Savory flavors come from both fruit and oak and are the most prized flavors in aged wines. Some common examples of grapes and their savory flavors include:
California Pinot Noir + Cola
Cabernet Franc + Tomato
Mourvedre + Leather
Merlot + Cocoa
Malbec + Rosemary
Zinfandel + Briar
Grüner Veltliner + Green Peas
Sauvignon Blanc + Grass
Almost all wines have some sort of fruity flavors, though in some cases oxidized wines and very old wines are left with only savory notes. Fruity flavors can be broken down into the following groupings. When exploring wines, think of a parent group and then dive down deeper to see if you can identify the specific fruits you smell and taste.
Citrus Fruits: Lime, Lemon, Orange, Tangelo, Grapefruit
Berry Fruits: Strawberry, Raspberry, Red Cherry, Blackberry, Black Cherry, Black Currant
Orchard Fruits: Green Apple, Red Apple, Pear, Apricot, Peach
Tropical Fruits: Banana, Papaya, Mango, Pineapple
Melons: Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Honeydew
Dried Fruits: Raisins, Dates, Prunes, Dried Apricots, Figs
Intensity of Flavor
The intensity of flavors in a wine can be surprising. Medium- and light-bodied wines can often have outsized flavors, while big, rich wines may trade some intensity of flavor for all that weight.
Intensity of flavors is one of the key elements to consider when pairing food and wine. Matching the intensity of flavor between the food and wine generally leads to a more successful pairing!
Weight in Mouth
Many things contribute to the weight of a wine in one’s mouth. Lower acidity makes a wine feel heavier, as do high tannins, sugar, and dry extract, which is literally the amount of suspended solids you find in your wine.
This textural component is one of the truly underappreciated aspects of wine, and it is one of the fundamental reasons we prefer one wine over another. Many people find a lot to like in powerful and rich wines that are heavy in the mouth, while others prefer the purity and elegance of wines that are decidedly lighter-bodied.