Have you ever noticed that wine can smell and taste like anything except grapes? Well, you are not alone. Let's see where wine gets its flavour from and why it can smell and taste so different.
What makes the flavor and aromas of wines so delightful?
Here are some essential factors that influence developing wine's flavour profile.
Grapes varietals are diverse: some of them are delicate whilst others are tangy, some develop more sugars and others are more acidic. Just compare Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. These are both white grapes that originate from France, but they don't taste the same. Chardonnay is richer and fuller-bodied, with a silky mouthfeel. Sauvignon Blanc is more light, acidic, and herbaceous.
Wine has a terroir. This is how a particular region’s climate, soils and air affect the taste of wine. The amount of sunlight each vine gets, the length of the growing season, the mineral content of the soil and the microclimate of the region play an essential role in wine's flavour profile.
In warmer climates, grapes ripe faster, leading to lower acidity, higher sugar levels, and darker color. The higher levels of sugar make the wine full-bodied. If you like your wines rich and full-bodied, try this Nice Malbec from Argentina.
In cooler climates grapes ripe slowly, they have high levels of acidity, which gives the wine a refreshing and even tangy taste. These grapes also have lower sugar levels, resulting in drier wines with lower alcohol and lighter body. If you like your wines light, crisp, and dry, you might enjoy tasting this Zesty Riesling from Germany.
Fermentation and Yeast
Fermentation is a magic that turns grape juice into the drink of gods, by another name, wine. During fermentation yeast eat grape sugars. In the process, the sugar is digested and ends up as carbon dioxide and alcohol.
Fermentation drives chemical reactions that affect the flavor, aroma, and even color of the wine. Yeast are working really hard to produce complex compounds such as esters, tannins, amino acids, and more. All of these compounds give wines their classic flavors and aromas that we all love and enjoy. Esters, for instance, are known for their ability to make wine taste citrusy and floral. And "buttery" mouthfeel in Chardonnay is delivered by diacetyl — a compound produced by yeasts that also happens to give butter its flavor.
Wine can be aged in oak barrels or in steel. Aging in oak boosts wine tannins and imparts flavors such as caramel, vanilla, and clove (if the barrel is lightly toasted) or aromas of cocoa, coffee, and smoke (if the barrel is heavily toasted). Aging in steel adds no flavour but protects the wine from oxygen and ensures wine consistency.
Ready to test your knowledge on practice? Then check out our selection of wines made by independent winemakers from Italy, Germany, France, and Argentina. Pair it with food and enjoy this elegant and delicious drink!