Definition - What does Jammy mean?

Jammy is a wine tasting term that applies to the abundance of jam-making fruit flavours (think strawberries, plums and blackberries). These are usually found in ripe, concentrated, fruit-flavoured wines. Depending on the critic, it can mean that a wine has overpowering characteristics and flavours of ripe fruit. Jammy wines are typically low in acid and tannins, creating the sensations that mimic fruit jams and spreads.

Jammy notes in a wine mean that the grape berries used to make the wine were very ripe, sometimes overly ripe, at the time of harvest resulting it a cooked fruit flavour, low tannins and minimal acid.

WineFrog explains Jammy

Jammy is often used as an antonym to "fresh" in wine tasting. The extremely ripe grapes made in a highly concentrated style create fruit flavors that often taste cooked and very sweet. Wines described as "jammy" usually have a syrupy, cooked-berry sweetness that isn’t found in wines made for aging. That being said, there are some vintages toted as great that had jammy in their tasting notes - 1967, 1978, 1958, 1989, 1990 and 1995 (according to Robert Parker).

Wine experts and Sommeliers usually use "jammy" as a negative tasting note - this tasting characteristic is more appropriate for beginning wine drinkers who are looking for an entrance into the great wines of the wine world. However, anyone who enjoys jam spreads will appreciate a wine with this tasting note.

Varietals grown in the New World that are known to produce jammy wines:

  • Zinfandel
  • Grenache
  • Cabernet Franc
  • Shiraz
  • Merlot
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