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Interesting question, ncwine. I was stumped, so I went over to Bruce Sanderson's office (he's Wine Spectator's tasting director) and asked him about iron scents in wine. He said that he associates iron with a mineral flavor. For him, mineral flavors have a few variations; mineral can be more metallic or it can be more salty. Among the regions he tastes most regularly, Bruce often finds iron in the Burgundian regions of Pommard and Nuits-St.-Georges.

After searching years of Wine Spectator tasting notes, I can also tell you that the aroma of iron has been used to describe only red wines and most of them are Cabernet Sauvignons, though it has also been used to describe a handful of Rhone reds. Most of these wines have big tannins and full bodies.

Hope that helps. Has anybody else found the scent of iron in wine?

(And a quick note on terminology. "Taste" refers to the 5 stimuli that affect your taste buds: sweet, tart, bitter, umami and salt. Iron is not one of the five tastes; iron is a scent or an aroma or a flavor. Scents are picked in your nasal passages.)
i agree with schoolmarm,

but i feel different on the ps.

i beleve that we do not taste with the tongue or nose but we do both with our brain!

the nose and tongue are only rezepors, and the feelings are composed at the brain, that is also the reason that pepole have different words-feelings-memorys and so on for the same aroma and the same "aroma-loudness".

i agree with that tong has 5 (i dont know what umami is) sweet, bitter, salt, sour, pain (pain for hot food) but pain is not a taste is a mouthfeeling like grip, velvet, dry, oily, prickle, sticky and so on.
if you combine this sentences and the different intensitys, and the different composity, (matematecly) you'll get a huge diversity without adding the diversity of the nose.
(i only mentioned that because people often beleve that the tong is "a stupid thing" that has only 5 different signals!)

for me iron is a taste also found in riesling special in germans, a mineralic-metallic taste that is sharp and fresh, if a similar taste is also mineralic-metallic but darker (terz aroma)
as i find in the mentioned reds i would rater say lead.
some soils are red from the hight iron content, why should the wine don't show that in the aromatic?
McLaren Vale is an Australian region that quite often gets "iron" notes in the big reds from that region. This has been attributed to a high iron content in the soil, but I'm not sure of the accuracy of that.

In fact many years ago, before the modern Australian wine industry got its act together in the 1970s, Australian red wine had a reputation in Britain for tasting like iron tonic.
Hi tsunami.

You are completely correct in saying that all of our senses are interpreted in the brain. In fact, the brain can associate stimuli from one sense with a completely different sense, for example, when we say something "smells sweet."

In order to be completely clear in terminology and how we sense various wine features, I will always categorize the features based on the senses they stimulate.

So far, we've mentioned smell for aromas and flavors and taste for sweet, tart, bitter and umami.

Tsunami also mentioned mouthfeel, which is related to the sense of touch.

Enogeek warning: the sense of touch in your mouth and face is actually perceived by your trigeminal system, which responds to weight (body in wine), texture, irritation (as in spice or the hot burn from alcohol), and temperature (think how your eyes water when you go out into the cold -- yup, it's due to your trigeminal system).

and when it comes to soils, you have to be careful; they may add some body to wine, but the flavor connection has not been proven and it seems to be very indirect; chalk soils do not contribute chalk flavors to wine, etc.

clear as mud?

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