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BLOG #7: Why does wine have so many flavours?

Wine flavours - why do we have so many? What creates the aromas?

Well ultimately, scientists call them stereoisomers - aroma compounds. You can break these down as per the wine educators (WSET) they liken them to primary - which we have established from previous blogs are fruit / first up aromas - which are flavours/aromas derived from the grape and alcoholic fermentation process.


The secondary flavours/aromas profile are derived from post-fermentation winemaking - ie they are created from either yeast in the wine, malolactic fermentation or oak - all things that can be supplemented to the wine at the discretion of the winemaker to enhance flavour profile / complexity to the wine.


The teritary aromas/flavours are typically derived from once secondary has been done by the winemaker, the maturation period that the wine then has - this can be in a number of forms too - i.e. one method would be to deliberately oxidise the wine, or maybe the winemaker feels that further time in bottle can age the wine to develop it yet further. Evidence of this ageing can be seen potentially on the palate with the development of the fruit to more dried or cooked fruit development too as a good indicator.


The reality is ..... Wine can have so many aroma compounds because of the process of making wine. This starts in the vineyard and depends on the style of vineyard management and approaches to cultivating grape production. Grapes are a very sensitive fruit that really take on flavour profiles from their surroundings and their environment exceptionally easily.


Pollination is important in wine production and hence why you will typically see more and more closer workings with bees - which help pollinate the surrounding plants and herbs and grasses around the vines. They distribute pollen whilst the grapes ripen and they absorb subtle flavour characteristics from these plants. Not to mention location, aspect, altitude and latitude of vineyard locations have substantial impacts on the fruit profile - as an easy example, those vineyards that are based on cliffs close to large water profiles will take on additional subtleties as a result.


Then as we mentioned above, once the winemaker has signalled it is time to harvest grapes, then everything that takes place from that point onwards and during the time spent in the winery, can impact the profile of the wine.


Does the winemaker want to age these in oak? Or in inert steel tanks?

Does the winemaker want to include stems or desteem?

Is there a second fermentation in bottle?

How long has it been from vineyard to winery before the grapes have arrived and therefore how much oxidation have they been exposed to?

How strict is the grape selection and sorting process in the winery?

How long will the wine be in contact with skins?

What sort of pressing will be done in the winery?


The list goes on....


So ultimately, no wonder we all get some different smells and tastes from the impact of wine being drunk between friends!


It's been fun - all feedback welcome. Let us know what you think and any questions feel free to ask. We are a community of wine lovers!


Best regards

The Devon Wine Guy


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