Cards of Wine

Red Wine Flavors

It is common to split the flavors of a red wine in two categories: Red Fruit and Dark Fruit.

If you can tell the difference, it will help you identify the wine in a blind taste.

Wines that exhibit Dark Fruit flavors are usually those in the full-body category, like Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.

Those with Red Fruit flavors are usually lighter and medium-bodied, such as Gamay and Pinot Noir.

When doing blind tasting, close your eyes and try to think if you have tasted some of these berries before.

Red Fruit Flavors


Strawberry
Strawberry
Raspberry
Raspberry
Redcurrant
Red
Currant
Cranberry
Cranberry

Red Cherry
Red
Cherry
Red Plum
Red
Plum
Red Plum
Dragon
Fruit
Pomegranate
Pomegranate

Red Fruit flavors are associated with grapes like Gamay, Grenache, and Pinot Noir.

Black Fruit Flavors


Blackberry
Blackberry
Blueberry
Blueberry
Black Currant
Black
Currant
Acai
Acai

Black Cherry
Black
Cherry
Black Plum
Black
Plum
Prunes
Prunes
Fig
Fig

Dark Fruit flavors are associated with grapes like Cab Sauvignon, Malbec and Syrah.

Red Berries


Strawberry
Strawberry
Raspberry
Raspberry
Redcurrant
Red
Currant
Cranberry
Cranberry

Strawberry and Raspberry flavors are found in fruity red wines with medium to high acidity:

French Pinot Noir and Gamay. Italian Barbera, Nebbiolo, and Sangiovese based wines (Chianti). American Zinfandel, and Spanish Tempranillo.

Red Currant and Cranberry flavors can be found in cold climate Pinot Noirs from France, Germany, and Austria, and in young and fruity wines based on Gamay (Beaujolais), Barbera and Grenache.

Black Berries


Blueberry
Blueberry
Blackcurrant
Blackcurrant
Blackberry
Blackberry
Black Olive
Black Olive

Blueberry flavors are typically found in French Mourvedre, American Petite Sirah, and French Syrah.

Black Currant notes are typically found in Cabernet Sauvignon.

Blackberry flavors are typically found in Italian Dolcetto, Italian Nero d'Avola, Portuguese Touriga National, and in warmer climate Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah/Shiraz.

Black Olive aromas are identified by ripeness and can be found in Syrah/Shiraz and California Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cherries


Red Cherry
Red Cherry
Black Cherry
Black Cherry

The flavors of Cherries span from red to black, and from fresh to sweet.

Red Cherries are found in young Pinot Noir. Black Cherries are found in mature Pinot Noir.

Red Cherry flavors are found in: French Beaujolais, North Italian Barbera, Bardolino and Valpolicella, Italian Sangiovese wines, Chianti and Brunello, Italian Nebbiolo wines, Barolo and Barbaresco.

Black Cherry notes are found in Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc.

Plums


Plum
Red Plum
Plum
Black Plum
Prunes
Prunes

The flavors of Plums can span from red to black, from freshness to sweetness to Prunes.

Red Plum flavors are found in easy-drinking red wines like Barbera, Pinot Noir, and Merlot.

Black Plum flavors are found in full bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvingnon, Red Bordeaux (France), Sangiovese (Italy), Super Tuscan (Italy), and Touriga Nacional (Portugal).

Notes of Prunes can be found in many red wines with concentrated fruit flavours, like Italian Sangiovese and Barbera wines, rich Malbec wines, Petite Sirah wines, rich Syrah wines, and rich Grenache wines from warmer climates.

Flowers


Roses
Lavender
Violet
Violet
Roses
Rose
Mint
Mint

Lavender aromas can be found in Sangiovese based wines, warm climate Pinot Noir, Barbera, Tempranillo, Mourvèdre, Petit Verdot, Syrah / Shiraz and Grenache.

Violet aromas can be found in Nebbiolo based wines like Barolo and Barbaresco.

Rose flavors can be found in some Nebbiolo based wines, Pinot Noir, Gamay, Grenache and Sangiovese.

Mint flavors can be found in worm climate Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sweet (Jammy)


Jam
Jam
Fig
Fig
Raisins
Raisins
Chocolate
Chocolate

Warm climate Pinot Noir can have hints of strawberry jam. Full-bodied Syrah/Shiraz can have notes of blackberry jam, while Sangiovese and Barbera wines from Italy may have notes of both raspberry and plum jam.

The New World has jammy wines such as Zinfandel, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Grenache.

Fig flavors can be found in Appassimento wines like Ripasso, Amarone, and Primitivo Passitivo.

Raisin flavors are typical for wines made from dried grapes, like Amarone from Italy, and passito wines like Primitivo Passitivo. You may also find some raisins notes in Syrah/Shiraz wines.

Chocolate flavors can be found in both Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet franc, and also in Argentinian Malbec.

Spices


Bell Pepper
Bell Pepper
Licorice
Licorice
Spices
Spices
Pepper
Pepper

Bell Pepper aromas come from a compound called "pyrazines", and is found in Bordeaux-family grapes like Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Carménère, and Malbec.

Licorice notes can come together with black fruit flavours in Syrah blends from Rhône, and with violet and rose aromas in Italian Nebbiolo wines.

The taste of Spices is assosiated with Côtes du Rhône South (GSM wines).

Syrah have notable Black Pepper notes. Pepper notes are also often found in Pinot Noir.

Fermentation Flavors


Oak
Oak
Nuts
Almonds
Banana
Banana

Almonds are associated with bitterness. It can be created during fermentation and/or carbonic maceration. It can also come from the yeast.

You can sense tasty Bitter Almonds in Italian Valpolicella.

Banana aromas can come from a fermentation process called carbonic maceration, commonly used in the production of Beaujolais Nouveau.

Oak Flavors

Oak treatment can add flavors of Wood, Smoke, Spices and Sweetness:


Wood
Wood
Smoke
Smoke
Spices
Spices
Sweetness
Sweetness

French Oak

French Oak tends to taste Toast, Hazelnuts, Savory Spices, and Roasted Coffee:


Toast
Toast
Nuts
Hazelnuts
Cloves
Cloves
Coffee
Coffee

American Oak

American Oak tends to taste Vanilla, Coconut, Sweet Spices, and Dill:


Vanilla
Vanilla
Coconut
Coconut
Cinnamon
Cinnamon
Dill
Dill

From Bottle Aging

Aged wines will lose many primary aromas and develop new aromas of of maturation:


Forest
Forest
Mushroom
Mushroom
Truffle
Truffle
Tobacco
Tobacco

Leather
Leather
Meat
Meat
Bacon
Game
Bacon
Bacon

Bottle aging can add earthy flavors to wine, like Forest Floor, Wet Leaves, and Mushroom.

Mushroom aromas can appear in aged Pinot Noir, Rioja Reserva, Barolo, and Barbaresco.

Tobacco notes from bottle aging are typically found in Cabernet Sauvignon, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Nebbiolo wines, like Barolo and Barbaresco.

Leather aromas can be found in Barbera, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Good Leather aromas are caused by tannins, and can be described as new saddle, new bag, and new gloves.

Un-pleasant Leather aromas are caused by Brettanomyces yeast (British fungus / Brett) and can be described as sweaty saddle, old boots, and wet dog.

Meat aromas can be found in full-bodied red wines like Bordeaux, Syrah, and Shiraz.

Game or Hung Meat aromas can be found in fruit-driven wines like Pinot Noir, Barbera, and Rioja.

Aromas of Bacon or Smoked Meat can be found in Syrah from Rhône North, and in South African Pinotage.