Have you ever had a wine and felt a hot feeling resembling a soft spicy pepper? Did you find it strange? Be aware that this feeling is a neurological response to certain chemical compounds in contact with the tongue. With wine, a high alcohol content or high acidity could contribute to this warming sensation. But not only!
The rotundone molecules found on the skin, leaves and stalk of some grape varieties give the wines black pepper aromas. Rotundone molecule, present in black pepper, white pepper and various aromatic herbs such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil and marjoram, was first identified in 2008 in Australian Shiraz. Since then, other grape varieties containing this molecule has discovered: Gamay, Graciano, Duras, Durif, Mouvèdre, Gamay, Schioppettino, Vespolina and Grüner Veltliner, among others. It is also found in Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon but in a concentration that is not detected. Also note that rotundone sensitivity differs, and a certain percentage of people who cannot feel rotundone can't pick up the peppery notes of some wines.
The ageing of wines in barrels may also develop these aromas. The acquired aromas also differ depending on the size of the barrels, the type of wood used, the type of toast and the ageing time that the wine remains in the barrel. And the combination and complexity of some of these spicy aromas acquired with ageing in wood contribute to the 'peppery' notes we can feel in wine. Some descriptors are anise, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, nutmeg, black pepper, and white pepper.
Sharpen your sensory experience with a spiced wine!
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