Answer: Flavor compounds responsible for herbaceous flavors in wine, such as the bell pepper aroma in cabernet.
Just in case you thought my blog was getting too soft and emotional versus winey and intellectual, I thought I would surprise you a bit with big words that may stump the average person.
Methoxypyrazines, pronounced ‘me-thoxy-pie-razines’ are flavor compounds that give wine aromas of green herbs or bell peppers. I often smell these compounds when opening a bottle of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley. Of course, you don’t have to be drinking red to experience these flavors. They are also found in our friend Sauvignon Blanc. All of the herbaceous flavors, like fresh, green herbs and jalapenos you so often encounter in New Zealand or South African Sauvignon Blanc are results of methoxypyrazines.
To me, it is incredibly fascinating that grapes, once made into wine, have the ability to smell like so many other flavors than just grape juice. As the world becomes more and more advanced, I discover there are actual reasons, i.e. compounds, that make wine smell like millions of other things. I find that wine is not just about magic, but more about science. It is a fascinating discovery, one that I pray will have me discovering for the rest of my life.