19 Aug You can taste what?
Wine should be easy! So why all the fancy terms and descriptions on the label? Are they trying to confuse or convince us or are they just having a lend?
The thing is, some things are easy to describe, and some are really hard.
If I say something is red or blue – most of us can imagine these colours and have a clear picture of what I mean (even though the shades may differ).
But think about what something tastes like or smells like. This is harder. The best we can do for taste is say its either sweet, salty, sour, bitter or umami (think soy sauce, anchovy), maybe spicy or fruity. And, because we can smell so many different things we try to be more precise by describing the smell by its origin. For example peachy, or chocolatey, or limey, or like jasmine, or like cedar etc…
The important thing to realise here is that the flavour of a wine is a combination of what we taste and smell (texture can also play a part, but we won’t get into that right now).
If you can taste or smell say, peach or apricot in a wine, chances are, there is a compound in the wine identical to what you’d find in a peach or apricot that gives its distinctive taste or smell.
So, when you see all those fancy descriptive terms, that’s just someone trying to convey, as accurately as they can, what they could smell and taste in a wine and, like most things, there are standardised descriptors that should and can be used for wine aromas (usually in a wheel format, see diagram). These are great when you’re just starting to enjoy wine to help describe what you’re tasting, but most people want to put their individual spin on things and that’s when it gets a little crazy…..so, don’t be afraid, just click here and we can help get you started.
(Wine aroma wheel from UC Davis.)