Wine aromas: Where do they come from?

 

Wine aromas: Where do they come from?

Wine aromas are what you smell when you sniff the wine.

But where do they come from ?

Let’s make it clear: They do not come from the things that are put into the wine. In fact, it is not allowed by law to put such things in a wine in the most of the world. So, if you get strawberry smell from a wine, this doesn’t mean that someone put strawberries in the wine during the winemaking process. It doesn’t even mean that strawberry can be found in the region where the grapes of that wine were planted. But if this is true, where do the aromas come from?

The wine aromas come from chemical compounds that are created during the winemaking process. There are certain compounds that smell like chocolate, and there are some compounds that smell like vegetables, etc.

Congratulations! You just discovered the most fascinating feature of the wine world. From now on, you won’t be able to keep yourself putting your nose into your wine glass. I do that and I don’t feel embarrassed for this. You’ll get used to it.

You may hear terms like primary aromas, secondary aromas, or tertiary aromas. Well, that is a more complicated story. Let me know if you would like to read about it!

 

An autumn morning in Lavaux

RivazI had the chance of spending a few days in the vineyards of beautiful Lavaux, Switzerland in the first week of november. To be honest, I didn’t know that they were so beautiful! I love the autumn colors, and those colors look especially beautiful in Lavaux, where you can have the mountains, the see, and the vines in your view at the same time. “Absolutely stunning!” with the words of my favourite youtuber and photographer Thomas Heaton 🙂

We stayed in a hotel within the vineyards, and we had the best view ever when we woke up! I totally understand why this are is a world heritage site.

DSCF0003On our first morning in Lavaux, we had an appointment with Mr. Christophe Chappuis from Domaine Chappuis at 10:30. We noticed that his place was only 1km away from our hotel, and we decided to walk. However, there was something that we didn’t take into consideration. The view! It was so beautiful, we stopped on every 5 steps to enjoy the amazing view, to make some pictures, or to show each other how beautiful it was. It took us more than half an hour to get there! Unbelievable, isn’t it? I was ashamed of having made people wait, but Mr. Chappuis admitted that he actually forgot our appointment when we finally arrived. I was releaved to hear that.

When Mr. Chappuis told me that his family has been making wine since 1335 in this area and that he was the 21st generation making wine, I immediately thought about my grandparents and their grandparents. Sadly, I don’t know anything about them. Even if I new, I’m pretty sure that they were not doing what I’m doing for a living. Honestly, how many jobs have that kind of history? If you are in IT are for instance, or marketing? But apparently, this is possible if you are a winemaker.

Mr. Chappuis showed us how to do pruning in the vineyards with Guyot system. I read several times how to do it on books or on internet, but I never thought that it could be such a hard work! I couldn’t even cut some of the canes with one hand! Mr. Chappuis told us that he does it together with his father every year and it tooks approximately three months to complete all of the vines. When I told him that he probably has the workplace with the best view on earth, he smiled and said that he works mostly inside, meaning the cellar. Well, this is a sad fact, but still, the whole village is also very beatiful.

Since my visit to Domaine Chappuis, I have been thinking about how some of us value their historical heritage and some of us not. To be honest, I am not a person, who likes to do research on her past or who likes to keep things only for the purpose of keeping the memories alive. On the opposite, I throw away old things, especially the things, on which people tend to attribute a notion, such as theater tickets, or flowers used for the decoration of a wedding, etc. It usually doesn’t make me happy to think about the past. It is on the opposite. No matter how happy I was during an occasion in the past, I feel sorry when I think about it years later, knowing that what happened in the past remains in the past and can never be experienced again. However, doing a research about the past of my anchestors can be different, because it will be all new to me. I’ll consider that seriously.

About the wines

DSCF0045DSCF0047Viognier 2016, Chappuis, Rivaz, Lavaux

We tasted three of his white wines, and two red wines. The two whites from Chasselas grape (Gutedel) both have a moderately rich nose and moderate acitity. I was actually expecting much more acidity from wines of this region, but this was not the case with these wines. The fermentation of these wine takes place in big oak tanks.  Mr. Chappuis showed us the first label of the Grand Cru Dézaley, which is the same as the label today. As you see, history is valued around here.

Both of the first two whites are made without skin contact, unlike the third white wine, which was made of Viognier. Mr. Chappuis explained that malolactic fermentation was avoided for this wine, which actually explains the higher acidity level. This one was my favourite among the three first, not only because I found the level of acidity more refreshing, but also I found this wine more balanced compared to the others, although the aromas of this wine were not as intense as in the first two wines.

 

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The two red wines, Grand Cru Dézaley Ambroisie and Lavaux AOC Gamaret were both round, modest wines, not showy, not complex, without oak, simply nice wines to drink with our without food.

 

About choices and taking a break

vineyards with viewI’m back. I didn’t really want to take a break, but sometimes, I have to admit to myself that I can’t have everything at the same time.

When I decided to took the exam for WSET Level 3  Award in Wines back in March, I didn’t know that it would be that difficult for me. As soon as I started to study for the exam, I noticed that there are much more wine regions in the world than that I know. This is a sad fact arising from the fact that our knowledge is more or less shaped by the outside factors. My wine knowledge would be tiny, if I would have let the limited wine market in Turkey shape my knowledge. But still, even after I read tons of articles, magazines, books, and even after so many tastings, my knowledge was of course still  limited, mainly because of my personal interest. For instance, I have never been a big fan of sweet wines, and sweet and fortified wines could never got into my mouth! But I had to know everything about them, if I wanted to take it to the next level.

Other than the fact that the exam was not easy for me anyway, the fact that I took it in German didn’t make it easier. I wanted to be able to talk and write about wine in the language of the country in which I live. So, it is always about the choices, isn’t it?

I attended one week of classes in Hamburg for the preparation for the exam, and then I took it. We tasted two wines, we wrote our tasting notes, then we had to answer 50 multiple choice questions, and then we had to write 4-5 full pages for the open-end questions. If you are curious about the details about the exam, you can find all details here.

Anyway, it is over now. The results will be announced later, hopefully before the end of the year.  In the meantime, I will be writing my stories about wine and sharing them with you here.