View Full Version : The Flavours of Wine

Mick Pacholli
13th July 2013, 03:11 PM
How many times have you read the back label of a bottle of wine and seen succulent descriptions such as “passionfruit”, “lemon curd”, “vanilla” or “chocolate” and wondered how these flavours are achieved? We don’t put these flavours into the wine by infusing a lemon curd pie in a barrel of Chardonnay or throwing some dark chocolate in with the Merlot ferment, the flavours are actually all formed as part of normal winemaking practice.
http://www.tooraktimes.com.au/~/media/Wolf Blass/Images/From Our Winery Blog/Wine Flavours.ashxWinemaking InfluencesAll grape varieties have distinctive flavours due to their unique chemical compositions. These flavours occur naturally but can change, enhance or combine with other compounds to produce completely new aromas and flavours in a wine during the chemical process of fermentation.The use of aides such as oak can provide and add to some characters such as vanilla, caramel, coffee and chocolate whereas using a particular strain of wine yeast can help highlight varietal characters (e.g. passionfruit).Aside from winemaker inputs, the area in which a vineyard is situated will also influence the spectrum of flavour expression. Flavour from the GrapeSome grape varieties are related and as a result produce aromas and flavours that are very similar. Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, although different coloured varieties, are actually closely related in terms of pedigree. They both contain the compound Pyrazine – the very same compound found in green capsicums which can give both of these wines their distinctive herbaceous characters (e.g. “grassy”, “leafy” “capsicum” or “green bean”). The level of this herbaceousness in the wine is reflective of when the grapes for the wine are picked. The Pyrazine compound will degrade over time in the maturing grape meaning that earlier picked grapes will boast higher levels of herbaceousness than later picked varieties grapes. This means a leafier Cabernet Sauvignon can be made by picking the grapes a little earlier or a Sauvignon Blanc with less grassy characters can be produced by picking grapes a little later.As winemakers, we moderate our picking, winemaking and maturation decisions to help create the style and flavour of wine we are after. However, the typical “varietal characters” of a wine will almost always present themselves somewhere in the expected spectrum – for example “berries” is a very common descriptor for Shiraz and whether a particular batch of Shiraz expresses as raspberry, blueberry or blackberry is dependent on both winemaking input and the other most important factor, vineyard location.The Importance of TerroirThe combination of the soil, site and climate of a vineyard (called terroir by the French) will greatly influence the varietal expression of a wine and give it its uniqueness. For example, the juicy citrus characters of a Clare Valley Riesling are very different from a floral and delicate Eden Valley Riesling and this has to do with site - Eden Valley being much cooler, produces more of the delicate aroma and flavour compounds associated with white florals such as jasmine whereas as Clare Valley is warmer and produces wines with more brown lime and citrus notes. The key point however is that they both display common varietal characters of citrus and florals to some extent – it’s just the expression of this spectrum that is different and this can be attributed to vineyard location.Evoking the sensesTo a more experienced wine drinker, back label descriptors are a great insight into how a wine has been made and also its provenance. They are however for every consumer an excellent way to evoke the senses, and highlight the best characters of a wine and this is why winemakers like to use such delicious descriptors on wine labels!

More... (http://www.wolfblasswines.com/en/From-Our-Winery/Our-Winemakers-Blog/2012/06/07/The-Flavours-of-Wine.aspx)