A ‘pie crust’ aroma

Smooth aromas from this red cabernet sauvignon

This crisp sauvignon blanc has a remarkably crisp aroma!”

Whether you’re a vino aficionado that can taste every detail in a serving of red or someone who simply enjoys a glass a day, the aroma of any bottle of wine plays a significant role in the experience that you have. While it may be fun and exciting to throw around all sorts of aroma names and terms, you might be wondering, “Where do wine aromas come from in the first place?”

How aromas created

In layman’s terms, wine aromas simply function as a sort of “free tester” that give insight as to how a bottle may taste. Generally speaking, a single glass of wine can have hundreds of different compounds that provide a certain sensation of smell, which is what we know as wine aromas.

A “wine aroma” is a simpler term for aroma compounds that are called stereoisomers. Stereoisomers are the very compounds or scents that are captured by our noses and come from the process of evaporating alcohol from the wine. The amazing fact about wine aromas is that every whiff that you take from a bottle provides a glimpse into a wine’s different aspects or unique parts of white or red wine that create its characteristic taste. 

A wine aroma can vary depending on who’s smelling it. For example, a bottle of wine may have a “tangerine juice” or “fruity” aroma for one person smelling it; on the other hand, the same bottle of wine may also come off as a “sweet Meyer lemon” aroma. 

The three categories of wine aromas

Wine aromas can be broken down into three categories that are unique to certain types of wine, namely: primary aromas, secondary aromas, and tertiary aromas. Let’s go over every type of aroma in further detail: 

1. Primary aromas

Also known as the strongest aromas out of the bunch, primary aromas are rooted in two key factors of any bottle of wine: the type of grape that was used in creating the wine itself, and the climate where the grape was produced. To simply put it, a bottle of wine’s aromas represent its fruit flavours. In most cases, primary aromas are the very first scents that you’ll be able to pick up during the first whiff, which essentially makes them the “first impressions” of any kind of wine. 

2. Secondary aromas

Secondary aromas, on the other hand, are a part of a wine’s entire aroma that comes from the fermentation process itself—or simply, the yeast that was created from the process. These types of aromas can be mostly found in a few key examples, such as a bottle of Brut Champagne’s “bready” or “yeasty” aroma. Some bottles of wine, however, can also carry yogurt or sour cream-like secondary aroma that comes from a stronger malolactic fermentation process. 

3. Tertiary Aromas

Commonly referred to as “bouquets,” tertiary aromas are mostly prevalent in bottles of aging wine. Aging aromas, for the most part, stem from the oxidation process and the type of container it’s stored in. Tertiary aromas typically act as a complement or modification for primary aromas as the factor of age sets in, which typically creates more complex “vanilla,” “nutty,” or other assorted flavours. 

Knowing what goes into a bottle of wine’s aroma provides an even greater level of insight into the alcohol itself so that you can have an even better experience with every sip that you take. With a few insightful sips and sniffs, you’ll be able to understand a bottle of white or red wine beyond the first taste. 

If you’re looking to book a wine tasting tour of the wineries in the Geelong region, get in touch with us today! We’re happy to help.

David Wilson

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