelong experiences. It’s their individual sense and no one else’s.
Just to be precise. A wine cocktail is a drink where wine is mixed with other components like fruits or fruit juices, brandy, liqueur, soda water, or even spices. Cocktails go by names like Kir, Sangria, Icewine and brandy, Mimosa, etc.
We are not talking about those. We are talking about wine.
Wine is a beverage created by fermenting a carbohydrate, such as grapes or other fruit. During this process molecules and ions are formed. These give the wine its flavour, colour, and aroma.
Wine grapes contain hundreds of chemical compounds that are often similar to those in other foods. The fermentation process unlocks even more. A wine lover might actually be identifying a chemical compound commonly found in cherries or chocolate or other well-known flavours, compounds like esters, pyrazines, terpenes, thiols, lactones, and more. The influence of specific fermentation yeasts and oak barrels can introduce even more flavors and aromas. But no matter how complex someone might describe a wine, it’s made entirely from the fruit.
Terroir is the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including soil, topography, and climate. It’s sun: when and where: rain, when and how much; minerality of the soil; and depth of the soil. It’s all the physical components of growing the fruit. Of course, the type of fruit plays a big part in its taste profile. Each type of grape or fruit has an individual flavour at its core.
Obviously, different terroirs create different molecules and ions, and therefore different tastes.
That’s the joy of wine, so many flavours, so many aromas.
Tasting notes are a guide, but they cannot replace your personal taste of these beverages.