According to the French, life is too short to drink bad wine, and we have to agree. For many wine lovers, the experience of tasting and describing a wine is often quite an experience. What’s more, trying to describe the flavour of their favourite wine is also delicate and tricky for many. While many of you in Cayman buy your wines from Cayman wine shops, it surely must have crossed your mind that if wines are made primarily of grapes, then why do wines have different flavours?
Categories of Wine
As you will know, Cayman wines, as is the case with all wines, are primarily categorized as white and red wine. Some types of white wine grapes can be Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon blanc. While some of the best red wine grape varieties include Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet sauvignon, and Pinot noir.
Flavours of Various Wines
When it comes to the taste, you will discover that Riesling wine varieties are much lighter than their Chardonnay cousins and the aroma usually includes that of fresh apples. They generally prove tastier and tastier as they age. Alternatively, a Gewürztraminer wine variety includes fruity flavours with aromas of peach, lychee, allspice, and rose petal.
A Chardonnay wine is often wider-bodied and more velvet than other types of dry white wines. It has rich citrus flavours that remind one of lemon and grapefruit. If you ferment Chardonnay in new oak barrels, it adds a buttery tone that suggests of vanilla, toast, coconut, and toffee.
At the same time, a Sauvignon blanc is generally lighter than Chardonnay and shows a herbal character that reminds you of bell pepper or even freshly mown grass. You get the hint of dominating flavours which range from sour green fruits of apple, gooseberry, and pear, to tropical fruits of melon, mango, and blackcurrant.
Flavours of Various Wines
What does Chardonnay taste like?
Among the red wine grapes, Syrah wine gives aromas and flavours of wild black fruits like blackcurrants. They also include overtones of black pepper spice and roasting meat. If the wine has rested in oak barrels, it could include toffee notes as well. While Merlot wines typically produce black-cherry and herbal flavours, Cabernet sauvignon, which is accepted as one of the world’s best varieties, are full bodied yet firm and gripping when young. Oak treatment may add vanilla notes to the flavour. The Pinot Noir variety includes fruity aromatics such as cherry, strawberry, and plum. You will also find notes of worn leather, tea-leaf, and damp earth.
Why Flavours - The Facts
Thus, if you taste a Chardonnay grape, it will taste very different from a Chardonnay wine. As stated earlier, a chardonnay wine has flavours that remind one of apple, lemon, and butter. So how does this happen?
The credit goes to aroma compounds or stereoisomers as known more popularly in the scientific world. These compounds are released by the fermentation as well as by the alcohol which is present in the wine. Since alcohol is volatile and becomes a gas at room temperature, it carries these aromas which are lighter than air compounds into your nose.
Since each compound can affect the flavour of another compound or even the overall flavour of a wine, a Chardonnay, for example, tastes different from others.
Finally, the secret of flavours lies ultimately in the brain, which can think of multiple answers to one aroma compound or stereoisomer. Hence, the brain can interpret many flavours. For example a lychee fruit can also smell like roses. To end, our nose interprets and even prioritizes stereoisomers differently depending upon how you adapt to different smells and environment. Fortunately, if no two people can agree on the specifics, they can agree with the major categories for the flavours that are present in the wine.