Text Size:-+
01.31.2012

The Essence of Wine: Vanilla

vinography_essence_vanilla.jpg

Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch

Sprung from the legendary blood of forbidden lovers suffering the wrath of a father king, slender jungle orchids climb skyward, their fruit bearing heavenly scents. The Aztecs demanded tlilxochitl, this black gold, in tribute after conquering the tribes who first unlocked vanilla's secrets. As intense as it is ethereal, vanilla possesses a singular, breathtaking purity of aroma. Barrels imbue wine with much of the vanilla we taste. Their singed oak can offer up an echo of flowers in ancient forests, or deeper notes of caramel and butterscotch. Sometimes floating above the wine's fruit, sometimes wrapped around it, and sometimes welded awkwardly to a woody frame, vanilla's elemental allure is hard to ignore and easy to love.

Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa, California
Henschke "Louis" Semillon, Eden Valley, Australia
Château de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet, Côte de Beaune, Burgundy, France
Jean Macle Vin Jaune Château-Chalon, Jura, France
Cantina Giardino "Sophia" Blanco, Campania, Italy
Bodegas Hidalgo La Gitana Oloroso Viejo Sherry, Andalusia, Spain



This is part of an ongoing series of original images and prose called The Essence of Wine

Buy My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Instagram Delectable Flipboard Pinterest

Most Recent Entries

Vinography Unboxed: Week of June 28, 2015 Brand vs. Terroir in Wine I'll Drink to That: Andrea Fassone of Enotria Wine Imports Vinography Images: Independence Vineyard Warm Up: The Italian Influence in California I'll Drink to That: Megan Glaab of Ryme Cellars Listen Up!! I'll Drink to That on Vinography A First Taste of Idaho Wine Tasting Integrity: 25 Years of Corison Napa Cabernet Vinography Unboxed: Week of June 21, 2015

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune

Archives by Month

 

Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise adventures on the wine route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud