Wine grapes can really take on a slew of flavors. First, here’s a little science.
Wine grapes are special because they can contain up to 600 molecular components. These components allow them to create a wide breadth of different flavor and aroma profiles.
There are many molecular components that make up the various building blocks that create flavors and aromas we associate with a variety of things like cherry, chocolate, tobacco, grass or currants. Cherry, for example, is a very specific combination of chemical compounds called phenols.
You might wonder why you pick up things like plum or nectarine or green grass when you smell and drink wine.
Start with the simple, short chains of polyphenols that excess primary flavors and aromas like stone fruit (peaches, nectarines and apricot), cherry, plum and green apple. We picked and crushed this year’s Viognier just a few weeks ago. If you’d been blindfolded, you would have sworn you were drinking freshly pressed apple juice.
Or, the molecules can combine to create more complex flavor profiles. More complex aromatics — truffle, tobacco, leather and barnyard for instance, are formed with longer and longer chains of polyphenols. The longer the chain, the more complex the aromatic or flavor it expresses.
So, next time you’re enjoying a glass of Adobe Road wine, really take the time to engage all of your senses. And remember how the wine grapes blinded you with science.