I created this polymer clay “wine emblem”  to illustrate the most common tropical fruit flavors and aromas detected in white wines. Bonus: it’s really fun to make a miniature pineapple.

In general, the only fruits used to make wine are grapes — so why the heck would you detect other fruits in a wine?

Well, wine contains aroma compounds called stereoisomers that mimic the smells of various fruits. When these fruity scents hit your smell receptors, your brain decides what they are based on memories of fruits you’ve smelled before, and shares this info with your taste buds. So if you want to have a richer sensory experience of fruit aromas and flavors in wine, help your brain by smelling a whole array of fruits and stockpiling these scents in your memory bank.

(By the way, The Stereoisomers would totally be my band name.)

Some of the polymer clay fruits — each a half-inch long or less — that I included in my wine emblem. (Artwork by Melanie Wynne)

The following tropical fruit flavors and aromas often show up in these particular white wines:

Chardonnay   Papaya, pineapple, coconut, guava, mango

Viognier — Pineapple, starfruit, mango

Sauvignon Blanc  Passion fruit, guava, watermelon, kiwi, starfruit, honeydew

Pinot Gris — Pineapple, honeydew

Muscato — And again with the pineapple

These wines run the gamut from light-bodied and crisp (Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc and Moscato) to medium-bodied and soft (Viognier) to full-bodied and potentially complex (Chardonnay), so if you’re into tropical fruit flavors and aromas in your whites, there’s a range of styles to suit your tastes.

Can’t remember what some of these tropical fruits smell and/or taste like? Hit the produce section of your grocery store and buy what’s eluding you. After all, slicing open a tropical fruit and taking a sniff is a great way to get your brain ready for wine — and that’s news you can use.

Wine emblem with cork, for size reference. #squee (Artwork by Melanie Wynne)