Cheers! And Shiraz’s peppery notes

Cheers to red wine & a longer life!!!

red wine cheers

The NY Times had a few wine related articles today.   The first, discussed a topic that has been written about frequently here, that of “resveratrol” – the wonder-drug contained in red wine.  Previous reports had indicated that the amount of resveratrol in wine were nowhere near enough to be effective from simple wine consumption.  But one of the sources in todays article notes “a mere four, five-ounce glasses of wine “starts getting close” to the amount of resveratrol they found effective”, as opposed to previous studies that determined that “to gain (sufficient) dosages people would have to drink more than 100 bottles of red wine a day”. An interesting read that can be found here.

The other article titled “What’s the Peppery Note in Those Shirazes?”, talked about Australian (where Shiraz originated) researchers who sought to find out why there are peppery notes in Australian Shiraz.  Well, it turned out that they discovered a peppery molecule in shiraz wine –  a chemical called rotundone.  While the researchers found that about 20 percent of people can’t detect rotundone, it is interesting to learn that the pepper that people do smell does come from somewhere.

Which leads me to a quick point.  I have often been asked where the specific fruit flavors/aromas in wine come from.  I have even heard people who have often been reluctant to ask surmise that the winemakers “put some of that fruit into the wine” (not true).  Since I am the farthest thing from a scientist I will not even attempt to get too technical here, but I have heard two theories, and this Shiraz/pepper article backs one such theory.  That theory is that red wine contains several thousand chemical compounds, some of which are shared by fruits or more specifically berries whose aromas are found in many red wines.  Hence, the detection of aromas that remind the wine drinker of a type of berry or other fruit.

The other theory is that the vines pick up all sorts of things from it environment, including aromas or flavors from neighboring agriculture.  This often explains things such as “earthiness”, or “minerality” in wines.

Interesting stuff huh?!

Happy long life & peppery Wine Tasting!


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