Wine tasting aromas…fake news or are they for real?

Being a wine newbie myself, I do appreciate wine aromas but I still do not get that a wine could smell like “sensitive and burnt cotton sugar with a suspicious raw red meat aroma”.  Recently reading an article at I realized I was not the only one confused with all that “wine poetry” and hyperbole. To make it a little easier for people new to wine, aromas arise because of the fermentation process. They are the result of chemical reactions when the sugar in the grape gets together with yeast to ferment and result in alcohol. Alcohol carries the aromas up into the air so when you swirls the glass of wine, the aromas are liberated. There are certain fruit aromas specific to each grape varietal.  Then come secondary aromas which develop from the soil and from the fermentation process and finally aromas from conservation and aging. These last ones conform the BOUQUET (aromas that develop post fermentation). All Sommeliers have to learn to note these aromas. In all there are 10 aroma families which are: Fruit, Vegetal, Floral, Spice, Wood, Animal, Balsamic, Ethereal, Empyreumatic, Chemical. I mention them all so you can get an idea of why wine descriptors can become so crazy. For now we should be concerned with learning the fruit aromas specific for the most important grape varietals and their bouquets. Then slowly, as we start tasting more and more wines and our nose starts learning to identify more smells, we will develop a larger smelling vocabulary. This is what I have referred to in other posts when I write about educating the nose. I do have the 10 aroma families in detail, including how to smell wine defects. If interested please write to or comment on my blog. I will be more than happy to share.

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