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Does this sound appetising?


Just came across a wine that allegedly has

notes of curry spice, herb, lardo and green grass

Sounds a bit odd and not something I would be looking for in wine. Who knows, it may just be me. Would this spur you on to buy? Have you seen similarly baffling wine descriptions?


It does sound a bit odd, but I love the fenegreek and asafetida notes you can get in Savagnin


Aha! Welcome to the world of natural products chemistry!

The principal odour chemical in fenugreek seeds is called sotolon (it’s a furanone for the technically inclined). It posesses the interesting property of smelling different at different concentrations.

At low concentrations it smells sweet and maple syrup-like. It is in fact used as the flavour in cheap artificial maple syrups. At higher concentrations it smells decayed, and is the marker compound we all know from oxidised burgundies - the one that causes us to pour them down the sink! At higher concentrations still, it smells of fenugreek.

It’s present in all wines made oxidatively, and is an important component of the flavours of sherry, madeira and tawny port, though its impact is kept in check by other components. But next time you have a good quality tawny port, leave one of the empty glasses out overninght, and sniff it the following morning. The sotolon content will have risen overnight, and the smell of fenugreek should come through loud and clear.

That’s sotolon on its own - whether it is perceived as such depends on other odorants and probably the individual too. I don’t see it in sherry even though I know it’s there, but others might. It’s all too obvious in poxed burgundy alas!


Back to the subject - no, I would find that comment offputting I think. Though I increasingly disregard tasting notes based on individual perceived components alone. They can be so individual. Which herbs are we talking about for instance? The green grass and curry spice suggest a white made oxidatively, but beyond that…


This is the wine…


Nope - still not buying it!!! Although of course if anyone is offering…

At least I got the oxidative white bit right, though perhaps it should be called a semi-orange. Domaine Turner-Pageot do a similar thing with a couple of their whites from Languedoc, and the couple I have tried were very good. I don’t recall any of the mentioned notes being present in their wine. Perhaps the “green grass” descriptor comes from the Bacchus in the Society’s example.


Lardo is the one that I found weirdest, although I love the stuff sliced wafer thin stacked on toasted sourdough… but in wine…


Yes, me too. I’d like a bit more clarity on the herb thing also.


I assume it is something like garrigue… as an individual herb would have been called out otherwise. I am almost tempted to make a gin using these aromatics… I would use a smoked lardo. :wink:


Sounds weird but my other half loves skin contact white wine/ vin Jaune /Sherry etc and this might be a hit with her. If its awful, we have the W/S guarantee to fall back on.

On the other hand its a shame the Blackbook Chardonnay appeared and then went out of stock so quickly.