Perhaps American colonists were so struck by the sharp smell of ripe labrusca that they came to identify these particular grapes with the familiar fable. They were foxy. At the very least, Wikipedia, the gold standard of references, gives us this comment by Marianne Moore on the fox deciding that the unattainable grapes were sour after all, " "Better, I think, than an embittered whine".can be smelled tens of yards away from the vine.
Paul Winalski wrote:BTW, that character is even more overpowering in the wild V. labrusca grapes, which aren't really particularly good eating.
Regarding the origin of the term fox for the grape did you read the appendix to the book a quoted - it's online here http://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpresseboo ... and=eschol
“One theory may, I think, be dismissed as purely fanciful: this is the notion that "fox grape" alludes to Aesop's fable of the fox and the grapes; on this account, the grape is named after the grapes that the fox in the fable could not reach and therefore called sour” (A History of Wine in America, Volume 1: From the Beginnings to Prohibition, Thomas Pinney (p. 444).
Peter May wrote:A question to those who know Labrusca - how would you describe foxiness to someone who'd never tasted it?
Joy Lindholm wrote:Peter May wrote:A question to those who know Labrusca - how would you describe foxiness to someone who'd never tasted it?
I can't speak for Labrusca varieties, but I can attest to the presence of "foxiness" in some hybrid wines, especially wines that I have tasted from Nebraska and the midwest US. At a local wine tasting a couple years ago, I tasted several varieties such as Chambourcin, De Chaunac, Edelweiss, Frontenac (Red & Gris), La Crosse, Norton, Seyval Blanc, St. Croix, and Traminette. Quite a few of these exhibited a funky, animal quality - ?
Dan Smothergill wrote:As for animal fur, the authors say: "Wine from American species, particularly Vitis Labrusca, can have a very distinctive flavor - definitely an acquired taste - combining animal fur and candied fruits, often described as 'foxy'" (p. xiv). Foxy has been described in many ways, but this is a new one for me.
Victorwine wrote:Hi Paul,
Was waiting for you to reply!
Do you have any thoughts about the origins of the term “fox grape” or “foxy”?Salute
Candied fruits I definitely agree with. In fact, when I first made a dry Niagara, I took pains to accurately pinpoint all the specific aromas that I found rolling around in the glass, and the main ones I found were a heavy petroleum/oily note, a strong floral note (jasmine) and the candy-sweet musk that you get if you've been handling pineapple slices and the juice dries on your hands.
When it comes to Concord, that specific, delicate musky note is expressed more like what you get from handling raw strawberries. Again - it is a candied scent, and very sweet to the nose. It's what makes Concord, and Niagara in particular (as they are the most pungent of the common labruscana grapes) better as sipping wines.
In other related labruscana grapes, the quality is there but it is much reduced: There is a slight hint of the strawberry musk in Catawba, but more rosewater (it's similar in Steuben); in Delaware, there is the floral jasmine-like note of Niagara, but much less of the candied pineapple musk. In Fredonia, you mainly get blueberries and blackcurrants, and there's just a hint of sweet candy holding it all together.
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