Wine geek training: What does gooseberry taste like?

At a recent visit to my favorite local wine shop, the sales rep who knows me well recommended a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry aromas. It was a very good wine, but I had no idea what to expect regarding gooseberry. So this morning when I saw red gooseberries for sale at the grocery store (gooseberries can be red or green), I gladly paid $5 for the 6 ounce container. 

They range in size from dime to fifty-cent piece and are the color and shape of red table grapes with dark basketball-like lines of longitude. Some of the riper berries had prickly little hairs. 

So how do red gooseberries taste? The simplest explanation is sour grape. A slightly longer explanation is ripe plum and red grape beginning, sweet floral mid-palate, and after the flesh and juice are gone the skin tastes a little grassy and very sour—I mean turn your head sideways and go “Wow!” kind of sour. 

And because I wanted to geek out extra hard, after eating several gooseberries I mashed up a few with a fork to smell them. The smell is tropical plum with a little grass and a tiny bit of tartness (gentle euphemism for sour).   

You can also check out Dr. Vinny’s post about gooseberry at

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