Monday, September 1, 2008

Juicy Wine Aromas

I was reading a description of a Rosé we tried recently. It was a French wine, and a French review so I didn't get much of the translation but I was able to pull a few words out that I recognized: strawberry, raspberry, floral...But, there was another descriptor that intrigued me: amyliques. What is that? I wondered if it had something to do with fruit esters but I didn't know for sure.

To track down the answer, I enlisted the help of the wine search engine. My synopsis on what the sleuthing turned up is that the term "amyliques" is more or less synonymous with "Juicy Fruit" as in, the gum. Isoamyl acetate, AKA banana or pear oil, is the main flavoring in Juicy Fruit. Across the pond, this same flavor is sometimes described as "Pear Drop" (a hard candy with the same flavoring). Some wine lovers just say "smells like Isoamyl acetate." Personally, I usually stick with "ripe banana" but from now on, if it's really kinda juicy-fruity I might call it "banana oil."

While we're on the subject, I also wanted to turn you onto a handy wine aroma/flavors list I discovered in my Able Grape search. Tom Stevenson, the author of Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia has published his "mind jogging list" of aromas along with attendant varietal AND chemical names (woohoo! Food Biochemistry!) on It's an interesting, and even entertaining peruse with the added benefit of being educational.