Aroma and Tasting Guide: Reds

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by Courtney Cochran

Grape Variety

Common Aromas

Common Flavors

Pinot Noir

Light ruby with brown or pink rim

Red fruits: cherry, strawberry

Also: vanilla, caramel, smoke, earth, leather, game, spice, tobacco

Red fruits: cherry, strawberry

Also: vanilla, caramel, smoke, earth, game, spice, pomegranate

Merlot

Medium ruby with pink tones

Red fruits: plum, cherry, strawberry

Also: chocolate, vanilla, cream, coffee, herbs, tea leaves

Red fruits: plum, cherry, strawberry

Also: chocolate, vanilla, cream, coffee, herbs

Cabernet Sauvignon

Deep ruby

 

 

Red/dark fruits: raspberry, cranberry, cherry, blackcurrants

Also: spearmint, pencil shavings, cedar, oak, coffee, tobacco, dust

Red/dark fruits: raspberry, cranberry, cherry, blackcurrants

Also: spearmint, coffee, licorice, bell pepper, tobacco

Syrah/Shiraz

Deep cherry with pink rim

 

Red fruits: stewed plum

Also: pepper, licorice, spice, earth, jam, deli meats, tar, smoke

Red fruits: stewed plum  

Also: pepper, licorice, spice, jam, deli meats

Nebbiolo (Barolo & Barbaresco)

Medium brick with brown rim

Red fruits: strawberry, jam

Also: tobacco, smoke, tea leaves, coffee, tar, eucalyptus, anise, floral

Red fruits: strawberry, jam

Also: tobacco, smoke, coffee, anise, mint

 

Zinfandel

Ruby to brick

(color varies)

 

Red/dark fruits: jammy blackberry and raspberry, cherry, plum

Also: tar, pepper, spice, herbs, licorice, cinnamon

Red/dark fruits: jammy blackberry and raspberry, cherry, plum

Also: pepper, spice, herbs, licorice, cinnamon

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2 Comments

So where's the Petite Sirah descriptors? The poor forgotten red headed stepchild of the wine world looses out again.

Jeff,

For the sake of readability I kept this post to more of a snapshot of some popular reds. In terms of overall consumption, Petite Sirah is not a major player. That said, I love it and featured it in a stand-alone article around the same time that - I think you'll be pleased see - gives the grape a LOT more air time than this piece would have afforded: http://discover.winecountry.com/wine/2009/07/p-s-i-love-you.html

Cheers, Courtney

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