Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.
Dear Dr. Vinny,
Which red wines are made only from grapes, without any fruity taste?
—Mario, Astoria, N.Y.
I don’t mean to be a smarty-pants, but grapes are fruit, which means they also have a “fruity” taste. I’m winking while I write this.
When wine lovers describe a wine as tasting like blackberries or cherries or other flavors, that doesn’t mean the wine is made from those fruits. Fermented grapes share some of the same molecular compounds found in other foods, which is why wine often shares their tastes and aromas. There’s also a bit of poetic license in describing the way things taste, which explains the pound of coffee I just bought that was described as tasting like “blackberry jam, lemon and red currant.” The coffee isn’t infused with those things, but I know it will taste different than the one described as tasting like “pink apples, honey and chocolate wafers.”
All that aside, if you’re looking for “grapey” wines, I have some good news for you. You can actually look for wines made from Concord grapes, which should remind you of grape juice, because there’s a lot of grape juice made from Concord grapes. Other wines that have a “grapey” profile include Beaujolais Nouveau and Lambrusco. Good luck finding something that fits your palate!