Taking the Certified in Tampa on Friday. It's crunch time. I did a blind tasting at the restaurant I work at with a Certified Somm and did quite well. I went ahead and printed out the official tasting sheets from the CMS website. But there's a Non-Fruit line for Mint/Eucalyptus (yes or no). Which red varieties would indicate such a flavor note? A cursory glance on the web showed that some people think it's indicative of some Aussie wines, but I wanted to ask the experts, so here I am.
First, good luck! I know you are cramming like crazy, but probably if you don’t know it now, ya don’t know it! Mint and eucalyptus notes are found in Australian wines, as well as a very specific vineyard in California.. Most likely you won’t get that one vineyard on your exam, so if you get mint/eucalyptus you are in Australia. BUT, Certified is more about the over all call of the wine, think about new vs old World and as the grid asks you.. why?
...but be careful with this sudden jumping to Aussieland. Evaluate the Wine as a whole and don’t hang your hat on one note. This isn’t the same situation as green or black pepper, where the world gets infinitely smaller when those notes show up.
Menthol is a terpene and appears in hundreds (if not thousands) of plants, including vinifera grapes in varying concentrations. Depending on your sensitivity to it, you might find it in almost every Cabernet, some Grenache, Sangio, etc...Beyond that, eucalyptus trees are planted all over the world (and consider that some of those garrigue-type brushes and weeds can also produce this terpene- along with similar smelling related terpenes- and release it in their oil). Martha’s Vineyard certainly uses it in marketing, but driving through California (or Israel, Greece, Australia, Spain), you’ll see several different species of Euclyptus trees planted all over the place.
Excellent points, thanks!
Thank you for the detailed information regarding these flavor notes. Indispensable.
Thank you for the response!
I often get a lot of it in Nebbiolo am I crazy?
Update: I passed! And I didn't get mint nor eucalyptus on any of the wines!
Congrats!!!! I'd love to know how you studied. I keep asking Somms and they give me nothing. Way to go though!
Sure. I started a little wine library. I bought a lot of the best books about wine on Amazon as 2nd hand copies. Was able to score the Atlas of Wine for $20 that way (newest edition in pristine condition too). Literally would just read them over and over again. I would take this information, digest it, and go to a wine store and buy wines that I had just read about. And of course GuildSomm and all of their videos. I started going to sites like Wine Spectator and the Reddit subforum for wine.
I pretty much immersed myself in the wine world. Would start doing tastings at shops and wine bars, became friends with those in the industry. It all helps.
Old World should be your primary focus. And just keep tasting. I did mostly un-blind tasting believe it or not. Only did maybe half-dozen blinds. I found saving the blinds as a kind of "exam" to gauge where I was at was best for me. Otherwise, knowing what the wine was was crucial for really absorbing how those different wines taste.
...drink old Heitz Martha's, It will remind you that Napa once made awesome wine.
Does canopy management effect the levels of terpenes expressed in the wine? I know it can an effect on the pyrazine levels.