INTENSITY(Aromatic)- Assessing the Power or Volume of the Aromas as a Whole, Not to be Confused With Describing Any Quality/ Type of Aromas

  • Chest/ Chin/ Nose- A Real ‘Intense’ Aromatic Nose On a Wine Can be Smelled if You Hold the Glass to Your Chest. A “Good” Aromatic Nose Can Be Smelled With Glass to Your Chin.
  • As Wine Ages it Loses Aromatic Intensity But Gains Aromatic Complexity
  • Intensity Scale– Low     Medi-       Medium       Medi+      High/ Pronounced

Most Aromas and Flavors of a Wine are Derived Through the Grape, Some Aromas Compounds are Derived By Yeast Through Fermentation.  The Remaining are Formed After Fermentation, or During the Aging Process.”

ESTERS= Aromatic Compounds That Form by Combination and Reaction Between Acids and Alcohol. There Are Two Distinctly Different Groups of Esters. The Esters Predominately Produced During Fermentation and the Esters Formed During the Aging Process. (Ethyl, Acetate)

  • Esters Contributes to a Wines Aroma, Flavors and Adds Complexity
  • Esterification= Reaction of Alcohol with Acid That Produces Esters/ Water

Different Yeasts Produce Different Combinations and Amounts of Acids and Alcohols. The Wine- Makers Choice of Yeast Can Lead to the Production of Different Esters.”

    • Ethyl Acetate– Nail Polish Remover
    • Isoamyl Acetate– Bananas
    • Phenethyl Acetate– Rose
    • Monoethyl Succinate– Fruity Aromas
    • Butyl Esters– Petroleum

HYDROLYSIS= Chemical Reaction Where Ester is Split Into Acid and Alcohol Components and Glycosides Into Their Sugar and Aglycone Part

Esters Formation is Reversible, Esters Can Come Together and Then Fall Apart Over Time Leading to the Decline of the Wine.”

DIACETYL= Product of Esters From Malolactic Fermentation, Buttery Smell Perception Threshold In Varietals Varies-

  • Chardonnay-(.2mg./ L.)
  • Pinot Noir-(.9mg./ L.)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon-(2.8mg./ L.)

There are Numerous Specific Chemicals In Wine That Have Been Identified and Associated With a Wines Aromas and Flavors.”

TERPENES– Group of Chemical Compounds/ Molecules Present In Skins of Certain Vitus Vinifera Varietals That Are Responsible For the Distinctive Floral and Spice Aromatics Scents of Wine.

  • For Terpenes to Develop Their Full Aromatic Potential, Minimal Vinification is Needed. Fermented In Steel, No Barrel Time to Retain Acidity, Enhance Fruitiness.
  • Varietals With Elevated Terpenes
    • WHITE= Albarino, Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Grüner Veltliner, Muscat Blanc A Petite Grain, Moscophilero, Moscato, Muscat, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Scheurebe, Sauvignon Blanc, Torrontes, Vermentino, Viognier
    • RED= Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot, Mourvedre, Syrah


  • MONOTERPENES/ Terpenes- Types- Geraniol, Nerol, Linalool
    • Petrol Smells- TDN. (1,1,6-Trimethyl-1,2-Dihydronaphthalene) TDN. Is Prevalent In Terpene-Rich Wines Exposed to a Lot of Sunshine
    • Aromas: Floral (Rose), Mandarin Orange, Coriander
      WHITE= Albariño, Gewurztraminer, Muscat Blanc, Riesling, Torrontes, Viognier
      RED= Schiava
  • METHOXPYRAZINE/ Pyrazine- Aromatic Organic Compound That Smells of
    • Aromas: Vegetable, Grass, Herbaceous, Pea, Green Bell Pepper, Elderflower Chocolate, Coffee, Mint, Sweet Basil, Green Olive, Tarragon
    • Off Aromas– Asparagus Water, Steamed Green Pepper
    • WHITE= Sauvignon Blanc
    • RED= Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Carmenere, Malbec, Merlot
    • 3-Alkyl-2-Methoxypryazine (MP.’s) The Main MP.’s Found In Wine Are…
    • 3-Isobutyl-2-Methoxpyrazine (IBMP.)
      Found In Capsicum/ Pepper Family, Characterized by…Green Peas, Bell Pepper, Tomato Leaf, Asparagus
    • 3-Isopropyl-2-Methoxypyrazine (IPMP.)
      Found In         , Characterized by…Coffee, Earth, Potatoes, Hazelnuts, Chocolate
    • 3-Sec-Butyl-2-Methoxypyrazine (SBMP.)
    • 3-Ethyl-2-Methoxpyrazine (ETMP.)
  • VITICULTUREPRACTICES– Pyrazine In Wine Can Be Controlled With Proper Pruning and Canopy Management/ Leaf Covering, Yields, Proper Ripening and Picking Decisions
    • Pyrazine Flavors In Grapes Can Be Ripened Out by Extended “Hang-Time”
    • Pyrazine Degradation Happen Towards the End of the Grape Growing Ripening/ Cycle, In Cooler Climates Wine Will Show More Pyrazines
    • Pyrazine Are Generally Extracted From the Skins of Grapes Within the First 24 Hour During Maceration, Before Fermentation Begins.
    • Aromas: Lychee, Rose, Lavender, Eucalyptus, Lees Smell
    • WHITE= Muscat Blanc, Gewürztraminer
    • RED= Grenache, Shiraz
  • THIOLS– Strong Smelling Organic Sulfur Compound
    • Sulphur Containing Compounds That Are Present and a Odorless Precursor In Ripe Grapes.
    • During Fermentation Yeast Renders Thiol Volatile and Can Provide Distinctive Varietal Aromas
    • Mercaptans- Organic Sulfur Compound Composed of Alkyl Group & Thiol Group
    • Aromas: Grapefruit, Black Currant, Cat Piss, Passion Fruit, Lemon Grass, Green Olive
    • WHITE= Colombard, Grunner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc, Vermentino, Colombard
    • RED= Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot
  • GEOSMIN– Organic Compound From Bacteria
    • Aromas: Mushrooms, Beets, Potting Soil
    • WHITE=    RED=
  • ROTUNDONE– Terpene Found In Grape-Skins
    • Aromas: Black Pepper Oregano, Marjoram, Rosemary, Thyme, Basil
    • WHITE= Grüner Veltliner, Riesling, Gewurztraminer
    • RED= Cabernet Sauvignon, Garnacha, Mourvedre, Pelaverga, Petite Sirah, Schioppettino, Syrah, Zinfandel
    • Aromas: Cumin, Maple, Tobacco, Molasses
    • WHITE= Vin Jaune, Sherry
    • Aromas: Vanilla, Coconut, Hazelnut, Caramel
    • WHITE=
    • RED=
    • Aromas: Flint, Chalk, Wet Wool, Metallic, Petrol, Kerosene
      WHITE= Chablis
    • RED=

Aromatic vs. Non-Aromatic Grape Varietals

AROMATIC GRAPE VARIETALS– Wines, Usually White and Defined by Dominant Floral Aromas Caused by Special Aroma Compounds Found Naturally In Grape

  • VITICULTURE– Aromatics Compounds In Grapes Build Over Growing Season Usually In Cooler Climates and Are Enhanced by Extended Hang Time. This Allow For the Development of Aromas and Flavors Over Time While Letting the Grape Maintain its Acidity.
  • VINICULTURE– Generally- Fermented In Stainless Steel, Some Malo-Blockage, +Acid,
    Usually Smells of Fruit, White Flowers
  • Aromatic Grape Varietals
    • WHITE= Albarino, Chenin Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Grüner Veltliner, Muscat Blanc A Petite Grain, Moscophilero, Moscato, Muscat, Muller-Thurgau, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Torrontes
    • RED= ?

NEUTRAL WHITE WINES– Grape Varietals That are Relatively Bland and Not Very Aromatic by Their Nature. These Grapes Generally Contain Little Pyrazine or Terpenes. Although These Varietals are Considered Neutral They Tend to Lend Themselves to Being Enhanced by Secondary Sources Such as Sur Lie Aging or Oak Aging Regiment.

  • VITICULTURE– *Generally- Warmer Climates
  • VINICULTURE– *Generally- Good Ageability, Possess Good Texture, +BODY
  • Neutral/ Semi-Aramatic Grape Varietals
    • WHITE= Aligote, Arneis, Chardonnay, Colombard, Cortese, Folle Blanc, Muscadele, Melon de Bourgogne, Pic Poul, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Semillon, Vermentino

DRIED HERBS vs. ESSENTIAL OILS– Dried Herbs and Essential Oils Are Both Derived From Plants, the Difference is Dried Herbs Usually Contain Pieces of Actual Plant In Dried Form and Essential Oils Are Concentrated Essences of the Plant In Oil Concentration.

HERBACEOUS= Wine That’s Characterized by Grassy, Herb, Cut Grass or Green Leaves

  • The Younger the Grape-Vine the Greater the Vine Vigor Thus the Earlier the Grapes Develops and are Picked. This Leaves the Wine with a Heightened Methoxpyrazine In the Form of Herbaceous Aromas.
  • Outcome When Sauvignon Family Wines Don’t Ripen and Pyrazine Don’t Ripen Out

NATIVE ENVIRONMENT AROMA= A Scent Infused by Grape/ Vine From Something In the Vineyards Close Proximity

  • Eucalyptus Tree, Smoke, Salinity

EARTHY= Aromas and Flavors In Wine Can Range From Dry Leaves, Mushrooms, Tree Bark, Smoke, and Dirt

EMPYREUMATIC– Smells Refer to Fire, Burnt or Toasted Aromas

  • Example– Cocoa, Toasted Bread, Coffee, Tobacco, Caramel

MINERALITY & WINE– Although Subjective and Contentious, Minerality In Wine is Universally Understood to be Good and a Positive Thing. Minerality is More of a Sensation Than a Taste, Although Some Would Argue You Can’t Actually Smell and Taste Minerality. Sensations of Minerality Are Delicate and More Nuanced and Will Make You Salivate. Minerality Can Be Diminished by Over Oaking or Extremely Fruit Extracted Wines. Minerality Show Better With a High Acid Wine

  • Minerality Descriptors Wet Stone, Chalk, Concrete, Crushed Rock, Flinty Gravel, Limestone, Salinity, Slate, Petrichor
  • CONTENTIOUS ISSUE!  “You Can’t Smell or Taste Minerality In a Wine!”
    • A Wine Soaks Up the Minerals and Passes it On to the Wine. The Vines Roots Are Into the Soil and Absorbing Minerals Over the Entire Growing Cycle. Just as We Can Perceive Minerals In Mineral Water Can the Same Be True For Wine.
    • When Talking About Minerality Try to Qualify a Wine With a Second Descriptive Word or In the Context of Something Else…Chalky-Minerality, Salty Minerality Sense of Minerality
  • Wine High In Minerality
    • Chablis, Mosel, Sicilia


  • Barrels Contribute to Wines Richness, Complexity, Aging Potential, $$$
  • Oak Barrels Have Finite Amount of Volatile Compounds and Non-Volatile Polyphenols to Contribute to the Wine Over Life of a Barrel
  • Wines Ability to Extract Flavors, Body, Tannin, From the Oak Barrel Decreases Greatly After First Use
  • Putting a Wine Through Oak Treatment Softens Tannic Wines and Make Them More Approachable or Easier to Drink at a Younger Age
  • **Refer to “CONTAINERS/ Oak Barrel” For Additional Information
  • Reds Wines That See New Oak
    • RED= Cabernet Sauvignon/ Napa, Priorat, Bordeaux/ Blend, Shiraz/ Australia, Pinot Noir/ Burgundy Grand Cru
  • Oak On Red Wine Descriptors Vanilla, Clove, All-Spice, Nutmeg, Mocha, Milk, Chocolate, Dil, Eucalyptus, Cedar Box, Sweet Tobacco, Smoke, Oak, Leather, Tea
  • White Wines That See New Oak
    • WHITE= Chardonnay/ California, Bordeaux/ White, Chablis/ Grand Cru
  • Oak On White Wine Descriptors Vanilla, Creme Brûlée, Oak, Smoke, Nut-Meg, Clove, Cinnamon, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Honey

FRENCH OAK FLAVORS– Cinnamon, Clove, Vanilla, Backing Spice
AMERICAN OAK FLAVORS– Dill, Coconut, Vanilla

While Not Recommended it’s Possible to Cover Up a Wines Mistakes or Viticulture Short-Comings With Oak Treatment.”

  • Aroma Compounds Associated With Oak
    • Aldehydes
    • Lactones– Coconut, Dill, Mocha
    • Eugenol– Spice, Clove, Smoke, Cinnamon, Nut Meg
    • Isoeugenol
    • Furfural & 5-Methylfurfural– Dried Fruit, Burned Almond, Caramel
    • Guaiacol & 4-Methulguaiacol– Cigar, Charred, Smoke, Tea Leaf
    • Hemicellulose
    • Lignins
    • Vanillin– Vanilla Component Found In Oak Barrels
    • Syringaldehyde– Vanilla
    • **Refer to “WINE STYLES/ Oak Barrel Aging” For Additional Information

BOTRYTIS CINEREA Fuckeliana– Naturally Occurring Fungus That Grows or is Induced to Attack and Colonize On the Grapes

  • Varietals Positively Effected By Botrytis
    • WHITE= Chenin Blanc, Devin, Furmint, Gewurztraminor, Harslevelu, Koverszolo, Muscat, Muscadelle, Optima, Ortega, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Scheurebe, Smarg(Grüner Veltliner), Zeta
    • RED= **Red Grapes Are Negatively Effected By Botrytis and Result In Offensive Orders
    • Sight:
    • Aroma: Saffron, Ginger, Honey, Roses, Boiled Cabbage
    • Palate: Sweet/ +BODY, Apricot, Beeswax, Vanilla
    • Structure: Medi Tannins, +Abv., Medi+Acid
      • PAIRING…Foie Gras   |   CHEESE
    • **Refer to “WINE SWEET/ Botrytis” For Additional Information

When Evaluating Residual Sugar Ask Yourself…Is Sweetness From Botrytis or Climate, or Viticulture Practice?”

Random Aromas Detected In Wine

  • Petrol- DETECTED IN:
  • Riesling, ATTRIBUTED TO: 1, 1, 6, -Trimethyl-1,2-Dihydronapthalene TDN.