Olfactory examination and a quick sniff tells you more if you know what to look for:
Aromas (see 601.1) can be divided into three categories.
- Primary (intrinsic to the grape variety)
- Secondary (due to fermentation such as aldehydes, acetates etc.)
- Tertiary (the harmony of the Primary and Secondary with the first stages of bottle maturation)
Bouquet (see 301.1) is the result of the way the wine was made and/or aged
- Oxidative bouquet
The compounds in wine that arise as a result of exposure to air (deliberately in the winemaking process, over time in the bottle or otherwise) – smell of dried nuts, butter, madeira,or ‘rancio’ characteristics such as that found in sherry
- Reductive bouquet
The wines that are protected from contact with air during the winemaking process are often aromatic and fresh but begin to form reductive odours once they contact air. This is a tertiary aroma akin to old red and fine dry or sweet wines
Flavour is the Odour or the Scent of the wine
In judging wines, some place more importance in the ‘smell’ of wine than its taste. Certainly, in terms of ‘tasting’ flavours, much of it is detected via the olfactory means.
If the colour of a wine implies an aged wine, the smell of it should be consistent.
As you become accustomed to wine styles and types, you will find that you are able to make educated guesses as to the style and condition of the wine just by the aromas detected. This table suggests some examples.
|Citrus||Grapes picked when unripe; possibly cool climate wines such as Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay|
|Strawberries & Cough Drops||Wines that have been through Carbonic Maceration|
|Green Apples||Youthful white wine, usually Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc|
|Apricots||Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Dessert Wine or mature white wine|
|Truffles||Complex red wine, after a few years ageing|
|Currants, cherries||Gamay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet|
|Mushrooms||Red wine entering its peak|
|Chocolate||Red wine at it peak|
|Prunes||Red wines at peak, beginning its decline|
|Vanilla||White wines aged in oak ; usually Chardonnay|
|Caramel||White and red wines aged in heavy toasted barrels|
|Tobacco||Red wines capable of maturation|
|Tea leaves||White wines capable of maturation|