Wine Aroma Wheel from UC Davis

pin it button Wine Aroma Wheel from UC Davis

Davis Wine Aroma Wheel1 Wine Aroma Wheel from UC Davis

The Davis Wine Aroma Wheel is the perfect way for wine lovers to get a look at the numerous fragrances and flavors found in most wines. Each of these unique fragrances found in wine, are due to the grapes being used in the production of the wine, coupled with the soils and terroir or soil the grapes were planted in and the choices made by the wine maker. The graphs and information found on the wine aroma wheel will help you identify what you are tasting and smelling. For tips on becoming a better wine taster: How to taste wine

The Davis Wine Aroma Wheel is divided into several sections to help you visualize the different flavors, scents and aromatic qualities found in most red and white wines, regardless of the grape variety.  The same aromatic complexities and sensations pictured on the wine aroma wheel are found in red and white wines all over the world, from Bordeaux , to California and the Rhone Valley, as well as every other viticultural area.

In young wines, initially tasters will experience what is known as primary aromas. These early scents come predominantly from the fruits, which include notes of berries, grape, cherry, strawberry, boysenberry, cassis, blueberry, blackberry and black cherry in red wines. In white wines, the early aromatic qualities most often expressed range from citrus top apple, pear, pineapple or other tropical fruits. Young wines often offer coffee, vanilla or chocolate notes from the oak, as well as floral, stone, licorice and jammy scents.

However, not all scents in wine are positive. There are faults as well. The biggest fault in a wine takes place due to TCA, which causes a wine to smell like a wet dog, or old, wet newspapers. For Help with How to Recognize a Corked Wine and its Causes

With time and bottle age, wines develop secondary or tertiary qualities which add layers of depth and complexity a wines bouquet. Some of the more easily recognizable tertiary aromas include tobacco, truffle, earth, spice box, chocolate, smoke, crushed stone and cigar box. These secondary qualities are prized as only the worlds’ best wines are capable of aging and developing these additional layers of complexity.

To get an idea for how some of these words and terms found in the wine aroma wheel are used to describe wine, you can search through thousands of Wine Tasting Notes . To help you come up with the words and terms you feel comfortable with to allow you to discuss the wines that interest you, this is a very helpful link:  ABC of Wine, A Glossary of Important Wine Terms

To read more about the most important grapes, including all the noble grape varieties used to produce red and white wine most often written about in The Wine Cellar Insider , please see: Guide to Wine Grapes

Fruit Aromas Citrus Grapefruit
Lemon
Berry Blackberry
Raspberry – Red Raspberry and Black Raspberry
Strawberry
Black Currant (Cassis)
(Tree) Fruit Cherry – Black Cherry and Red Cherry
Apricot
Peach
Apple
(Tropical) Fruit Pineapple
Melon
Banana
(Dried) Fruit Strawberry Jam
Raisin
Prune
Fig
Other Artificial Fruit
Methyl Anthranilate
Spice Aromas Spicy Licorice/Anise
Black Pepper
Cloves
Floral Aromas Floral Geranium
Violet
Rose
Orange Blossom
Microbiological Scents Yeasty Leesy
(Often these are faults) Baker’s Yeast
Lactic Yogurt
Sweaty
Sauerkraut
Other Mousy
Horsey
Sherry Aromas Oxidized Oxidized
(Often these are faults)
Pungent Aromas
(Often these are faults)
Cool Menthol
Hot Alcohol
Chemical Smells Pungent Sulfur Dioxide
(Most are Serious Defects) Ethanol
Acetic Acid
Ethyl Acetate
Sulfur Wet Wool, Wet Dog
Sulfur Dioxide
Burnt Match
Cabbage
Skunk
Garlic
Natural Gas, Mercaptain
Hydrogen Sulfide
Rubbery
Petroleum Diesel
Kerosene
Plastic
Tar
Earthy Aromas Moldy Moldy Cork
Moldy
Earthy Mushroom
Dusty
Wood Aromas Burned Smoky
Burnt Toast
Coffee
Phenolic Medicinal
Phenolic
Bacon
Resinous Oak
Cedar
Vanilla
Caramel Aromas Caramel Honey
Butterscotch
Diacetyl (Butter)
Soy Sauce
Chocolate
Molasses
Nut Aromas Nutty Walnut
Hazelnut
Almond
Herbaceous or
Vegetative Aromas
Fresh Cut Green Grass
 Can be a fault Bell Pepper
Eucalyptus
Mint
Canned/Cooked Green Beans
Asparagus
Green Olive
Black Olive
Artichoke
Dried Hay/Straw
Tea
Tobacco