Wine flavors….

Cassis Fruit

Cassis Fruit

Tasting wine and describing wine is a daily event in my life. I often remind people that the correct answer as to what a wine tastes like lies within themselves. The delicate sensibility of one’s senses of smell and taste combined with the personal experiences and exposures to flavors and foods will ultimately determine what you taste and smell.

Among my favorite descriptors to throw out and see a person’s reaction to is “barnyard”. Some us grew up on a farm and understand the two polar opposite reactions that can take place with this one. Typically, it is used in the wine world as a clean, fresh straw with light hints of newly tilled earth. However, if your only experience in a barnyard has been mucking stalls in a horse stable… it’s not a pleasant thought.

Then there are rather ubiquitous terms like cassis and leechee nut.  Very few Americans are familiar with those flavors I’ve discovered. Too bad, with the broad international produce at our finger tips, we don’t really have the exposure we should to these elements that are so highly cast upon our palates by the wine world. I’ll try to help a little today.

Cassis is a European Currant, which grows on a bush, bearing Black fruit; basically the flavor of Black Currant, typically considered a cordial liquor.  So, where many softer red wines will have bright red currant flavor, those bigger deeper red wines with black fruits will have cassis or black currant flavors. Think of a new world syrah with heavy jammy blackberry and cassis flavors that will feel expansive in the mouth.

Lychee Fruit

Lychee Fruit

Lychee is more of a white wine flavor, and is often referred to as a lychee  nut when dried, although it is truly a fruit and not a nut at all. This is a fruit that is rather hard to get your head around… Once on your palate, it has a perfume-like essence with a light grape-pear flavor. Ethereal soft fruitiness is my best description of Lychee. Typically, used a descriptor of white wines such as dry torrontes, Rieslings, and gewürztraminers where you have that spritzy, fruit like sensation that you can’t quite put your finger on- that’s lychee!

So, at the end of the day, if you taste fruit loops instead of leechee- it’s all good, it’s youtr palate built by your bank of experiences… the most important principle is to enjoy it and have fun as you continue your jouney!


1 Response to “Wine flavors….”

  1. January 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Very interesting description. I was amazed at how much the cassis looked like a blueberry which led to some research to see if they were related. Apparently not but the leaf in you photo looks more like a blueberry leaf though which is a pointy oval. The currant has a tri-lobed leaf and when mature the berry is much darker.

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