It's easier to appreciate and understand the tastes of red wines if you are familiar with the sorts of flavors normally associated with red wines. The flavors and aromas people identify in a red wine are not precise, because no one adds pepper, licorice, or leather to red wine while making it. Instead people identify flavors and aromas based on what they are reminded of while tasting the wine. This is why it helps to know what you might be looking for by being familiar with red wine flavors and aromas.
Flavors & Aromas of Red Wines
This is not an exhaustive list of all the flavors and aromas you might find in red wines; instead, it's a list of some of the most common flavors and aromas which you are likely to encounter. The more familiar you are with these aromas and flavors independently, the easier it will be for you to identify them in red wines you drink.
- Fruit (Cherry, Currant, Plum, Fig, Raisin)
- Berry (Blackberry, Raspberry, Gooseberry)
Flavors & Aromas Associated with Oaked Red Wines
Not all of the flavors of red wine come directly from the grapes themselves. Some flavors in red wines arise from the methods which the vintners use to create their wine. Chief among these are the flavors derived from oak treatment — whether it is fermenting in oak barrels or just fermenting with oak chips in the wine.
These are common flavors you are likely to encounter in red wines that have been treated with oak in some fashion: