The Sixth Element of Greatness: Non Fruitedness


So far in my blogs about what I consider the Elements of Greatness, I’ve written about Distinctiveness, Precision, Balance, Connectedness and Complexity. In this blog, I want to talk about what I call Non Fruitedness.

The description “fruity” has become ubiquitous in the last two decades—and it seems like such a positive idea.

But the great wines of the world are not merely fruity.

Fruitiness alone is too simplistic. I sometimes say it’s like wearing an all pink dress with pink shoes and a pink hat.

Great wines go beyond fruit and are woven through with complicated, darker, more primordial flavors—

things like tar, bloody meat, sweaty leather, exotic spices, minerals, rocks, and rotten leaves.

These beyond-fruit characteristics give wine a deeper sensory impact and make it more intellectually interesting.

It’s why, I think, so many people love Burgundies–that sweet, ummm, baby throw-up quality; and Cote Rotie–cowboy boots and black pepper soaked in blood.

These ideas may sound bad, but the flavors they describe are fantastic. Think about the flavor of a really great artisanal cheese compared to the flavor of American singles cheese wrapped in plastic.

Sometimes the best flavors aren’t as simple as a strawberry.

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