Question from Mitchell: What does it mean when a wine is described as being “fruit foward”?
Answer: Hi, Mitchell. Thanks for writing! We do use that phrase casually, don’t we? In my opinion, it’s meant to convey that the wine is very noticeably fruity and that the fruit is more noticeable than any other of the wine’s attributes. For instance, I would say that Goosecross Chardonnay is fruit-forward or fruit-driven compared to many Chardonnays that show lots of butter and oak. We avoid the technique that causes the buttery aroma, malo-lactic fermentation, and we go easy on the oak. Some rich styles of Chardonnay smell mainly of oak or very richly of butter or butterscotch and they would not be described as fruit forward.
California wines tend to be more fruit-forward than their cold-climate European counterparts, for instance a Napa Valley Cabernet will usually be noticeably fruitier than a Cabernet from the Bordeaux region, which may have more earthiness or even a gravelly aroma, so that you have to look harder for the fruit.
I hope that makes sense for you. Thanks again for writing! Cheers! Nancy