The aromas of wine

Wine is full of nuances and one of the main ones is its aroma. The different stages of the elaboration of a wine give rise to different types of aromas. These typologies are divided into three: primary, secondary and tertiary aromas. 

It takes experience to blindly determine the grape from which a wine is made. Especially because the brain is not used to memorize smells. 

The origin of the aromas

It is a very complex process that varies at each phase of production: first, the metabolism of the grape and its varieties fixes the aromas; later, the chemical phenomena that take place in the fermentation; and finally the chemical reactions.  

About 800 aromas are recognized in wine, in practice, 54 of these aromas are very easily recognizable.

The aromas can come from different elements:

- The strain (location, age of the vine)

- The soil

- The climate

- The soil

- The millesime (year)

The different types of aromas 

As previously mentioned, we can distinguish three different types of aromas in a wine, namely:

- Primary

- Secondary

- Tertiary 

Primary aromas of wine 

The primary aroma of wine comes from the grape and its varieties. Other aromas are released at harvest time. These aromas, coming from precursors formed during the ripening process, are conditioned by factors such as the soil, the weather, the terroir, the vintage and the cultivation practices. These aromas include fruity, floral and spicy. 

Secondary aromas of wine 

These aromas come from the alcoholic fermentation process and the subsequent fermentation of the wine. These are the aromas of pre-fermentation and fermentation. These aromas depend on the type of yeast used, the temperature, the aeration or the conditions during the fermentation.  

Tertiary aromas of wine 

Tertiary aromas are those resulting from the ageing of wines in vats or oak barrels and their oxidation-reduction linked to a more or less controlled oxygenation in this container; but also the aromas resulting from the ageing of wines in bottles. 

The type of aging

The quality of the wood

The wine depends on the quality of the wood, but also on other factors, such as the size, whether it is new or used, the level of internal toasting and, of course, the length of time the wine remains in the container. Depending on the quality of the grape, its characteristics and, above all, the style of wine to be obtained, the oenologist must make the appropriate decisions regarding aging and the type of barrel required. It is obvious that a grape with a higher concentration and designed for a wine with a long evolution, will most certainly need new barrels. 

Bottle aging 

The maturation in the bottle also affects the aromas that can be perceived in a wine. In this type of wine that has spent a few years in the bottle, reducing aromas are normal shortly after uncorking.


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