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As well as among the complex aromas of more tannic wines made from the Sangiovese and Nebbiolo varietals. The nature of the strawberry aroma can range from an attractive berry freshness, to an unpleasant cloying fruitiness. Camomile is a small daisy-like white flower with a gentle yet distinctive aroma, commonly encountered in tea infusions. There is a medicinal aspect of its aroma profile that comes through as a sharp edge to the sweet floral overtones, caused by aromatic compounds known as polyphenols — also found to varying degrees in wines.

Some wines have camomile notes because they contain a similar profile of aromatic compounds, creating the illusion of the camomile scent. In these wines, camomile notes typically join green fruit flavours, developing a honeyed and lactic character with age. You can also look for hints of camomile among the floral aromas of Sauvignon Blanc wines from cool climate regions like Alto Adige in northern Italy.

Within the floral category it can perhaps be thought of as more herbaceous than rose, though more floral than elderflower. Geranium aromas are most commonly found in aromatic whites, such as premium aged examples Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, from the eastern Italian Marche region. Colonnara, Verdicchio, dei Castelli di Jesi Classico melds geranium with floral-sweet honey aromas and banana.

Elderflower is a classic feature of English summer drinking, whether it be infused into cordials or even fermented to become elderflower wine.

But what about elderflower aromas from wines made out of grapes? It belongs to the floral wine flavour category, in which it could be positioned as less pungently sweet than rose or violet, but not as intense and herby as geranium.

If these notes are too pronounced, it could suggest the grapes were harvested before they were allowed to fully ripen.

Bacchus wines are sometimes likened to Sauvignon Blanc for their herbaceous character and high acidity. This is because honeysuckle flowers exude intense honey-floral aromas associated with these wines. Noble rot can give wines a distinctively nuanced sweetness, with aromas ranging from rich butterscotch to the heady honey-floral notes of honeysuckle. The fragrant white jasmine flower has been prized by perfumers for centuries, due to its delicate yet sweetly pungent aroma.

White flower notes are generally sweetly aromatic, with a faint edge of floral acridity. With this in mind, aromatic white wines are the best place to look for hints of jasmine. Wines made from Pinot Gris and Riesling also commonly display delicate jasmine notes, particularly those made in cool-climate regions such as Ontario in Canada, Mosel in Germany and, more recently, Sussex in England.

Fuller-bodied whites, such as Viognier , Chenin Blanc and Assyrtiko , might display a stronger jasmine scent. These wines are known for their aromatic richness, often expressing white flowers like jasmine, intermingled ripe stone fruits and underpinned by green and citrus fruit acidity.

Lavender is a highly aromatic plant; it produces lots of nectar from which bees can make high quality honey, and the plant itself is becoming more popular in cooking.

As well as being grouped with other floral aromas, like rose, it can be linked with herbaceous ones, like eucalyptus. Aromas of lavender are found in red wines — commonly in red wines from Provence, where lavender fields are in abundance, which may be what contributes this aroma to the wines. As with many floral notes in wine, rose is sweet on the nose but more bitter and austere on the palate. You can also look for rose notes in young Pinot Noir wines, particularly those made in Australia and New Zealand.

Traditionally known as lokum, this gelatinous sweet is believed to have arrived in Istanbul in the s. It later gained popularity in Victorian England where it was imported under the name Turkish delight. In its simplest form, it consists of a mixture of starch, sugar and flavoured syrup — commonly derived from citrus fruit or rosewater. Wines with hints of Turkish delight often have a strongly aromatic flavour profile with a bittersweet floral, herbal, spicy or citrus edge.

Made with the same grape, although it goes by the name of Muscat de Frontignan, this style exudes sweet spices like ginger, nutmeg and bitter marmalade alongside Turkish delight aromas. For red wines with Turkish delight notes, look for dry, light to medium bodied styles that are relatively low in tannins with a tendency towards sweet spice, herbal or floral characteristics.

This could include complex Pinot Noir wines from Burgundy or Loire Valley , which can combine red fruit flavours with delicate spice and floral aromas that are reminiscent of Turkish delight. As a tasting note, violet is generally picked up as an aroma in wine, but it can be a flavour too — as anyone with a penchant for Parma Violet sweets will know. Violet commonly displays a musky sweetness on the nose, but tastes a touch more bitter and austere on the palate. In this way, it can be aligned with other bittersweet and perfumed floral notes such as bergamot, rose, geranium and lavender.

Such as Italian wines like Barolo and Barbaresco made from the Nebbiolo varietal, where violet can be found alongside notes of fennel, liquorice and tar. They are usually ground down to release their signature earthy spiciness, generated by the chemical compound piperine. Flavours reminiscent of this mild spice might appear in the flavour or aroma of some wines.

Sangiovese wines hailing from Chianti Classico, can also contain black pepper notes, usually associated with oak influences like black tea, leather and cedar.

Tainter, Anthony T. Grenis Decanter. From aromatherapy oils to car air fresheners, cedar wood is prized for its rich and woody aromatic qualities. Within this category, it signifies a fresher and more savoury aroma than notes like vanilla or butterscotch, and expresses a resinous and slightly spicy character aligned with sandalwood and cloves.

Its falls among the subtler secondary aromas, therefore it might be harder to detect in the strongly aromatic oaks; such as American oak, where coconut and vanilla fragrances can dominate. You might be familiar with the sight of a festive cinnamon stick bobbing in your mulled wine, but for other wines it does not feature directly.

However, some wines can give the impression of cinnamon in their flavours and aromas. This is because cinnamon contains aromatic compounds called esters, one of which — ethyl cinnamate — can also be found in wine.

Quantities of ethyl cinnamate can find their way into wines during fermentation or ageing processes. Bottle ageing white wines is an example of how ethyl cinnamate might be produced, along with other sweet spicy notes like ginger and nutmeg.

For red wines with cinnamon notes, look to rich Italian reds such as those made from Nebbiolo or Barbera varietals as well as Amarone , a wine made using partially dried grapes to give it more concentrated flavours. Waterhouse, Gavin L. Sacks, David W. Jeffery, Decanter. Cloves are the dried flower buds of an evergreen tree native to Indonesia, commonly used as an aromatic cooking ingredient, and in the festive season you might find them bobbing in your mulled wine.

However cl oves are not added during regular winemaking practices, but the impression of them might be created during oak-ageing. Clove notes can come from an aroma compound called eugenol, which is found in both oak and cloves. The influence of eugenol on the resultant wine depends on factors such as how the wood has been toasted or seasoned, and how long the wine spends in oak.

Because clove notes usually come from oak influences, they are categorised as a secondary aroma, alongside notes like sandalwood, vanilla and cedar. Glories, A. Maujean, Denis Dubourdieu Decanter.

Cola , the carbonated drink known under many brand names, has a distinct flavour that originally came from the caffeine-rich kola nut mixed with other ingredients like coca leaves, sweet spices, caramel, citric acid and sugar.

Today, th e flavour that we recognise as cola is commonly artificial, but nonetheless distinctive; a combination of strong sweeteners with a hint of spice and sour acidity.

As a wine descriptor, cola can be used to describe a certain bittersweet, spicy element present in some red wines, particularly those that have been matured in oak. The complex aromatics of premium Pinot Noir wines can also include cola notes, alongside those of game, allspice, truffles and leather.

Many of us will be familiar with the aroma and flavour of the spice cumin —either in powder or seed form— which is widely used across Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines.

It comes from the dried seeds of the cumin herb, which is part of the parsley family. Cumin is relatively mild aromatic spice, typified by an earthy or woody flavours and aromas, with a bitter undertone.

It features in the spice category of the wine lexicon, alongside notes like black pepper, cardamom, nutmeg and anise. You can look for cumin notes in some orange wines, which sometimes glean an extra earthy, bitter spice edge from prolonged skin contact. Elsewhere, some premium cool-climate Pinot Noir wines can develop delicately earthy and mildly spicy notes that resonate with cumin. Full-bodied reds can also develop spicy characteristics, such as cumin, usually gained from time spent in oak.

Ginger is the pungent root of a flowering plant native to Asia. You can look for ginger notes in some fuller-bodied aromatic white wines that have an edge of spice, such as Viognier and Assyrtiko wines.

Mature sweet white wines such as Sauternes and Tokaji, which have been made from grapes affected by botrytis cinerea noble rot , might display warm hints of fresh or crystallised ginger as part of their complex sweet spice, caramelised and nutty flavour profile.

The process of prolonged skin-contact, aka maceration, involved in the production of orange wines can also create gingery flavours. In sparkling wines, vintage Cava wines that have been aged on the lees can display warm yeasty notes that can be reminiscent of ginger.

Among red wines, you might find gingery notes in some medium or full bodied styles that have spent some time in oak, which can impart sweet spicy characteristics like ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. As a wine descriptor, liquorice refers to the sweet, yet slightly bitter and medicinal flavours and aromas associated with the chewy black confection made from the Glycyrrhiza glabra plant root extract. Or in the spiciness of wines made from the Nebbiolo grape, such as Barolo and Barbaresco wines from northwest Italy, where it is often expressed in harmony with violet and rose aromas.

Liquorice is part of the same flavour group as star anise and fennel, as they share chemical flavour compounds such as anethole , which is found widely in essential oils, and is responsible for their distinctive scent and taste. It is a useful term to use to describe a particular tart and penetrating sweetness, differing from that related to sugar. Like liquorice itself, wines with this flavour or aroma can be divisive depending on personal taste; for some it recalls childhood treats, for others it causes nose-wrinkling.

Star anise , so named because of its resemblance to an eight-pointed star, is an aromatic spice commonly used to flavour Chinese cooking — and mulled wine. Star anise is actually a seed pod from an evergreen tree, which differs from the anise plant aniseed. Therefore wines with a flavour profile containing notes like liquorice, aniseed or fennel may also have notes of star anise.

These characteristics are usually gained through oak-ageing in casks or barrels, when spicy and toasted woody flavours can be infused into the wine. This means that star anise is generally categorised as a secondary aroma, as it is associated with the influence of oak see vanilla, cedar, cinnamon and coconut. Asparagus as a tasting note in wine can be divisive; some love the savoury complexity it brings, while others recoil from what can seem a funky vegetal tang. Asparagus is related to descriptors like vegetal or herbaceous, as well as more specific flavours of fennel or green bell pepper.

Scientifically, the distinctive scent of asparagus is generally attributed to odour compounds called pyrazines, which are also a cause of grassy and green bell pepper flavours and aromas. Asparagus is said to be evoked by 3-isopropylmethoxypyrazine, to be precise.

Look out for distinctions within the asparagus category. For example, imagine snapping a lightly steamed asparagus stem, and the fresh, clean aromas that curl up your nose from the vapour. All versions can add their own nuances, which can make for an all-round more interesting and appealing wine if counter-balanced correctly.

Many wine lovers make the mistake of assuming that the tasting note balsamic relates to the dark vinegar from Modena.

Its concentrated spicy, woody, resinous flavour profile makes it a useful tasting note for red wines aged in oak, which can impart balsam-like aromas. Many earthy and concentrated Italian reds are capable of balsamic characteristics, ranging from Barolo , Chianti and Brunello di Montalcino wines in Piedmont and Tuscany , to Aglianico wines in the south. As you might imagine, wine with pungent cabbage notes is not generally what the winemaker intended.

It can be identified as a tangy vegetal flavour or aroma, often calling forth over-stewed school dinner cabbage leaves. Stewed or rotten cabbage aromas could flag up reduction in red or white wines, caused by a lack of oxygen during winemaking, which can create chemical compounds called mercaptans, also known as thiols. Some wines affected by mercaptans could be improved by the addition of an old copper penny, because copper sulphate can react with the mercaptans to remove unpleasant odours.

Other mercaptan indicators include whiffs of garlic, rotten eggs, burnt rubber and struck matches. If subtle and balanced correctly, some reductive characteristics can be desirable. Normally associated with Australian wines particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz , eucalypt , mint, and camphor aromas can be found in other wines too, including Argentinian Cabernet Franc. This is due to the compound 1,8-cineole, also known as eucalyptol.

Studies have shown that vineyards with a closer proximity to eucalyptus trees have a higher incidence of the chemical in the wine, and therefore a stronger note of eucalypt.

Eucalpytol is transmitted through the air onto grape skins, which are then fermented into wine, giving the distinct character. Fennel is a bulbous vegetable with a fresh but slightly bitter taste, often made the most of in summer salads. It belongs to the same family as anise; both have similar bittersweet liquorice-like flavours and aromas — which are brought out in fennel tea, or when infused into the potent spirit absinthe.

In the wine lexicon, fennel is found in the herbal branch of the spice and vegetable category, alongside dill, eucalyptus, lavender and mint. Tasting notes referring to fennel may be describing either the fresh and bitter fennel vegetable, or the sweet medicinal fennel seeds.

Bittersweet fennel seed flavours are more common in red wines, often styles with a spicy fruit character. This includes some Sicilian Etna Rosso wines, made from the native Nerello Mascalese grape, or rich and varied Nebbiolo wines from northern Italy, capable of expressing notes like fennel along with its cousins anise and liquorice. You may have seen this tasting term on the back of your bottle of Sauvignon Blanc , and wondered how on earth your wine could taste like turf.

When it comes to dry white wines, grassy is often used in a positive sense. It describes the pleasant herbal freshness they can exhibit on the nose and palate, reminiscent of fresh mown grass. Whilst their Kiwi counterparts often integrate grassy notes with tropical fruit flavours and aromas. Grassy notes in red wines can be part of a herbaceous bouquet that may indicate under-ripeness.

The science: grassiness in Build Your Own Lean To Shed Plans Guitar wines is thought to come from volatile chemical compounds called aldehydes, which are released from the surface of the wine and picked up as aromas by your nose, or the retronasal passage at the back of your mouth. They are formed as a byproduct of fermentation or alcohol oxidation. Clarke, Jokie Bakker Decanter. In cooking, some people avoid these peppers in favour of their sweeter red and yellow counterparts.

But in wine, the sharply savoury aroma of a freshly-sliced green bell pepper makes it a useful tasting reference. A name we seldom remember, but it is impossible to forget the aroma of green pepper.

Hay can be experienced as a dried herbaceous or vegetative aroma in wine, in the same category as notes like straw, tobacco and tea. Notes of hay can also be an indication of maturity, thus qualifying as a tertiary aroma too. Hedgerow refers to the shrubs, and occasionally trees, are used as natural roadside boundaries between fields. Dry white wines, such as Sancerre , often have these aromas — predominantly herbaceous, grassy and nettle-like — but they can also encompass the wild fruits and berries that grow on them too.

Examples may include elderflower, gooseberry, or even raspberries, brambles and blackberries. Hedgerow as a descriptor in a tasting note, therefore, will often denote this fresh, green integration of fruit and plant.

This aroma does not come from leaves of the vine but is a flavour compound found in the skin of the grape: methoxypyrazine. This herbaceous character, which can be typical of cooler-climate Cabernet Sauvignon and is present in many Sauvignon Blancs , can be associated with a lack of ripeness. However, it can also give extra complexity to the wine if it is not too overt.

Leafiness can evolve into a cigar box character when the wine is aged, but if the wine is too leafy to begin with then it may never reach its full potential as the tannins will also be unripe. Looks like grass but smells of citrus — lemongrass is a highly aromatic tropical plant that is widely used in Asian cooking as well as herbal remedies. Lemongrass contains a chemical compound called citral, also found in lemons and artificial lemon flavouring, which is responsible for its citrussy character.

The sharp herbaceous and citrus characteristics found in lemongrass make it a useful tasting note for describing wines with a similar flavour profile.

Wines with notes of lemongrass are typically still or sparkling whites that have a strong backbone of acidity and complex aromatics. Pewsey Vale, Museum Reserve The Contours Riesling was found to be brimming with citrus notes, including kaffir lime, lemon verbena and lemongrass, when tasted for Decanter by Sarah Ahmed.

Wine Co. In these medicines, acrid chemicals are often covered with more palatable flavourings and sweeteners. A medicinal whiff in your wine could indicate the presence of Brettanomyces yeasts. Medicinal notes can also indicate smoke taint, which can arise from high toast levels in oak barrels, according to the Australian Wine Research Institute.

On the plus side, a medicinal hint can develop with ageing and give some red wines a desirable complexity, comparable to other unusual notes like vinyl or tar. Medicinal characters can also be present in Australian Shiraz , where it can integrate well with black fruit, spicy and smoky flavours.

Mint , or menthol aromas can be common in varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon grown in cooler climates like Bordeaux , Chile and Coonawarra in South Australia, but can also be found in other varieties such as Aragonez and Alicante Bouschet. A mint Build Your Own Shed Out Of Pallets Pdf aroma differs from a eucalypt note, which normally comes from contamination by nearby eucalypt trees.

It has recently been discovered that mintiness in wine is caused by the compound piperitone, which is also found naturally in mint plants. Notice something fungi going on with your wine? Mushroom usually appears as a tertiary aroma, formed during the ageing process. Its flavour profile is associated with other earthy notes, such as forest floor aka sous bois and leather. Mushroom may also appear in aged Nebbiolo wines, such as those made in Barolo. In a similar way, red fruit and floral notes can become intertwined with earthy flavours and aromas, including leather, liquorice and mushroom.

Premium, aged red Rioja wines and Sangiovese made in Brunello di Montalcino can display this effect too, although often with some spicy hints thrown in. In the wine lexicon, mushrooms are in the fresh vegetal category, alongside notes like asparagus, green pepper and black olive. However, fresh mushrooms have a very different character to cooked mushrooms, which are associated with the so-called fifth taste, umami.

To understand the difference, find a fresh mushroom and take in its smell and flavour. Gently microwave your mushroom, and observe how its flavours and aromas alter. The umami flavour is particularly potent in truffles, a kind of subterranean fungus, which you might find hints of in mature Champagnes like Gosset, Extra Brut, Celebris, Champagne — where yeast influences deepen into umami fungi notes. Source: Decanter. Although technically a vegetable, the fleshy pink stalks of rhubarb are often treated as fruit, featuring in baked desserts like pies and crumbles.

Rhubarb is rarely eaten fresh due to its extremely tart character, which must be softened and sweetened to make it palatable. Most references to rhubarb in wine tasting notes refer to this cooked and sweetened version, although it remains defined by some degree of a tart, almost vegetal, character — and this duality makes it a useful tasting note. For example, it can be applied to red wines with high acidity overlaid with red fruit or jammy flavours. Young Tempranillo wines from Rioja can also display red fruit notes hemmed with acidity, giving a rhubarb-like effect.

However, this natural acidity can be curbed and developed during oak ageing. Tomato is one of the less common tasting notes, but nevertheless it has its place in the wine lexicon — among vegetal notes like green bell pepper capsicum and potato. Tomato, green bell pepper and potato may appear to have little in common, but they all belong to the nightshade family and contain pyrazines — the chemical compound behind their sharply herbaceous aroma.

A form of pyrazine methoxypyrazine, to be exact is found on the skins of grapes, which can heavily influence the flavour profile of resultant wines if the fruit is unable to ripen fully. Herbaceous tomato notes can be desirable, such as in cool climate Sauvignon Blancs from Marlborough in New Zealand. Or alternatively, as with fruity notes, it can appear as unattractively over-developed or stewed. This can happen during a winemaking process such as whole bunch fermentation , where the stems are not removed before the fruit goes into the fermentation vat.

The divided Build Your Own Shed From Pallets Me nature of the vegetal flavour can be seen by comparing the styles of Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand and the Loire.

At its best, vegetal can be enjoyed as a sign of herbaceous complexity; alongside gamey and earthy notes in mature Pinot Noirs , or in the asparagus quality of some Sauvignon Blancs. Due to its relatively high sugar content, beetroot walks a fine line between sweet and savoury, making it a useful tasting note for red wines that display a similar balanced duality.

The link between the two is tannin, which is a polyphenol found in plant tissue, including grape skins, seeds, oak barrels — and tea leaves. You can learn to distinguish how tannic a wine is by conducting a quick experiment using tea: put a black tea bag in hot water for a minute or two and taste the infusion. Then repeat, but this time allow the bag to steep for twice as long, and compare the effect on the taste. The second tea should taste more astringent, drying out your mouth and tasting almost unpleasantly bitter.

Some wines will create a similar effect on your palate, either with smooth and integrated tannins more like the first tea , or with coarse and harsh tannins like the second tea. When a wine has a tasting note of black tea, this generally means it is enjoyably tannic. These tertiary aromas add complexity to the original fresh fruit aromas primary aromas , making the wine more layered and multi-dimensional.

Earthy is a versatile tasting note that can encompass a range of wine flavour profiles; from dry and dusty aromas to tertiary aromas such as wet forest floor, or even farmyard manure odours. Earthy can be seen as belonging to the same flavour profile as notes like wet wool, mineral and tar aromas; all are naturally occurring substances.

But they have little in common with fruit, vegetal or floral notes. These include Italian wines made from the Sangiovese grape, like those from Brunello di Montalcino , and more rustic southern Italian varieties like Primitivo and Aglianico. Earthy is also a positive thing for some Pinot Noir and Syrah wines, where it can add complexity as a secondary and tertiary aroma.

If earthy notes veer more towards a farmyard smell, this could be due to Brettanomyces, a wine-altering strain of yeast. Some wine lovers enjoy its effects at low levels, but its presence causes debate. Earthy notes could also be attributed to the chemical compound geosmin, which occurs naturally in grapes. This same compound is released into the air by newly turned over soil, or a garden after rainfall. In wine, high levels of geosmin generally indicate a fault.

Look out for when earthy smells eclipse expected fruit aromas, or tend more towards the smell of wet cardboard — you could have yourself a corked wine. Game is a slightly lighter, more fragrant character that can be found in wines with red fruit characteristics, such as Pinot Noir , Barbaresco , Rioja and Pinotage. In some cases these characteristics are caused by Brettanomyces , a wild yeast that can easily infect winemaking equipment, particularly the rough interior surface of wooden barrels.

In small doses it produces meaty flavours that can benefit the complexity of a wine, although higher levels can can easily spoil the wine with impressions of cheese, rubber and sweat! Even for smokers, the thought of tobacco in your wine is probably not very appealing.

However, the term tobacco is used in a positive sense when it comes to describing wine. The aroma of freshly cut or cured tobacco leaves is often described as enjoyably woody, with a maple sweetness and violet floral notes. Tobacco is experienced as an aroma, rather than as taste. Typically, tobacco notes are found in mature full-bodied red wines, such as Cabernet Sauvignons from a range of regions, including those of California , Australia , South Africa and South America.

It can also be detected in some aged Riojas and Amarone wines from Northern Italy. This note combines the tobacco scent of cigars with that of cedar wood, giving the effect of a freshly opened box of Havanas.

Aromas of wet cardboard can be a good way to spot a TCA fault, although it can be hard to detect when levels are low — at which point it may only result in a lack of fresh fruit notes and a faint musty character. TCA can cause wine spoilage at a various points between the winery and your table. The term chalky is usually applied to white wines with high acidity from cool climate terroirs with stony soils, and falls into the mineral category along with notes of flint and slate.

Our ability to perceive these mineral flavours in wine has caused some disagreement between scientists and wine experts, but it is nevertheless widely used at tastings. If you are struggling, try to imagine licking a piece of chalky rock. This can relate to the astringency of tannins, as the mouth-drying effect can recall the powdery or grainy feeling of chalk.

Flint, flinty or even gunflint are terms used to describe the minerality note that is found in dry, austere white wines, notably Chablis and Sancerre. If you want to experience what flint smells like, next time you are walking in the South Downs, pick up two pieces of chalk and rub them together.

Some say iodine aromas are increased if vines are planted closer to the sea as well. It should be mentioned that when fruit has succumbed to excess rot, the resulting wine may also have iodine or phenol aromas, and in this case it is considered a fault.

Graphite is a common descriptor, especially for fine red wines, signifying notes of pencil lead or a lead-like minerality. However, others, especially producers in Bierzo and Priorat in Spain , believe that terroir contributes these characters — thus their slate soils provide a graphite taste to the wine.

If you are unsure what graphite smells like, try sharpening an HB pencil. This common description can be used to describe both red and white wines, although it is more common with whites. It is a positive attribute that can be associated with the acidity of the wine, but also the aroma; for example slate, gun flint or wet stones. The use and meaning of minerality is hotly debated and there is no chemical evidence that shows a mineral aroma or flavour is related to a specific mineral or nutrient in the soil or in wine.

Therefore, while we use mineral or minerality often as a descriptor it is still quite a mystery as to what causes this sensation. Few of us will have taken a bite out of an oyster shell instead of its edible innards, but if you have ever shucked one of these shellfish you will likely have come into contact with the smell, taste and texture of its calcified casing.

Oyster shells are predominantly made of gritty or powdery calcium carbonate that has been secreted by the oyster over time. In this sense oyster shell depicts a mineral character, perhaps with some savoury qualities, salinity or a chalky mouthfeel and flavour. You can look for oyster shell notes in wines that have a strong sense of minerality. This term is the source of some debate among wine critics but it broadly applies to dry, non-fruit forward wines that hail from cooler climes and have high levels of acidity.

In her article Minerality in wine: What does it mean to you? Cool-climate unoaked Chardonnay styles commonly express mineral notes, alongside hard-edged acidity and citrus notes.

Salt forms one of the main perceptible flavour components in food and drink, along with bitter, sweet, sour and umami.

Saltiness, sometimes referred to as salinity, is related to minerality as it expresses a taste sensation that is outside the usual fruit, floral, vegetal or spice categories. In his article Yes, you can taste salt in wine Stephen Brook wrote,. As with the supposed link between certain soil compositions and minerality, the connection between a vine growing in salty sea air and saline flavours in the resultant wine is debatable.

Burnt rubber on the other hand, can point to the presence of mercaptans, which are volatile sulphur compounds. But how does sulphur get into your wine? The truth is grapes themselves already contain sulphur, and sulphur compounds can be generated through reductive reactions involved in winemaking, such as yeast fermentation or malolactic fermentation.

Mercaptans are not harmful, but they can become a fault if too concentrated — decanting the wine first can help to lessen their effect. Volatile sulphur compounds have become a hot topic in winemaking in recent years. They have proved a particular source of controversy in some wines, notably in relation to burnt rubber aromas in some South African Pinotage and Cabernet wines. Today, growers increasingly try to avoid this, aiming for more fruit forward wines.

In the tasting note lexicon, rubber belongs to the mineral flavour profile, which includes anything ranging from earth to tar, and steel to wet wool. The best way to learn to recognise these notes in wine is to experience them in their physical forms, such as smelling a rubber eraser or car tires on a hot day burnt rubber — try to embed these aromas in your sensory memory.

Mineral or minerality are terms that are commonly used in the tasting notes of both red and white wines. Minerality in wine: What does it mean to you? In the red corner, you might find mineral expressions counterbalancing juicy black fruit in full-bodied Bordeaux blends.

Steely is a term commonly used to promote fashionable dry white wines, but what does it mean in the mouth? It describes a metallic flavour and a firm mouthfeel. Generally these wines are low in alcohol, high in acidity, with distinguished minerality. In the same vein as mineral wines, steely wines often express floral, green apple or citrus flavours and aromas, rather than sweet fruity notes.

In tasting terms, it belongs to the mineral flavour category, joining other peculiar yet precise notes like rubber, barnyard and sweaty saddle. Perhaps the best way to understand wet wool is to experience it first hand by getting hold of a tub of lanolin cream, which is used for cosmetic purposes to moisturise skin. Or you can wear your woolly jumper in the rain, then leave it in a heap to go damp and pungent. Depending on the wine, wet wool aromas can either be an intentional mark of style, or indicative of a fault.

Traditional method sparkling wines include Champagne , of course, plus Cava and also some UK sparkling wines, as well as others. Transparent bottles might be attractive to the eye, but they can leave the wine more vulnerable to lightstrike, which is why green or UV resistant bottles are seen as safer by many producers.

As well as fermentation, it can also come from yeast influences, in a similar vein to biscuit and brioche notes. Levels of benzaldehyde are generally higher in sparkling wines, particularly those made using the traditional or charmat methods.

It is, for example, present in the dry red wine Allegrini, Valpolicella Classico Superiore Maujean, Denis Dubourdieu. Its chemical composition means it can be burnt in candles, when it can produce a resinous and honey-like aroma. In older white wines, Beeswax aromas can be evoked by the prominence of ethyl acetates, which might be created by yeast during fermentation, or from the breakdown of other components during bottle ageing.

This can apply to some Pinot Blanc wines, such as Jean Biecher, Pinot Blanc from Alsace, which has a nose of beeswax mingled with baked apple.

Beeswax can also be common in the aroma profile of German Rieslings which have had some time to develop. Texturally, the waxy or resinous element to beeswax can make it a useful descriptor for the mouthfeel of some wines.

It can also be detected in some particularly leesy Champagnes, where beeswax can give definition to autolytic notes like bread, biscuit, toast and brioche. It can also be found in oak-aged Chardonnay , where it can be a development of the caramelised butterscotch aromas that comes from the wood.

As a tasting note, brioche has three main components: rounded butter and yeast flavours, piqued by pastry sweetness. It refers to the heightened aromas of a heated pastry. During prolonged contact with the lees, autolysis occurs — when the yeast cells are broken down by enzymes, releasing macromolecules that impart biscuit, toast or brioche flavours. Buttery flavours or aromas are normally associated with white wines, and can be produced during malolactic fermentation or oak barrel-ageing.

These wines are typically Chardonnays from California , Australia and Burgundy. Diecetyl can also change the mouthfeel of wines, giving them a smoother and more rounded texture, as might be associated with butter. In winemaking it occurs as a natural byproduct of malolactic fermentation; the process by which bacteria converts malic acid into lactic acid — the same substance that is found in dairy products like butter.

Alternatively, buttery flavours and aromas can be produced during the process of barrel-ageing wines in new oak. The idea of caramel being swirled through your wine might be pretty sickly, but if it features subtly as a tasting note it can bring a luxuriantly developed sweetness to the nose and palate. The caramel-like effect is sometimes created by the vines being intentionally infected with botrytis cinerea, aka noble rot — a form of fungus that dries out the grapes, concentrating sugar levels.

This practice is commonly used in the production of dessert wines, such as those of the Sauternes and Barsac appellations, or Trockenbeerenauslese wines from Germany or Austria. Botrytis can also alter the mouthfeel of a wine, as it digests sugar and acids and excretes glycerol in its place. So the developed sweetness and silky mouthfeel can lead to an sensorial impression of smooth caramel. Lastly, this clever noble rot injects an enzyme called laccase, which is responsible for oxidising the wine, producing flavours ranging from apricot and almond to toffee and caramel.

It can also induce deep golden hues, so the wine appears caramel coloured, too. Look for it in other oxidised wine styles, such as in tawny Port or Palo Cortado Sherry. Another way to create caramel flavours is by the use of oak, because it can appear as a secondary aroma from oak-ageing, along with butterscotch and vanilla.

This can particularly be detected in Chardonnays aged in American oak, rather than French oak. Cereal aromas are most common in non-fruit forward white wines and can be an indicator of maturity, as well as oak or yeast influences. In this way, cereal is comparable with natural savoury-sweet aromas like honey and hay, which are also a sign of age and complexity in certain white wines, such as oak-aged Chardonnays.

In a similar way, wines which display flavours reminiscent of charcoal can be palatable if these notes are counterbalanced correctly. Activated charcoal can be directly used in winemaking. It can be identified in several different guises — milk chocolate, dark chocolate and even cocoa powder. The latter can sometimes be associated with ripe, sweet tannins, providing a descriptor of texture as well as flavour. Barrels that have been heavily toasted, either using an open flame or in an oven, can also lend chocolatey flavours to a wine.

The others are vanilla, coconuts and cloves, incidentally. Coffee aromas can be formed over the ageing process in young wines fresh from the barrel, which is why you so often find a hint of smoky cappuccino in vintage Champagne. An organic compound called furfurylthiol is known to give off a smoky, coffee aroma, which emanates from oak barrel toasting.

However, dairy is a category in the wine-tasting lexicon, including notes like butter, cheese and yoghurt, alongside cream. The chemical compound diacetyl is a natural byproduct of MLF and it can give wines a rich creamy, buttery or butterscotch odour.

In addition, diacetyl can change the mouthfeel of wines, giving them a smoother and more viscose texture, as might be associated with cream. You might find lactic notes like cream in barrel-fermented wines, too, alongside other complex flavours and aromas such as caramel, coconut, toast and vanilla.

This is mostly found in white wines, particularly Chardonnays from Burgundy. You can also look for creamy lactic notes in barrel-fermented sparkling wines that have received lees contact:. An aroma often found in red wines that have been aged in oak. It is often used as a descriptor in conjunction with vanilla, toast and cedar, which are all associated with the use of oak in red wines. It can also be a savoury characteristic indicative of a wine softening and ageing, losing some of its primary fruit and gaining complexity and depth.

Marzipan is paste or icing made from ground almonds, sugar and eggs. But as a wine tasting note, marzipan is used to describe a rich, sweet scent or flavour, with a slight almond bitterness at its centre. In the wine lexicon, marzipan is in the classified as a tertiary aroma, indicative of deliberate oxidation, as is used to make tawny Port or Palo Cortado Sherry.

As a descriptor in this category, marzipan is sweeter than other nutty aromas like hazelnuts and walnuts, but it stops short of toffee and caramel. You can often find lees-influenced aromas like marzipan in Chardonnay-based wines, like Champagne or white Burgundy. Most of us will be familiar with pastry in its various forms, made from mixing flour with butter or other fat substitutes and used to make baked goods. In wine tasting notes, references to pastry usually relate to sweeter styles of pastry, such as might be used to make croissants or fruit pies and tarts.

Pastry notes can indicate that the wine has spent some time in contact with dead yeast cells, or lees. These lees-related techniques involve the process of autolysis, or the breakdown of the dead yeast cells by enzymes.

Autolytic characteristics might be present a range of wines, including white Bordeaux and Burgundy , as well as sparkling wines, such as those from Champagne and Cava. On the autolytic spectrum, pastry can be considered slightly sweeter than toast and bread, though not as sweet as biscuit.

Due to its high fat content, pastry notes also imply a relatively rich, rounded mouthfeel. Some red wines can have a pastry-like mouthfeel too, particularly premium Burgundy wines. Petrol notes in wine are caused by a chemical, trimethyl-dihydronaphthalene TDN , whose precursors are naturally found in the juice and skins of the Riesling grape.

Generally, aged Rieslings can have a petrol aroma as the precursors in the wine combine over time to form TDN. Smoky notes generally come from oak. Normally the intensity of smoky aromas and flavours in a wine will be determined by the toast of the oak how charred it was , how many times the barrel has been used and how long the wine spends in the barrel. If the wine is put into a new barrel that has had a heavy toast then the likelihood of having smoky notes will increase.

This can be desirable if the wine has the structure to handle the oak. Sometimes heavy toasting and too many new barrels can lead to an overtly smoky wine, which may integrate with time, but can be difficult to assess when the wine is young. Smoke taint can also happen, when forest fires occur between veraison when the grapes ripen and harvest time.

Tar may seem an unlikely substance to be evoked by wine, but as with notes of tobacco and petrol it can be an unusual source of pleasure.

If expressed in harmony with the other flavours and aromas of the wine, tar can add a pungent edge, the kind to make your nostrils dilate. It is usually used as a savoury descriptor of red wines; Barolo wines from Piedmont are most commonly ascribed a tar-like quality. They are made from the thick-skinned Nebbiolo grape, and usually have high acidity with no shortage of tannins.

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