Top 10 ludicrous but true wine descriptors

10th February, 2016 by Darren Smith

smellThe average wine drinker’s tasting vocabulary may be limited to “fruity” or “nice”, but the actual flavour of a wine is far more complex than that. As many as 1,000 different flavour compounds have been identified in wine – not all of them fruity, and not all of them nice.

Whether it’s a cast-iron fault such as TCA or one of the more dubious ‘flaws’ such as brettanomyces, or any one of the many hundreds of benign reactions occurring in the chemical phantasmagoria of a glass of wine, the aromas produced can often beggar belief – as the ludicrous but true descriptors featured in the following pages illustrate…


3 Responses to “Top 10 ludicrous but true wine descriptors”

  1. Anthony Rose says:

    This comment was deleted from the revised version as Anthony Hanson realised that what he’d been describing was brett and so, not surprisingly didn’t want to perpetuate the misleading association. Much the same occurred in Australia when luminaries such as James Halliday discovered that the leathery character of Hunter Valley Shiraz previously described as ‘sweaty saddles’ was in fact closer to blazing saddles than umami.

  2. Rita Erlich says:

    Thanks for all of that. But I’d question one thing, under point 10 : horsiness is not really the same as horse manure. Horsiness is the smell of clean horses, animal, but not manure. It’s a smell that also appears in violets. Some violets (not all) have horsy notes, so do some black truffles. I’d love to know what the chemical compound is.

  3. Pamela says:

    Of note, the term on slide 6 should be ‘Foxy’, not Foxes. Its a wild, musky odor that is prevalent in varieties like Concord. I think ‘Foxy’ fits the smell well 😉

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