What does cassis wine taste like?

Getty Images 1000152244
Cassis is the French name for black currant, a flavor found in red wine.

By Mary Malik

Have you heard the word “cassis” used to describe a wine? Were you not quite sure what that meant? Wine experts use many descriptors to characterize the flavor of red wine.

“Words like smoky, jammy, raspberry, cherry, and tobacco convey a sensory impression that we can understand,” says Jim Sperk, of the Northern Ohio Wine Guild. “Cassis is a very common word wine experts mention when describing red wine. Yet if you ask the experts what cassis is, the answer may remain unclear.”

So, what is cassis? And, more importantly, what does it taste like? Créme de cassis, a dark and sweet black currant liquor, dates back to the 16th Century.

“Cassis is actually the French name for ‘black currant,’ a small shrub very native to northern Asia and much of Europe,” says Jim. “In Europe, cassis has long been consumed due to its healthful properties and delicious flavor. But, again, what does it taste like?”

Some people say it reminds them of a cherry cola or a bit like licorice. But the best way to find out is to experience the taste yourself. Jim suggests finding one of the many black currant herbal teas on the market today, or, better yet, next time you’re at a bar, ask for a taste of the créme de cassis on the shelf.

“If you like it, you can look for cassis in the description of your next bottle of Cabernet or Bordeaux,” says Jim. “It’s all about educating ourselves.”

For information on the Northern Ohio Wine Guild, contact Jim Sperk at tinymoonwines@usa.net.