I had a red wine last night (can't remember where from or what grape!) that had SUCH a strong aroma of raspberry - why was that? What grape might it have been?
Grapes contains loads of different organic compounds, the most important of which are of a type known as 'phenolics'. These act a bit like the wine's 'DNA', influencing it's appearance, body, aroma and taste. Raspberry aromas are created by a 'shikimate-derived' phenol called Raspberry Ketone, and the level to which the compound is present will determine how strong that raspberry aroma is. Obviously, the highest naturally occuring concentrations of Raspberry Ketone are in raspberries themselves. In a wine, the level depends on myriad factors surrounding how the grapes are grown and the wine is made (see my most recent blog for more on this!). Maceration, the process of soaking the grape juice or wine in the skins of the grape to extract compounds (including phenolics) from the skins and stalks, is particularly important, but even before that, the key factor influencing how 'raspberry-y' your wine is is the grape variety it is made from. So what wine were you drinking? Well, wines known for having a raspberry aroma include a lot of Italian varieties - Barbera, Brunello, Chianti - but it's also a feature in Beaujolais, Chateauneuf du Pape and Cabernet Franc. So the strong likelihood is that it was old world. The strength of that aroma makes me think it was a Beaujolais or a Chateauneuf , as these are more typically fruit forward styles. If it was very light, it was probably a Beaujolais; if not, I'll guess a Chateauneuf...do let me know if you find out for sure!