The fifth taste. The molecular expression of savory deliciousness that explains what bacon, chicken soup, and sautéed mushrooms all have in common. Unlike many of the things we taste, which are more aromas than tastes, the flavor known as umami is perceived directly by the taste buds. Perhaps for this reason it can be just as much a sensation—a sudden rush of mouthwatering goodness—as an actual flavor. Originally discovered by a Japanese researcher looking to explain one of the distinct qualities of his country's cuisine, umami exists everywhere. Sometimes the product of cooking, sometimes the product of nature alone, we are drawn to this flavor in all its incarnations. In wine, umami can assume any of its many foodish guises, but quite often shows up as notes of olive, miso paste, soy, and more. Red wines, more often than white, seem to employ this flavor, especially as they age. But umami can show up in nearly any glass, usually with welcome results.
Chateau de Beaucastel Blanc, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Rhone Valley, France
Domain Marcel Deiss "Burlenberg" Pinot Noir, Bergheim, Alsace, France
Montenidoli "Sono di Montenidoli" Red Blend, Tuscany, Italy
D'Arenberg "The Coppermine Road" Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, South Australia
Nicolas Catena Zapata Red Blend, Mendoza, Argentina
Tournesol "Proprietors Blend" Proprietary Red, Napa Valley, California, USA
Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse Lalande Bordeaux Blend Pauillac, Médoc, Bordeaux, France
Henschke "Hill of Grace" Shiraz, Eden Valley, Barossa, South Australia
Domaine Skouras "Synoro" Red Blend, Nemea, Peloponnese, Greece
Abacela "Paramour" Tempranillo, Umpqua Valley, Oregon
Takler "Regnum" Red Blend, Szekszárd, Hungary
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
Putting a Cork in Your Thanksgiving Wine Anxiety Plumbing the Depths of Portugal: A Tasting Journey Vinography Images: Rain at Last The Mysterious Art of Selling Direct Critical Consolidation in Wine What Has California Got Against Wineries? Dirty Money for a Legendary Brand Vinography Images: Tendrils Highlights from Tasting Champagne with the Masters Off to Portugal for a Drink
Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 KirÃ¡lyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy