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>buttery chardonnay vs. perfumey chardonnay

Even I, not the sharpest wine taster in the world, have tasted the distinct difference.

Some chardonnays are "butter-bombs" - smooth like butter, smell like butter, taste like butter. Less outrageous wine notes include "sweet corn", "popcorn", "cream"...

-Marcassin Chardonnay 1998, Lorenzo Vineyard,
Sonoma Coast

Rather than being buttery, some chardonnays are sharper, more perfumey, rosy, lemony.

-Blason de Bourgogne 2004, Saint-Veran (a "chardonnay" or white Burgundy)

Scientists are able to isolate the chemical compounds responsible for these different taste sensations.

The chemical responsible for the buttery taste is diacetyl, the cute puppylike compound on the left.

One of the chemicals responsible for the perfumey, citrusy sensation is linalool on the right.

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