Identifying Citrus Notes in Wine

IMG_5089_fruit_lemonI am not a formally educated wine writer, but I like to think I have a sensitive nose, and I have attended a lot of wine tastings.  With this post, I examine the myriad smells and tastes you can find in the citrus family in a glass of wine.

Citrus notes (by notes I mean smells and taste sensations) are generally found in white and rosé wine, but there’s no hard and fast rule saying you can’t find them in red, too.  It only shows you’re being observant if you do.

file00056144774Different notes are associated with different varietals–for instance, grapefruit is associated with sauvignon blanc. I can’t tell you any others, because I don’t know…I don’t have the training.  Only know that these smells or flavors can be found in any wine. Grapefruit doesn’t have to be in only sauvignon blanc.

So here I will list here all the notes I have found, that other people have also found, that you can look for in a glass of wine. There’s a world of citrus out there.

limesWith practice, you, too can be an insufferable blowhard the next time you go wine tasting!

Wine can smell/taste of:

The fruit itself: lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, tangerine, kumquat, mandarin, Meyer lemon (a golden-colored lemon), other citrus fruits

Any of the individual parts of these: pith (the white part), peel, seeds, juice, zest (finely grated peel). The pith tastes a little more bitter than the fruit, the zest is a particularly pungent smell.


Candy: Lemonheads, candied orange peel, gummy orange candies, etc.

Dessert: Key lime pie, lemon meringue pie, others.

Other: Anything else you may come across! Sprite? Absolut Citron? There are no rules.  Just quick flashes of flavors and smells, fleeting, but fun to try to pin down.

Now it’s your turn–what am I missing? What citrus notes have you observed? What is your favorite?

Want more like this?

Identifying Licorice Notes in Wine

What is that Baking Spice Note in my Wine?

Bad Smells in Wine





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