Top 10 ludicrous but true wine descriptors

7 – Curry

CurryThe specific chemical compound here is 3-Hydroxy-4,5-dimethylfuran-2(5H)-one (good old 3-Hydroxy-4,5-dimethylfuran-2(5H)-one) – aka sotolon. This compound finds its way into white wines through grapes infected by botrytis, contributing what some wine bods describe as a toffee apple or maple syrup character.

Sotolon also comes in a much spicier guise though. Certain wines affected by oxidation can pick up a distinct curry leaf-like smell as they age. The Jura’s famous Vin Jaune is a good example.

The curry descriptor makes a lot of sense when you know that sotolon was first isolated from fenugreek. It’s also present in cumin.

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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