Wine tasting notes decoded

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https://www.decanter.com/learn/advice/un...ed-344920/


Get a grip on the more obscure tasting notes used by wine experts, with graphics from Decanter's design team. This week we decode 'wood smoke'...


tasting notes decoded Wood smoke

"Whether it’s from an autumn bonfire or a living room hearth, many of us will be familiar with the distinctive, lingering aroma of a crackling wood fire – but how does it make its way into wine?

If a wine has wood smoke notes it generally indicates it has had some contact with oak, either during fermentation and/or maturation, in the form of barrels, staves or oak chips.

The strength and character of these notes is determined by the type of oak used, how new it is and the level of toast.

‘The toast of a barrel (done by lighting a fire inside the half-finished barrel) comes in different grades,’ explained Margaret Rand in her article Cooperage: the art of oak ageing.

The cooperage’s process of burning wood releases aromatic compounds called volatile phenols, which are able to be infused into the wine, resulting in oak characteristics such as wood smoke.

‘The heavier the toast, the more pronounced the flavours of chocolate, coffee and what the French call torrefaction,’ said Rand.

Torrefaction relates to roasted flavours, which can include charred wood and smoky notes.

Toasting is complex business involving many different approaches, depending on the ‘house style’ required by the winemaker.

But in general new oak with a heavier toast will impart more potent oak characteristics than older, used oak barrels with a light toast.

Barrel size also affects how much of the wine is in contact with the oak. For example, a small barrique barrel provides a higher surface area to volume ratio than a large foudre.

You can look for wood smoke notes in a wide variety of red or white wines with an oak-driven flavour profile.

This could include classic red Bordeaux blends, such as the 100-point scorer Château Latour’s Pauillac 1er Cru Classé 1982, which spent 18 months in new oak barrels, and was praised for its torrified aromas including burnt caramel and wood smoke.

Typical white Burgundy wines made from Chardonnay are well known and loved for their oaky characteristics.

A top example from the Côte de Beaune would be Olivier Leflaive’s Chevalier-Montrachet Grand Cru 2014, scored 97 points and noted for its apple and woodsmoke aromas.

Many fortified wine styles spend extended periods of time in oak and develop complex aromas as they continue to age in the bottle.

A mature Madeira like Blandy’s Bual 1969 is able to encompass wood smoke, hazelnuts, dried fruit fresh citrus and marmalade notes.

Desirable wood smoke notes are different from the unpleasantly acrid smoke flavours or aromas caused by smoke taint.

This is a wine fault that can be caused by fires in or around vineyards during growing season, particularly after véraison — when grapes change colour and ripen..."
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(Nov 17, 2018 09:25 PM)Magical Realist Wrote: https://www.decanter.com/learn/advice/un...ed-344920/

[...] The cooperage’s process of burning wood releases aromatic compounds called volatile phenols, which are able to be infused into the wine, resulting in oak characteristics such as wood smoke. ‘The heavier the toast, the more pronounced the flavours of chocolate, coffee and what the French call torrefaction,’ said Rand.

Torrefaction relates to roasted flavours, which can include charred wood and smoky notes. [...] You can look for wood smoke notes in a wide variety of red or white wines with an oak-driven flavour profile. [...] Desirable wood smoke notes are different from the unpleasantly acrid smoke flavours or aromas caused by smoke taint. [...]

Reflects how much cognition depends upon the refined concepts possessed by the perceiver -- or in this case, the taster. I could be having the same general, gustatory experience as the wine experts and yet either not discriminate slash notice the particular qualities they discern or not have a clue as to their significance and origin even if I did.

Eric M. Rubenstein: For instance, a physicist looks at a puff of smoke in a cloud chamber and sees an electron discharged. She comes to have non-inferential knowledge of something we might not, as she has certain concepts we don’t as laypeople, as well as an ability to apply them directly to her experience. In other words, perception is concept-laden, and depending on what concepts you have, you can perceive different things. --Wilfrid Sellars: Philosophy of Mind ... IEP

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