and even soy sauce.
Let’s get back to grapes. A grape has flavours depending on its variety, these flavours are chemical compounds, such as furaneol, mentioned above. Once fermentation begins, we also get yeast derived flavours. These are called Esters. So we have flavours that come from the grapes (depending on variety and growing condition) and flavours that come from our yeast. And then we have flavours that come from yeast breaking down and barrel ageing. Furthermore, we have flavours that develop in bottle over time, changing the aforementioned flavours!
It would be remiss to discuss flavours without discussing the other components that can affect flavour. The acid level of the wine, the tannic structure, the sweetness, the alcohol level and the temperature at drinking all change how we taste. Not to mention the choices I make along the way making the wine.
Methoxypyrazine — gives the aroma of fresh cut grass to a Sauvignon Blanc or the bell pepper aroma in Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. In cooler years or if fruit is underripe, the wine can smell like green peppers.
Monoterpenes — flowery and very aromatic compounds that smell like roses, citrus peel, fruit loops, sweet spices or even coriander. You can taste these flavours in Gewürztraminer, Viognier, Riesling or Muscat (Little Fluffy Clouds). Some of the monoterpenes are called Geraniol, Nerol and Linalool
Sotolon — this is a strong one, smelling like curry or caramel, maple syrup or burnt sugar. You would find this in purposely oxidized wine like Vin Jaune.
TDN (1,1,6,-trimethyl-1,2-dihydronapthalene) — Aromas like kerosene, petroleum, plastic or diesel and is common in older Riesling. TDN can be higher in concentration from a hotter vintage.
Rotundone — this smells like black pepper, cocoa powder or spice and is found in bigger reds like Syrah.
Diacetyl — butter, cream aromas and a creamy texture. Diacetyl is created during MLF (malolactic fermentation). At thigh concentrations is can even smell like rancid butter. At lower concentrations, like in our Chardonnay, it creates a buttery aromatic.
Depending on where we are, how we are feeling, what colour the wine is and what else we have eaten, we taste wines differently. If I say something like STRAWBERRY before you taste a wine, that will change how you perceive the wine. Flavours are so complex. There are the actual components that are in a wine and there is us.