Wednesday, September 09

Tasting Terms: Blackcurrant

by Steve De Long

Put down your glass for a second and give a warm Wine.Woot welcome to our newest guest blogger, Steve De Long of De Long's Wine Info, publisher of our favorite wine charts, maps, and books. The wine experts at De Long's are masters at making it easy for the rest of us to fake it. For his debut column, Steve answers a question that's occurred to any American who reads tasting notes: what are "blackcurrant" and "cassis"?

“Everybody knows the blackcurrant bush.”
-Le Nez du Vin, Jean Lenoir

Blackcurrant is the most common flavor descriptor of the most popular grape variety in the world: Cabernet Sauvignon. At least the British think so. American wine writers tend to use the term cassis, which is French for blackcurrant.

You may be asking yourself: wait a minute - what’s going on here? I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a blackcurrant in my life, much less seen a blackcurrant bush. Am I supposed to know this? Is Bacchus once again laughing hideously at my woeful ignorance of wine? And when did American wine writers become such Francophiles that they use a French term over a perfectly good English one?...

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