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What are the primary fruit flavours in wine?

Last week’s article was entitled ‘Why do some people not enjoy the taste of wine?’ When choosing wines for many people it is down to price or some vague recognition of a region. So today’s article focuses on the making choices based on the fruit flavours in wine.

When describing wines you hear words and phrases such as, weight or body, the mouth watering acidity or sharpness, the heat from the alcohol, the mouth puckering tannins and a well balanced wine.

To begin the search to find the wines we like, let’s consider the flavours that we find in wine and some examples of wine with these flavours.  These flavours will not be in isolation as quality wines are often quite more complex in nature.

Fresh citrus flavours are found in many well made white wines.  Just as with citrus fruits, limes, oranges, lemons, wines with these flavours will also be notable for their refreshing acidity. Grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand and the Loire Valley in France, Verdejo from Rueda in Spain or a Chardonnay from Chile have these flavours.

Pineapple and tropical fruit flavours give a wine the sensation of sweetness even though it is dry.  For example an Australian Riesling or a Chardonnay from a warmer climate.

Green apple flavours are usually associated with wines that have a lively acidity.  Grape varieties such a Grüner Veltliner from Austria and Albariño from Galicia have these characteristics.

Cherry flavours are often found in red wines.  The Italian grape Sangiovese, which is used to make Chianti, is a notable example.

Strawberry and raspberry are flavours, often associated with the Spanish grape Tempranillo.  From a modest, youthful Tempranillo from La Mancha to a more upmarket Ribera del Duero, these are flavours that should jump out from your glass.  The grape variety Gamay from Beaujolais in France is also notable for these flavours.

These summer red berry flavours are also found in Rosé wines made from Bobal from Valencia or from Tempranillo and Garnacha/Grenache from northern Spain or southern France.

Ripe blackberries flavours are characteristic of wines made from the grape varieties Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux in France and Syrah from the Rhone in France or South Australia.

If the label indicates that the  wine that has been ‘aged in new oak barrels’, you can expect flavours of toast, coconut, butter and some spice.  Popular white wines in this category would include many Chardonnays from Australia. Whereas if you prefer a red wine a Rioja Crianza, for example will have these flavours along with the red berry flavours from the Tempranillo grape.

So whether you are asking for a wine in or restaurant or reading the information about a wine while in a wine store or on line, look for wines with flavour that you like.

It takes time and lots of tasting but there are wines out there for everyone.  By looking out for the fruit flavours in wine you may find the one that will unlock the door this wonderful world of wine.


Photo by William Felker on Unsplash

Written by

I am a Northern Irishman based in Valencia. My career in wine began more than three decades ago, in London. I am the founder of TheWinePlace.es, an online store, where wine enthusiasts can enjoy a selection of international wines and Verde Marte, a company dedicated to exporting Spanish wines. Also, Thewineplace.courses, an "approved program provider" of the courses of the prestigious WSET. I share my passion for wines through my media work writing weekly columns for the Spanish newspaper El Mundo and 5 Barricas, an online wine magazine.

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