North Coast Wine Co. Outerbound Pinot Noir – WineO Mark Review Wine Stats Grape Variety: 100% Pinot Noir Vintage: 2019 ABV: 14% Wine Region: North Coast,
What Does Wine Taste Like? Let's Find Out!
While most people regard wine with a sense of reverence and think it’s for the highly sophisticated, I’m here to tell you that it’s for everyone! And it’s so much FUN to figure out – what does wine taste like.
With its remarkable array of flavors and aromas, understanding what differentiates one glass from another is not as hard as you would believe. In fact, getting acquainted with the aromas and flavors unique to each type of wine will elevate your experience.
So first, it’s important to understand that wine is made from fermented grapes, and the taste of the wine is influenced by:
- type of grape
- growing conditions
- fermentation process
Plus there are many different grape varietals, each with its own unique flavor profile, and terroir (climate, soil, and growing conditions of the vineyard) which will also have a significant impact on the taste of the wine.
Table of Contents
Key Factors - What Does Wine Taste Like
Aroma: The aroma of wine is often referred to as the “nose” or the “bouquet” of the wine. Because it’s the scent that you smell when you first bring the glass of wine to your nose. Some common aromas include fruity notes like berries, apples, or citrus, as well as more complex aromas like earthy or floral scents.
Acidity: The level of acidity in wine can greatly influence the taste of the wine. So, wines with high acidity can taste crisp and refreshing, while wines with low acidity may taste flat or dull.
Tannins: Tannins are compounds found in the skins, seeds, and stems of grapes. And therefore, wines with high tannin levels can taste astringent and bitter, while wines with low tannin levels can taste soft and smooth. Also, red wines are typically higher in tannins than white wines, and the level of tannins can vary widely depending on the grape varietal and fermentation process.
Body: The body of wine refers to the weight and texture of the wine in your mouth. So, wines with a full body feel rich and heavy, while wines with a lighter body feel more delicate and airy. For instance, non-fat milk is light bodied whereas whole milk is creamy and full bodied.
Finish: The finish of wine refers to the aftertaste that lingers in your mouth after you’ve swallowed the wine. With this in mind, a long finish is considered desirable, as it allows you to savor the flavors of the wine long after you’ve finished your sip.
What are Primary Flavors in Wine?
Primary aromas of wine are the scents and flavors that are directly related to the grape variety used in making the wine. And these aromas can be influenced by factors such as the climate, soil, and vineyard practices where the grapes were grown, as well as the winemaking process itself. Finally the primary flavors of wine can be further classified into two main categories: fruity and non-fruity.
Fruity aromas are the most commonly associated primary aromas of wine. These aromas can include:
- Red fruit such as cherry, raspberry, and strawberry
- Black fruit such as blackberry, black cherry, and black currant
- White fruit such as green apple, pear, and white peach
- Citrus fruit such as lemon, lime, and grapefruit
Non-fruity aromas, on the other hand, are less commonly associated with wine but can add complexity and interest to the wine. These aromas can include:
- Herbal aromas such as mint, eucalyptus, and sage
- Floral aromas such as violet, rose, and jasmine
- Spice aromas such as cinnamon, clove, and black pepper
- Earthy aromas such as mushroom, leather, and forest floor
So next time you’re at a wine tasting, try to name some of these fruit aromas in your wine!
Now let’s go through what are called secondary and tertiary flavors in wine, which develop during the aging process and are a result of the chemical reactions that take place between the wine and its environment. By comparison, these aromas and flavors are more subtle and complex than primary aromas and flavors, and can add depth and richness to the wine.
What are Secondary Flavors in Wine?
Secondary flavors in wine are a result of the fermentation process and can include:
- Yeast aromas such as bread dough, biscuit, and toast
- Nutty aromas such as almond, hazelnut, and walnut
- Dairy aromas such as butter and cream
These aromas and flavors are often associated with white wines that have undergone malolactic fermentation, a process where the sharp malic acid in the wine is converted into softer lactic acid.
What are Tertiary Flavors in Wine?
Tertiary flavors in wine develop as a result of aging in oak barrels or in the bottle over an extended period of time. These aromas and flavors can include:
- Oak – vanilla, cedar, and spice
- Smoky – tobacco, leather, and charred wood/toasted oak
- Earthy – truffle, mushroom, and undergrowth
- Oxidative – honey, caramel, and dried fruit
These aromas and flavors are often associated with red wines that have been aged for several years in the bottle or in oak barrels.
In summary, tasting and identifying the aromas and flavors of wine can be a fun and rewarding experience for all wine drinkers.
And it’s important to take your time and pay attention to the different scents and flavors present in the wine, as well as the way they change and evolve as the wine opens up in the glass.
By developing your palate and honing your sensory skills, you can gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the complexities of wine. And you can show off at your next wine tasting!
What Does Red Wine Taste Like?
Red wine tastes different depending on the type of grape used, where the grapes were grown, and the winemaking process. However, in general, red wine can have a range of flavors that can include:
- Fruit flavors: Red wines typically have red and dark fruit flavors like blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, cherry, or plum, as well as other red or black fruits.
- Earthy flavors: And some reds can have earthy flavors, such as mushroom, truffle, or forest floor.
- Spices: Also, some wines can have spices flavors like black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, or anise.
- Oak: Furthermore, wines aged in oak barrels can have flavors of vanilla, caramel, or even smokiness.
- Tannins: And many red wines have tannins, which create a drying sensation in the mouth. Tannins can come from the grape skins, seeds, and stems, as well as from oak aging.
- Acidity: Lastly, these wines can have varying levels of acidity, which can give them a tart or sour taste.
The combination of these flavors creates the overall taste of red wine. And some wines may have more prominent fruit flavors, while others may have a more pronounced earthy or oaky taste.
Plus, the texture of red wine can also vary, ranging from light and easy-drinking to full-bodied and robust. Finally, the tannins in red wine can contribute to a wine’s mouthfeel, giving it a firm or chewy texture.
In general, red wines tend to be more complex and have a longer finish compared to white wines, which can make them great for pairing with food. And they can be enjoyed on their own or paired with a range of dishes, from grilled meats to hearty stews or pasta dishes.
What Does Rosé Wine Taste Like?
Rosé wine can taste different depending on the type of grape used, where the grapes were grown, and the winemaking process. However, in general, rosé wine can have a range of flavors that can include:
- Fruit flavors: Strawberry, raspberry, cherry, watermelon, or citrus, as well as other red or pink fruits.
- Floral aromas: Rose, violet, or other floral aromas.
- Mineral flavors: Flint, wet stone, chalk, salt, or other mineral flavors.
- Herbal flavors: Lavender, thyme, or herbal flavors.
- Acidity: Also rosé wines tend to have higher levels of acidity, which can give them a refreshing and crisp taste.
So the combination of these flavors creates the overall taste of rosé wine. And some rosé wines may have more prominent fruit or floral flavors, while others may have a more pronounced mineral and herbal taste. Also the texture of rosé wine can also vary, ranging from light and refreshing to medium-bodied and slightly tannic.
Rosé wine is made by allowing the grape skins to remain in contact with the juice for a shorter amount of time than in red wine production, which creates its characteristic pink color. So this shorter time also results in less tannins and a lighter color and body compared to red wines. And Rosé wine can be made from a variety of grapes, including Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel.
In general, Rosé wines tend to be more versatile than red or white wines when it comes to food pairing. They can be enjoyed on their own as an aperitif, or paired with a range of dishes, from light salads and seafood to grilled meats or spicy dishes. Therefore, Rosé wine is also a popular choice for outdoor gatherings and summer events due to its refreshing taste and light body.
What Does White Wine Taste Like?
White wine can taste different depending on the type of grape used, where the grapes were grown, and the winemaking process. However, in general, white wine can have a range of flavors that can include:
- Fruit flavors: Apple, pear, citrus fruits, stone fruits, or tropical fruits, as well as other light fruits.
- Floral aromas: Honeysuckle, jasmine, or orange blossom.
- Mineral flavors: Flint, wet stone, or chalk.
- Herbal flavors: Grass, herbs, or even a slight vegetal flavor.
- Oak: And some white wines are aged in oak barrels and can have flavors of vanilla, butterscotch, or toast. (Ex. oaked Chardonnay)
- Acidity: Also white wines tend to have higher levels of acidity, which can give them a refreshing and crisp taste.
In conclusion, some white wines may have more prominent fruit or floral flavors, while others may have a more pronounced mineral or herbal taste. Plus, the texture of white wine can also vary, ranging from light and refreshing to full-bodied and creamy. Finally, the level of sweetness can also differ, ranging from bone dry to off-dry or even sweet.
In general, white wines tend to be more straightforward and have a shorter finish compared to red wines.
In summary, wine is an enjoyable yet complex beverage with a wide range of flavors and aromas. And understanding what wine tastes like can greatly enhance your enjoyment of the drink and help you appreciate the different nuances and subtleties of different wine varietals.
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