The wine nose

The sense of smell is the sense with more memory of all and therefore, the one that is more linked to the emotions. Learning to recognize wine smells will help us to get to know them better, discover their origins and even associate them with emotions, all of which translates into a much greater enjoyment of wine.

To begin to be able to recognize the aromas of the wine, first of all we need to distinguish between what is a scent and what is an odor as far as wines are concerned. Aroma is called all positive impressions during a tasting and smell when these expressions are negative. For example, cinnamon or thyme would be scents, but cork or moisture would be odors.

Once we know how to distinguish this, we have to know the different types of aromas, thanks to which we can know information about the grape variety with which the wine has been made, the procedure used in its elaboration or its age, among others.

The wine develops certain aromatic substances during the whole process of elaboration, from the vineyard to the aging and, according to the stage in which it is, we distinguish 3 types of aromas:

– Primary aromas:

They are the aromas that depend on the variety of the grape, the area where it is cultivated, the composition of the soil and the climatology. They are characteristic of the young wines and the aromas that give us in the nose are floral (violet, rose, hawthorn, rosemary …), vegetables (pepper, truffle, thyme, laurel, mushrooms …), fruit trees (apples, Plum, citrus, almond …), minerals (iodine, oil …) and spices (pepper, cardamom, nutmeg …).

– Secondary aromas:

The secondary aromas usually appear as a result of alcoholic and malolactic fermentation. These aromas depend on the type of yeast and the conditions that favor fermentation, such as aeration or temperature. These aromas are usually sweet and include aromas of fermentation (yeast, biscuit, breadcrumb …), lactic (milk, yoghurt, fresh cheese …) and amylics (banana, caramel, varnish …).

– Tertiary aromas:

Finally, the tertiary aromas, also known as “bouquet”, are aromas that have been acquired during the aging of the wine in the barrel and its subsequent ripening in the bottle. At this stage we can find a great complexity of the aromas, which are the ones that give the wine its exquisiteness giving rise to unique wines. The aromas that we can find here are floral-vegetables (truffle, mushrooms, chamomile …), confectionery (red fruits, apricots, figs, nuts …), woody and balsamic (eucalyptus, liquorice, incense, cinnamon , Pine …), animal-empireumatic (leather, musk …) and confectionery (honey, coconut, beeswax …).


But where exactly do the aromas of wine come from? For the soil, air and water involved in its elaboration. The earth has aromatic compounds, but air and water also contain plant essences accumulated over the centuries.

In addition, wines owe their flavors to their chemical composition, but the one responsible for a particular aroma is not a single chemical compound, but may be the result of a compound or combination of several compounds.