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A delicious note sometimes found in red wines that have seen extended oak ageing. The compound Vanillin is found in natural vanilla as well as in oak, so when wine spends time in oak barrels, these compounds are imparted. American oak can be especially high in these compounds compared to French Oak. Wines like Gran Reserva Rioja and traditional Barossa Valley Shiraz often see extended time in American oak and you would commonly find yourself picking up on chocolatey notes in those wines. Especially when the oak has been heavily toasted, the natural sugars in the wood caramelise, adding to the chocolatey effect. In addition, cacao displays mainly fruity notes so it's not surprising that the combination of caramel, vanilla and fruit gives us the impression of smelling chocolate in our wine! Please note that as edible as this smells, it’s a fragrance only and should not be ingested!

Image by Charisse Kenion
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