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Let’s Talk About Aromas and Flavors of Wine

     After you open your wine let it sit for awhile to “breathe”.  Give it a swirl in the glass and put your nose in the glass and smell.  Think about what you smell.  Wine can give you aromas of many things such as fruits, flowers, grass, butterscotch, vanilla, herbs, earth, tobacco, coffee, mocha and chocolate to name a few.   If you get a whiff of a smelly dog, fertilized grass or burned meat this is obviously not the best aroma and may be a sign that the wine has gone bad or is “corked” meaning the cork may have tainted the wine.  This is the reason many wineries have changed to bottling with screw caps instead of corks.

     So what is the difference between “sweetness” and fruitiness”?  Sweetness is a tactile impression on your tongue.  Fruitiness occurs when a wine has distinct aromas and flavors of fruit.  You smell fruitiness with your nose.  In your mouth you “smell” it through your retronasal passage (rear nasal passage).

     Wine flavors are actually aromas that vaporize in your mouth.  You perceive them through the rear nasal passage.

     Exercise:  Get 2 bottles of your favorite grape varietal from different wineries from different parts of the world.  Compare the aromas and flavors.  ENJOY!