‘’This wine smells like Christmas’’ – have you ever said something like that? I have! There are many aromas that remind me of Christmas and some of them can be found in wines when identifying ‘the nose’ during the tasting. Let’s have a closer look at a few Christmas aromas we find in the wine glass.
Christmas aromas in the wine glass
(Alphabetical order)#Christmas aromas in the #wineglass - when the #wine smells like #Xmas then I want to drink it ;) Click To Tweet
It is difficult to mistake apricot scent with any other fruit. During Christmas, many of us make the most of dried apricots when preparing Xmas cakes. Also, it is a common ingredient in a dried fruit soup, which is a typical Christmas dish for example in Poland (my favorite one!). Moreover, apricots often appear on a cheese plate along with nuts, dried plums, and raisins.
Fresh apricot aroma is characteristic for dry whites matured in barrels. Whereas dried apricot scents occur in sweet botrytized wines and ice wines. Here’re some examples where you will find this aroma in wines: French sweet wines such as Sauternes, Barsac, Loupiac, Quarts de Chaume; German, Austrian and Canadian ice wines (eis weins), Austrian Trockenbeerenauslese and German Beerenauslese wines.
Cinnamon is a dried bark of a Ceylon tree and gives gentle sweet aroma. It is one of the most important and recognizable Christmas aromas. We make cakes and desserts with cinnamon, we use cinnamon sticks as a decoration as well. Often times the special Christmas candles present the scent of cinnamon.
The sweet scent of cinnamon often harmonizes with spicy and oriental aromas and teams up with the scent of cloves. The cinnamon scent is characteristic for Bordeaux reds with a majority of Merlot (Saint Emilion and Pomerol). Some of mature Gewurztraminers from Alsace may show it in the bouquet as well as old vintages of Sauternes wines.
Cloves are unopened flower buds of the clove tree and give a pleasant spicy aroma. During Christmas, they are used as an ingredient for the dried fruit soups. Moreover, cloves are often a part of the decoration, together with oranges, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla sticks. We can distinguish the clove scent in most of the houses decorated with Christmas ornaments.
If it comes to wines, cloves team up well with cinnamon and nutmeg creating a lovely spicy trio. Clove scent appears in good wines made from Gewurztraminer grape, especially those from Alsace. Some of the greatest sweet botrytized wines from Bordeaux establish the aromas of cloves as well. Reds also show the expression of clove. It reveals in Rhone Valley reds, such as those from Hermitage and Chateauneuf-du-Papes. Furthermore, it can be found in reds from Roussillon and some Spanish wines.
This lovely and boosted with vitamins fruit is widely used during Christmas time. We cut it into thin rounds and dry it to make Xmas decorations. We benefit from oranges to make mulled wine or mulled beer as well as we use orange peel as a decoration for Christmas cakes. Some people also keep a bowl of oranges to eat on their own during winter, as oranges provide lots of vitamin C.
Orange peel aroma appears often in sweet white wines. It is common for wines made from botrytized Semillon grapes such as great Sauternes wines or its neighbors, Barsac and Loupiac. Moreover, orange peel aromas appear frequently in Hungarian Tokaj or Trockenbeerenauslese wines from Austria and Germany.
Pine / pine tree
I think I do not have to explain why the pine tree, with its evergreen needle-shaped leaves and wonderful brown pines, reminds me of Christmas, do I? ;) Although we do not eat it, we usually keep a pine twig on the Christmas table as a decoration. Moreover, pines are typically used as a decoration in wreaths so we can find them everywhere in almost each house during Christmas time.
Pine scent enhances other aromas in wine and it blends well with Languedoc-Roussillon garrigue aromas (thyme, rosemary, fennel). It is not easy to detect a pine scent during the tasting. Therefore most times only well-trained wine connoisseurs are able to recognize it. You can find a pine aroma in great Pessac-Leognan reds as well as in Bandol wines. The scent is present in many great Cabernet Sauvignons whatever their origins. Sometimes it can be found in Chianti Classico from Italy.
Similarly to apricots, dried plums are commonly used in dried fruit soups as well as in Christmas desserts and cakes. You can also find it near the cheese plate together with apricots, raisins, and nuts. Prune aroma is smokier, sweeter and more lingering than the aroma of the fresh plum. In a wine glass you can find not only fresh plums and prunes but also smoked prunes, plum jam and cooked plums.
Prune scent is common in red wines, especially in those from hot climates and hot vintages when grapes were very ripe. French Grenache and Carignan or Australian Shiraz usually deliver a lovely note of prunes. Very concentrated and powerful prune aromas can be found in sweet reds (Vin Doux Naturel), such as Maury, Riversaltes, and Banyuls. Likewise, prune appears in Portuguese ports or port-style wines made in Australia.
It doesn’t matter whether you like vanilla or not, I bet you can recognize it easily. During Christmas, some of us use vanilla when making cakes or puddings.
You can identify vanilla in many wines, both reds and whites. In particular vanilla is present in those wines that had been aged in oak barrels. As nowadays more and more wines are aged in barrels regarding the trend in wine, therefore we can find vanilla in wine more often. Wines that had contact with oak staves or chips may show a hint of vanilla in the bouquet as well.
apricot, cinnamon, clove, orange, pine, prune, vanilla and wallnut.. #christmas aromas in my #wine #glass! Click To Tweet
Natural, silver, gold, white.. we can find painted walnuts in almost every house during Christmas time. Some of them are just a simple decoration in a wreath, while others hung proudly on the Christmass tree. We use it in some Christmas dishes, we use it with dressing for salads and we use it in baking as well.
Walnut scent is usually distinguished in wines that smell a little like oxidized wine, as the compound that is responsible for the walnut scent combines with sulfur dioxide. Therefore you can quite easy find the walnut aroma in wines that hadn’t been treated with SO2. Vin Jaune from Jura and Finos (dry Sherry) also show the walnut aroma that comes from their specific way of production which in both cases requires fleur, a thin layer of yeast that covers the wine.
This wine really smells like Christmas!
Apricot, cinnamon, clove, orange, pine, prune, vanilla and walnut. Eight Christmas aromas in the wine glass, eight more possibilities to enjoy the wine (not only) during Christmas. Writing about it feels like trying to match Christmas with wine; pairing made in heaven, isn’t it? ;)
Writing about it feels like trying to match Christmas with wine; pairing made in heaven, isn’t it? ;) Lots of free time, great wine, Christmas atmosphere and presents – ooh yes, everybody loves Christmas gifts ;)
Do you find any other Christmas aromas in wine? What would you add to my list of Christmas aromas?
I hope you will find some time to look for Christmas aromas in your wine glass. Enjoy the Christmas time with your beloved ones, enjoy the winter and.. Merry Christmas!