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The Essence of Wine: Blueberries


Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch

With the feel of suede-like skin on the tongue, a tiny globe yields to pressure from the teeth with an explosion of juice — first sweet, then slightly sour, pure and bright. Occasionally a hint of fresh green herbs in the fruit reminds anyone who has stooped among diminutive bushes of the delightful search for summer's bright blue sparks. Few organoleptic delights compare to the burst of a perfectly ripe blueberry in the mouth, with its unique combination of floral sweetness and acidity. Native to North America, but now found elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, blueberries and their brethren — huckleberries, bilberries, serviceberries, and the like — make an appearance as flavors primarily in red wines, and often in those made from Zinfandel, Malbec, and Syrah. Even Pinot Noir grown in some climes can take on a blue fruit character. While some wines smell remarkably blue, only a few wines taste distinctly of the fruit. Instead the flavor can often be found hiding in layers of taste, swirled amongst other fruits in a decidedly delicious blue concoction.

Chapel Hill "The Vicar" Shiraz, McLaren Vale, South Australia
Sanguis "As the Crow Flies" Red Wine, Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California, USA
Ridge Vineyards "Ponzo Vineyard" Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California, USA
Archery Summit "Red Hills Estate" Pinot Noir, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA
Achaval-Ferrer "Finca Altamira" Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
Anita & Hans Nittnaus "Pannobile" Red Blend, Burgenland, Austria
Wind Gap "Griffin's Lair Vineyard" Syrah, Sonoma Coast, California, USA
Vinarija Dingac "Postup" Plavac Mali, Peljesac, Croatia
Tablas Creek Vineyard Mourvedre, Paso Robles, Central Coast, California, USA
Domaine de Nizas Carignane Vielle Vignes, Vin de Pays de Caux, Languedoc Roussillon, France
Domaine Tempier Rouge, Bandol, France

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

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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