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What is an aroma?

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

We have started a new series here to help you take the next step in your wine drinking enjoyment.


V&V Wine Selections understands that not everyone is equal in their wine knowledge. Learning to Taste Wines can be intimidating when you are in the presence of educated wine enthusiasts. We have started a new series here to help you take the next step in your wine drinking enjoyment.

What is an aroma?

An aroma is to be found where the senses of taste and smell meet. When you taste a wine, the aromas stimulate your senses by what is known as “retronasal olfaction”: after catching your eye, then tantalizing your nose, the wine next caresses the rear of your palate. The aromas then take on a fresh dimension, developing subtle and varied notes that might recall fresh fruits, minerality, or spices.

The aromas tell of a wine’s history, from the vine to the cellar, where it has aged peacefully. We can, then, distinguish three types of aroma:

♦ Primary aromas, or varietal aromas, come directly from the characteristics of the grape variety (honeysuckle, green apple, blackcurrant, etc.) ♦ Secondary aromas are produced during fermentation, when the sugar is turned into alcohol (butter, brioche, etc.) ♦ The tertiary aromas are produced in reaction with air during ageing (spices, coffee, leather, hazelnut, vanilla, etc.)

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