Wine Clue of the Week: Wine Aromas and Smelling Wine

Did you know that how you taste wine depends a lot upon how you smell the wine, too?

That’s why you’ll see wine connoisseurs taking in a good whiff before tasting a wine.

Our VineSleuth Clue of the Week this week will help you to identify the smells, or aromas, you may experience in any particular wine.

Wine Clue of the Week: Wine Aromas & Smelling Wine

Andrea of learns about a wine’s aroma.

I have found that just by knowing what to ‘smell for’ I can better identify what fragrances I get from a wine.

The next time you are presented with a wine, perhaps a bit of a cheat sheet will help you as you try to identify just what is you are smelling, or what is on the wine’s nose.

After giving it a good swirl, give it a good sniff.

In a white wine you might find:

  • apple
  • apricot
  • citrus
  • melon
  • pineapple
  • pear
  • bell pepper
  • vanilla
  • caramel
  • nutmeg
  • flowers
  • herbs
  • grass
  • olive

In a red wine you might find:

  • berry
  • peach
  • currant
  • plum
  • cherry
  • flower
  • green bell pepper
  • black pepper
  • earth
  • wood
  • smoke
  • chocolate
  • tobacco
  • leather
  • licorice

These are, by no means, exhaustive lists. They are just a starting point to help you begin to identify what it is you might be smelling.

You can learn more about the different aromas and also identify what you might be smelling by using the Wine Aroma Wheel, developed by Ann C. Noble.

Do you know what each of those things really smells like? Exercise your nose sometime by really smelling each of those things so it will be easier to identify them in wine the next time you are presented with a glass.

Then take note with each glass of wine you try. What smells appeal to you? Which don’t? Remember those so you can be a better consumer and get a better understanding of what you like.

When you know what you like, you can have some keywords to use when ordering wine at a restaurant or bar or shopping in a store.

Bookmark this page on your smartphone, if you can, and put it to work for you. Then let us know what you think.

If you are already familiar with your favorites, what are some things you like to smell in a wine? What fragrances send you in the other direction?

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