How can a wine made from grapes smell of cherries, plums, apples, leather, etc…when those things are not artificially added to the wine?
The biology and chemistry of each of these components give us the main tastes of wine such as sweet, sour, and rarely bitter, that we associate with different foods, spices, or minerals. These aroma compounds are often the same as those in the source and they form due to the complicated biology of grapes, or the metabolic action of yeast, or the many other chemical interactions of the winemaking and aging process.
In general wine’s flavors come from three main sources:
MATURATION AND AGING
Following the winemaking process from grape to bottle gives us a chance to see just how tastes and aromas form in wine. Is all wine made from the same kind of grape? No .
The major wine grapes come from the species Vitis vinifera. All over world, winemakers use Vitis vinifera, which includes many different varieties of both red and white grapes.
However, there are other grapes also used for winemaking such as the native grape species in America, Vitis labrusca, which is grown widely in New York State as well as other East Coast and Mid-west states. Hybrids, which are also used, are a cross between Vitis vinifera other grape species.
The grape variety has a huge influence on wine flavor.
Varietal character – the usual or expected taste and aroma of a particular grape – is an important concept in winemaking. Each type of grape has typical characteristics to offer. For example, black grapes with thick skins tend to produce wines high in tannin, which equates to bitterness and astringency when a wine is young.
Riesling grapes tend to produce wines high in acidity and Muscat grapes produce highly aromatic wines.
One of the challenges of the winemaker is to either preserve or tame the distinctive qualities of grapes to create a wine that is well balanced.
After all they say what is in the winemakers heart, ends up underneath the cork.