Sniff! Sniff! What’s that fruit?

Here’s a quick tip to sharpen your wine-tasting skills in the New Year: If you have a hard time picking out all the fruit, floral, and earthy aromas that wine geeks so often discuss in our tasting reports, try this:

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Gather some random fruit, and taste and sniff it thoughtfully, just as you would a wine that you like.

I don’t recommend actually tasting fruit with your wine. The different levels of sweetness and acidity, sadly, don’t usually work well, and you may be disappointed to find that the raspberry flavor you detect in a good Grenache doesn’t taste as much like ripe raspberries as you thought.

The fruit aromas and flavors that we enjoy in wine are based on similar chemical components, so the wine can evoke memories of real fruit in an enjoyable way. But enjoying some fruit and stashing its scent and taste in your memory is a better way to heighten your perception of fruit in the wine than actually trying the wine and fruit together.

Why, yes, you can try this at home. The four fruits that I tasted for this project.

Why, yes, you can try this at home. The four fruits that I tasted for this project.

I tried smelling some cranberries and blueberries to see how they would compare with the fruit scents in the Tuscan Sangiovese, that I reviewed in the previous issue. To my mind’s palate, at least, they seemed to be in the same ballpark.

A Satsuma mandarin and a pear landed in the same aromatic neighborhood as the Blanquette de Limoux bubbly featured in that issue. Of course it wasn’t a perfect match, but I could sense the similarity.

Here are a few more typical fruit-variety combinations, with Wine-Searcher links to varietal information plus popular varietal wines and vendors. Of course these don’t always work – every wine is different, and we love that – but they can give you a hint of what to expect in a particular variety.

Red wines




Black cherry or dried cherrySangiovese

White wines

Green appleChardonnay


MelonChenin Blanc


A detail from Les Arômes du Vin, a beautiful Aromas of Wine poster from Bouchard Pêre et Fils.

A detail from Les Arômes du Vin, a beautiful Aromas of Wine poster from Bouchard Pêre et Fils.

You may be thinking that this is the ultimate in nerdy wine-tasting ideas, and yes, it probably is. But it won’t do you any harm. If you try it, I hope you’ll let me know. You’re more than welcome to drop by our WineLovers Discussion Group and tell us about it. If you’re a wine lover but not yet a forum member, you really should be! If you’d like to join the forum, send me an email and briefly introduce yourself, and I’ll get you set up pronto.


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Wine Focus 2022: Tempranillo

It’s 2022. Here’s hoping it isn’t a replay of 2020 or 2021. Wine Focus will not be a replay, as we have a new theme for the year. We’ll be taking many of our cues from the calendar of National & International Wine Days, but since a few months during the year are a little sparse on wine days, we’ll take some artistic license. Some months, on the other hand, will have multiple choices, as there are more than 12 grapes in the world.

As a matter of fact, there doesn’t seem to be a wine day for January, so we’ve chosen Tempranillo for this month’s Wine Focus, shifting Tempranillo Day forward from its usual November celebration. Try a glass of a Tempranillo that you like, a Rioja or any other wine made from this red grape that forms the backbone of the most famous Spanish wines, and come talk with us about it in Wine Focus January 2022 – Tempranillo!


Good wines we’ve tried under $10.99!

Want tips to still more good, inexpensive wines? Here are Wine-Searcher links to vendors and prices for a bunch more wines for $10.99 or less that I’ve told you about in recent years. In some cases the prices may have risen over the $10.99 mark since I reviewed them, but they should still be excellent bargains. Please tell us about your favorites!


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Wine Forum and Social Media

If you have questions, comments or ideas to share about today’s article or wine in general, you’re always welcome to drop by our online WineLovers Discussion Group, the Internet’s first and most civil online community.

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