What does cassis mean in wine?

Answered by Robert Flynn

In the world of wine, cassis refers to a specific flavor profile that is often used to describe the taste of certain wines, particularly red wines. It is derived from the black currant fruit, which is known for its deep, rich, and somewhat tart flavor. When used in wine tasting notes, cassis typically indicates a pronounced black currant character in the wine.

When you come across a wine described as having cassis notes, it means that you can expect a strong presence of black currant flavors in both the aroma and taste of the wine. This flavor can range from subtle hints to more intense and concentrated notes, depending on the specific wine and how it was made.

Cassis is most commonly associated with red wines, particularly those made from grape varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. These wines often exhibit a deep, dark fruit profile, and cassis is one of the key flavors that contribute to this character. It adds a touch of sweetness, while also providing a slightly tart and tangy element to the overall taste.

In terms of aroma, cassis can give off a distinct black currant scent that is often described as being both fruity and earthy. It can be quite aromatic, adding complexity and depth to the wine’s bouquet. When you take a sip of a wine with cassis flavors, you may notice a burst of ripe black currant on the palate, accompanied by a touch of acidity that helps balance the wine’s overall profile.

It’s important to note that cassis is not the only flavor you might encounter in a wine. Wines are complex beverages with a wide range of flavors, and cassis is just one element that contributes to the overall taste experience. Depending on the wine, you might also detect other fruit flavors such as blackberry, cherry, or plum, as well as non-fruit notes like spice, oak, or even floral aromas.

In my personal experience, I have come across several wines that exhibit prominent cassis flavors. One memorable wine was a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley region in California. Upon swirling the glass, I was immediately greeted by a powerful aroma of black currant, almost reminiscent of freshly crushed berries. The taste mirrored the aroma, with a burst of cassis on the palate, accompanied by hints of vanilla and spice from the oak aging process. It was a rich and full-bodied wine that showcased the beauty of cassis as a flavor component.

To summarize, cassis in wine refers to the intense black currant character that can be found in certain red wines. It adds depth, sweetness, and a touch of tartness to the overall taste profile. When you encounter cassis in a wine, you can expect pronounced black currant flavors in both the aroma and taste. It is just one of the many flavors that contribute to the complexity and enjoyment of wine.