CERTAINLY, MOST PEOPLE HAVE SEEN A REAL WINE CONNOISSEUR TASTING A NEW WINE OR HAS BEEN TO A TASTING THEMSELVES. THAT TYPICAL SWIRLING GESTURE WITH THE WINE GLASS AND THE ACCOMPANYING SMELL TEST ARE LEGENDARY. BUT WHAT DOES THAT ACTUALLY HAVE TO DO WITH THE “SNIFF TEST” AND THE SO-CALLED BOUQUET? WHAT ROLE DOES THE AROMA PLAY WHEN DETERMINING THE QUALITY OF THE WINE? AND CAN AN “AMATEUR” DISCERN THIS BOUQUET AS WELL?
Aroma as the first point of contact
The bouquet – an industry term for the aroma of a wine – stems from the French language and evokes the sense of a “floral bouquet”. Though it is the subtlest component of a wine, it is also an important criterion in determining the wine’s quality. As a rule, it consists of very complex fragrances that reveal secrets about the wine. For example, whether the wine is fresh or stale, whether it is high in alcohol or mild, or whether it is balanced or unbalanced. Experienced connoisseurs can predict how the aroma will behave on their tongue just from the bouquet alone.
The development of the bouquet
It is clear that the aroma of wine has a specific characteristic that basically remains unchanged. This arises from the areas of cultivation, climate, soils, grape varieties, and types of vine clippings. There is, however, one component that can change the bouquet: time. As a wine ages, the fragrances fade and lose their potency and sharpness.
The relevance of wine’s aroma
Aroma and taste usually differ from each other. Discovering a wine with one’s nose can be a completely different experience than tasting it with one’s tongue. Ideally, both should be developed. Those who can pick up on the aroma and classify it will be delighted to be able to guess about the taste of the wine before finally getting to test it for themselves. This is how you enjoy a complete and perfect wine tasting.
The nuances of wine: an associative experience
Those who wish to put a name to the bouquet of a wine generally use such words as “floral”, “nutty”, “woody”, or “rosy”. Even the taste of “roasted coffee beans”, “tanned leather”, or “petrol” may also be present. The description of the impressions found in the aromas of wine are always associative. Whatever thoughts go through the head of the taster during this sensory perception are then verbalized.
Generally, this means that you can go ahead and get cracking and let the bouquet develop on the second glass of wine. This is more fun when amongst company. And with a little bit of practice, the nose can become an expert judge. An “aromatic” opportunity!