Whenever you hear the term “Fruit Bomb,” what is being referred to is a modern-style of winemaking, which quite simply emphasizes fruit above all else.
These wines are big, in-your-face, rich and jammy; they feel like….oh….I don’t know…..errrmmmmm….. an angry 400-lb. man wearing a bright purple jumpsuit and boots made out of plums, blackberries and strawberries has you on the floor and is kicking your teeth in! You know that feeling? Oh….and you probably already guessed by this point, but wines made in the “fruit bomb style” aren’t typically too shy when it comes to their alcohol content.
Examples of fruit bombs can be: Californian Zinfandels, Australian Shirazes, or certain Californian Cabernets / Blends. (Pointing out individual brand-names would be a little harsh!) I’m also seeing an increasing number of Argentine Malbecs going “heavy on the fruit.” Probably just their attempt to tap into the U.S. market! Obviously highlighting the aforementioned wines here is quite a sweeping statement, and I don’t want to imply that all these wines are made in this style, but they do always seem to be the worst offenders!
There are two main schools of thought when it comes to “fruit bomb” wines:
The first is that fruit bomb wines are obnoxious, lack any amount of individual character, show complete disregard for terroir (a sense of place), are incapable of being aged, and completely annihilate any effort to pair food with them. This is usually a stance taken by a great deal of wine drinkers who’ve spent a countless hours tasting through New World wines; but have grown weary of modern winemaking, and have slowly started to move back towards the Old World….which is where – if I had to guess – they’ll probably stay for the rest of their wine drinking lives.
The second is that most consumers find fruit bombs JUST PLAIN DELICIOUS!!!
I’m not one to argue with that! If the wine sells, and as a winemaker you’re finding out that’s what the market seems to be looking for, you go on right ahead and make the bombiest-fruit-bomb in the entire history of fruit bomb wines! Following suit, even Old World regions such as France, Spain and Italy are now paying more attention to maximizing fruit in an effort to remain popular with current wine drinking trends. It should however be noted that there is a difference between being “fruit forward” and being a “fruit bomb!” The key word here is: restraint. It’s possible to have fruit, with a wine being a “bomb.”
I think there has to be a balance. People are always going to vote with their feet, or in this case their palates. Fruit-bombs – in my ever-so-vocal opinion – provide a fairly smooth transition for most people into the world of wine. This since I find newer drinkers typically have a hard time appreciating the secondary “savory” flavors in a wine, therefore wines with a more “fruit-forward approach” – wherever they may be from – will usually fit the bill.
I personally find myself choosing wine based on my mood. If I want something to drink by itself and for instant gratification, I’ll pick up a more fruit-forward style of wine. If I want something to enjoy with a meal, I will look toward subtlety, restrained alcohol and restrained fruit. For me, it’s just that simple.