Top 10 weird wine tastes

From the sweet tinge of bubblegum to the metallic tang of blood, the world of wine is home to some less than ordinary tastes and aromas.


Recently an Oxford professor said the theory that humans can decipher just five tastes was outdated and needed to be revised.

Speaking to the drinks business, Charles Spence, professor of experimental psychology at Oxford University, said far from the five commonly held tastes of sweet, sour, salty, bitter and recently umami, there are actually as many as 20 different tastes.

These include fat, metallic, calcium, astringency and hotness, however those in the world of wine might argue that there are hundreds more.

While typical wine tastes might include blackcurrant, raspberry, cherry and strawberry, for the more finely trained palate, a great many more flavours are distinguishable, as this list proves.

For some of the world of wines more unusual tastes, scroll through….

5 Responses to “Top 10 weird wine tastes”

  1. Manu says:

    Very interesting article!

  2. And if you don’t think there are a galaxy of wine flavor descriptors, just read Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth reviews!

  3. “Bloody” is something I occasionally find in red wines, and love.

  4. Murray Hill says:

    The aroma of a lead pencil in wine is something I often ask the sommelier for, when I am at a restaurant. Needless to say, I often get a blank stare, followed by a recommendation of the most expensive wine on the menu.. but it is definitely one of the most satisfying aromas I look for, and when I find a wine that has even a hint of it, I make a note! Funnily enough, this assumes that as a kid you must have spent some time sucking on a pencil, to the horror of your parents; otherwise how would you know how to describe that taste?

  5. Tom Cobett says:

    I will never understand how “pencil lead” became an acceptable descriptor for wine aroma. Pencil “lead” is not the metallic lead. It is actually graphite, a form of carbon. Some wine critics have started using the term “graphite” instead of “pencil lead” which really makes even less sense to me.
    Graphite has no appreciable smell. I have worked with industrial graphite for decades and it has never had any smell.
    What people are smelling when they are near a pencil is the wood part of the pencil which has historically been Cedar wood. Next time you are in the lumber department of Home Depot or Lowes, find some Cedar and smell it. That smell is what the wine writers are calling “pencil lead.”
    Got it? If you like this aroma in wine, please call it “Cedar” or even “cigar box” since they are also made out of Cedar.

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