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Eucalyptus Elucidated

One of the signature aromas and flavors of many Australian wines is eucalyptus–a fresh cool, minty, and even medicinal character. How is this possible? The presence of eucalyptus-like aromas and flavors is directly related to a vineyard’s proximity to eucalyptus trees. The closer the trees to the vineyard, the stronger the character in the wine. It is believed that the compound responsible for this distinct character (I,8-cineole, commonly referred to as eucalyptol) accumulates on the skins of the grapes and from there, combines with the juice during maceration. This may explain why white wine (which are quickly pressed and separated from their skins) generally have little eucalyptus character; but red wines can have moderate to even high levels.

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