All kinds of images come to mind when I think of fruity wines, but what does it really mean? Are red and white wines really ‘fruity’ like a tropical drink or Juicy Fruit gum? Wine grapes, after all, are fruit. I write fact sheets for our wines and they always include tasting notes. I rely on our winemaker Montse and cellarmaster Polo to help flesh them out-and each of us comes up with fruit descriptors that come close to what we taste and smell in a particular wine. Sometimes there is grapefruit in our Sauvignon Blanc or ripe black plum in our Cabernet Sauvignon. But these are descriptors and you might taste or smell something completely different. When tasting wine we need to rely on our own aroma history to come up with ways to describe what is in the glass.
When I was first learning about wine one of my favorite classes was at UC Davis where John Buechsenstein taught a wine sensory evaluation course. With several rows of samples in front of me, each glass held a neutral wine with something extra: a cherry lifesaver, fresh herb, black peppercorns, bell pepper. I swirled and sniffed my way through the samples thereby learning through an intense aroma experience. The lifesaver, as intense as it was, helped establish the fruit character in my aroma library. With this in mind when you try a new wine or open an old favorite, keep the fruit in mind—and try to discern just how a wine grape can be so complex. A splash of Chardonnay with notes of pineapple and lemon in my Dino please.