Most Bizarre Flavors Found in Wine

It is time for the weekend and you have invited some friends over to try a new range of wines. But throughout the evening you find yourself tasting the most bizarre flavors, which makes you the laugh of the party…

Don’t feel alone! We’ve found some of the most bizarre flavor on

  • Cedar Box
    A positive aroma associated with full-bodied red wines with moderate oak aging. Found in wines all over, but in particular Barossa Valley, Tuscany, Napa and Bordeaux.
  • Cola
    A popular flavor found on the finish of California Pinot Noir.
  • Jalapeño
    A very green herbaceous note associated with Sauvignon Blanc and occasionally Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Camenere from cool climates.
  • Mint
    A positive aroma of many fine red wines including Meritage (from California) and Bordeaux blends.
  • Nail Polish Remover
    A negative aroma that is an indicator of VA (volatile acidity) in a wine. Some tasters are more sensitive to VA than others.
  • Petroleum
    A positive aroma associated with aged Rieslings from the Mosel in Germany and some younger examples from Italy and Australia.
  • Tar
    A very rustic earthy aroma often associated with value driven wines from Tuscany, Bordeaux and La Mancha, Spain.
  • Wet Dog
    This is a commonly associated aroma with a wine that is corked (aka exposed to TCA taint).
  • Baby Diaper
  • A very funky oxidative smell from oak aged Chardonnay from Burgundy.
  • Cat’s Pee
    A negative aroma associated with white wines, particularly Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire Valley.
  • Cotton Candy
    A bizarre and fascinating aroma found in many lesser-known light red wine varieties from Alto Adige, Lombardy and Piedmont in Italy, such as Freisa, Brachetto d’Acqui and Schiava.
  • Licorice
    A primary aroma commonly associated with many Italian red wine varieties including Barbera and Nebbiolo.
  • New Plastic
    A chemical-like aroma associated with many high acidity white wines such as Riesling and Chablis. There is no actual presence of plastic. A more extreme version of this smell is Petroleum.
  • Pencil Lead
    A subtle and well-appreciated aroma commonly associated with the red wines of Bordeaux and some wines of Rioja.
  • Diesel
    A more rustic ‘petrol’ like aroma associated with Rieslings from Australia.
  • Sweaty Socks
    An aroma brought about from oxidation or a strong little yeast called brettanomyces and found in many red wines all over the world and a few whites including Savennieres from the Loire Valley in France.