15 Dec 2010

Floral descriptors are frequently used by us wine types when we attempt to articulate what we are smelling and tasting in a particular wine. There is good scientific basis for such comparisons since grapes, wine and flowers share many aroma compounds. Riesling is well-known for its floral scents and we often see similar aromas in Gewurtztraminer and Viognier for example.
But I really just wanted an excuse to post this photo of a magnolia in my garden. I think the species is magnolia grandiflora. It's a beautiful tree and the magnolia has a singular place in the world of flowering trees. Here's an extract from Wikipedia to explain further:
Magnolia is an ancient genus. Having evolved before bees appeared, the flowers developed to encourage pollination by beetles. As a result, the carpels of Magnolia flowers are tough, to avoid damage by eating and crawling beetles. Fossilised specimens of M. acuminata have been found dating to 20 million years ago, and of plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae dating to 95 million years ago. Another primitive aspect of Magnolias is their lack of distinct sepals or petals.

I can vouch for the pollination by beetles--these flowers are full of them when you look past the outer layer.  
Chardonnay seems like the vinous equivalent of magnolia to me, despite its relative lack of floral aromatics. It must be something to do with the voluptuous nature of these flowers.