|wine & notes harmonious|
I started to reference the official definition of wine tasting notes, but as I perused my wine library and on the internet, while fascinating, the experts seem to convolute the definition with explanations of aroma and flavor descriptors and olfactory senses. Now I’ve referenced one of the many articles for you to read at your leisure. However, simply put, Notes are flavor and aroma enhancers that make two of the same grape taste differently.
When it comes to Notes, your nose and tongue work harmoniously to decipher the various properties that accompany the grape. The list is endless and is derived from some of the yummiest like additives like cinnamon to things one might not necessarily eat; chalk or ink. However inedible ingredients act better as descriptors of what is imagined a flavor might remind you of like gasoline or gunflint. These descriptors are great when denoting aromas as well.
Because your tongue and nose work together in terms of Tasting Notes; distinguishing them are solely dependent upon the awareness of one’s senses. And one might have more sensitivity to one type of scent or flavor over another. This sensibility can also be attributed to grave likes and dislikes. For example, I love lemonade but I am not a big fan of over-bearing citrus notes in white wine. So when I taste a wine that has a heavy note of citrus, Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc, I can smell it a mile away and taste it before it touches my lips. I’m exaggerating a very little but remember notes are clues and markers for remembrance. Now if I detect large vanilla in a Merlot, I’m stoked. Again I don’t care for over-bearing but I’m okay if the butter or toast is heavy in a Chardonnay and Vanilla, jam or currants are weighted in a Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc or red Blend.
A varied word for Tasting Note is Essence. Notes are only the essence of flavors and aromas. Never make the mistake of thinking because you’ve read or heard that your favorite Beaucanon Estate boasts of a long chocolate finish, that you’ll be biting into a Hershey Bar.
It’s best not to believe because your favorite LeCrema Pinot Noir speaks of notes of licorice and strawberry that you’ll be biting your way through a field. When you smell that hint of strawberry it might take you back to a barefoot walk through a field of strawberries or lavender but with wine, your imagination is what will carry you away, not the Note.
Your nose and tongue aren’t the only receptors of notes. Your eyes are as well. Many winemakers list the notes on the back of the label. I believe it is a great way to determine if you might like that wine and can entice you to taste or buy if you are not familiar with it. A wine snob might disagree and consider listing the notes on the bottle as cheat sheets, but that’s okay. When and if you are ready to blind taste you will. And if you want to be adventurous, try a wine you haven’t tried before and refrain from reading the label. Taste it and mark down the notes, in pencil, in your journal. Check the label. Were you right? See you are well on your way to knowing and remembering what you like and why you like it…Cheers!
Finally, I want to leave you with a partial list of aroma/flavor jargon. *Fruit is usually the easiest to decipher but the following is a list you may also want to look out for:
Tobacco, Leather, Spices, Nuts, Herbs, Flowers, Earth, Animals, Farmyard, Minerals, Eucalyptus, Grass, Smoke, Mint, Kerosene, Olives, Honey, coffee, Tar….
*List and wording courtesy of Heard It Through The Grapevine by Matt Skinner