Wine Cheat Sheet
Below are Common Wine Descriptors Andy Hale put together to help us with picking out the wines!
• Chardonnay: flint/stone, citrus, melon, pineapple, banana, apricot, butter, smoke, burnt sugar, caramel, green apple, pears, buts, honey, peach, ginger, vanilla, oak, butterscotch, nutmeg. High in extract, high in sugar/alcohol, can be low in acid.
•Sauvignon Blanc: Melon, bell pepper, hay, pineapple, musk, celery, kiwi, stone, gunflint, gooseberry, herbs, jalapeno, pear, fig, grass, cat pee, lemon, toast, lemongrass, grapefruit, asparagus, nuts, lemon-lime. Aromatic, high in acid.
• Riesling: Apple, passion fruit, pineapple, honeysuckle, flint, Juicy Fruit Gum, talc, orange blossom, tarragon, hyacinth, slate, stone, peach, lime, honey, apricot, jasmine, gineger, lemon curd, fennel, grapefruit, kiwi, minerals, petrol/diesel fuel. High acid, often finished with some residual sugar.
• Chenin Blanc: lemon, pear, melon, dried flowers, apple, orange peel, apricot, almond, hazelnut, grains/bread, yogurt, buttermilk. High acid, high extract, aromatic, bone dry to sweet.
• Pinot Grigio/Pino Gris: apple, lemon, butter, pear, almond, chalk, mineral, flint, steel, orange blossom, honey, honeysuckle, peach, cream. Can be low acid or high acid, high extract, can have little or no aroma or can have subtle fruit and floral notes.
• Gewurztraminer: Nutmeg, rose, citrus peel, ginger, lychee nut, sandalwood, mace, cardamom, bayberry, allspice, grapefruit, pine. High sugar/alcohol, high extract, low acid, aromatic, bone dry to sweet.
• Viognier: Grass, peach, honey, gooseberry, apricot, ginger, citrus, honeysuckle, orange peel, lemongrass, musk, tangerine, passion fruit, guava, kiwi, mango. Profoundly aromatic, low acid, high sugar/alcohol, high extract.
• Cabernet Sauvignon: Black Cherry, vanilla, cedar, chocolate, black currant, cigar box, herbs, pencil shavings, blackberry, tobacco, mint, black pepper, blueberry, tea, lilac, eucalyptus, red currant, coffee, toffee, cocoa. High tannins, moderately high acid, high pigment. Structure and power!
• Merlot: Blueberry, plum, cigar box, cocoa, blackberry, prune, mint, coffee, cherry, fresh/grapey, toffee, spice, black cherry, black pepper, vanilla, chocolate. Moderate tannin, high alcohol, low acid. Fleshy, soft and sensuous.
• Pinot Noir: Raspberries, violets, cherries, toast, strawberries, lilac, blackberries, clove/cinnamon, plum, truffles, earth, smoke, sandalwood, incense, barnyard, wet forest floor, leather, meaty-gamy. Low to moderate tannin, good acidity, broad, expansive aroma and bouquet.
• Zinfandel: Raspberry, black raspberry, blackberry, raisin, black pepper, candied fruit, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, cedar, anise, sandalwood, tar, vanilla, jam, spice, plum. Densely pigmented, moderate tannins, high alcohol, high extract, good acidity.
• Syrah/Shiraz: Smoke, mineral, bacon, game, mint, tar, leather, toast, blackberry, pepper, sweat, raspberry, baked earth, chocolate, spice, herb, lavender, musk, anise, char, jam, black olives, rosemary. High pigment, tannin, and alcohol.
• Sangiovese: Fresh/tart cherry, thyme, toast, dried cherry, sun-baked earth, dried orange peel, wood, spice, charcoal, leather, chocolate, clove, black cherry, licorice, sour strawberry. Low extract, low pigment, high acid, moderate tannins and alcohol. Often has a distinctive, brick-red color.
• Gamay: lily of the valley, orange peel, raspberry, iris, cranberry, banana, rose, strawberry, cherry, violet. Low tannin, high acid, low pigment, aromatic. commonly known as beaujolais
• Grenache: Strawberry, black pepper, cranberry, sour cherry, alcohol. Low pigment, low tannin, low acid, high alcohol.
• Barbera: mulberry, sour cherry, cherry, plum, vanilla, cinnamon. High acid, high pigment, moderate tannin.
• Cabernet Franc: fresh mushroom, sweet herb, fall leaves, mulberry, violet, moss, hummus/potting soil, tobacco, wild strawberry, wet tree bark, cocoa, tea, cranberry. Moderate tannin, pigment and acid. Medium bodied. Herbal tea.
• Nebbiolo: tar, truffles, bitter chocolate, roses, iris, twigs, violets, forest floor, sour cherry. High acid, high tannin, high extract and alcohol.
• Tempranillo: Cherries, leather, vanilla, lanolin, strawberries, wood, velum, road dust. Moderate tannins, low acid, high pigment.