If you love wine, you must have read innumerable descriptions like this one:

“Distinct notes of rose, vanilla, spices and herbs…”

Just as you must have gone to a tasting and heard the sommelier, his nose poised above the glass, describe the sensations evoked by the wine as he picked out individual perfumes and nuances, often related to ordinary everyday smells that were advance indicators of the taste of the wine.

Tasting wine is a real art–not only does it involve our senses but it can take us well beyond into a more emotional sphere.
Here we can experience a perfect melding of sensory perception, feelings and our own memories elicited by these perfumes and flavours.

What are the various analyses used to identify the sensations evoked by each wine?

One of the most important steps in tasting a wine is the olfactory analysis, through which we identify perfumes and nuances in each wine and evaluate the intensity and quality of these.

How do we understand the characteristics of a particular wine and identify its aromas?

To recognise the aromas of a particular wine we have to reawaken that most enigmatic of our senses, the sense of smell; we say reawaken, because nowadays we pay little attention to odours around us and our sense of smell is overwhelmed by more explicit feedback from the sense of sight.

So lots of practice, along with curiosity are needed to build a personal compendium of aromas, to use during each tasting, to connect familiar odours with specific aromas in the each type of wine.

This could seem really complicated and maybe even too professional an approach but in reality, if you love wine give it a try. Build a memory of aromas of your own and you’ll see that with time, you will gain more awareness and satisfaction.

aromi dei vini riconoscere degustare

Where do the flavours of wine come from? What’s behind the intrinsic aroma of grapes?

The secret is in the aromatic compounds found in wine.
There are three groups: primary, secondary and tertiary, which unite harmoniously with the terroir of the grape variety and the vinification and ageing techniques to give a characteristic aroma to each wine.

More than 220 aromatic compounds have been identified as contributing to the perfume of wine. These can be divided into four macro-groups, as we will show you here:

Fruit aromas

These are the most easily recognised aromas of wine, perceived even by a tyro nose; among the various fruits we can list blackberry, blueberry and black currant, red berries such as strawberry, raspberry, red currant and cherry, citrus fruits such as lemon, orange and grapefruit, fruits with yellow flesh like peach and apricot, and white-fleshed fruit such as apple, pear and dried fruit.

These fruit aromas are typical of younger wines and are found mostly in white, red, rosé and passito wines. An example?
Distinct notes of black currant in Barbera d’Alba DOC, dried fruit and raspberry in Langhe DOC Nebbiolo, peach and apricot in Moscato d’Asti DOCG. .

Spice and wood aromas

These are deeper and more intense notes, among the most fascinating to be found in wine. On the nose, these are perceived as sweet spices like cinnamon, vanilla and liquorice or zesty, more penetrating spices, such as pepper, clove and nutmeg as well as perfumes of coffee, cocoa and tobacco.

These aromas are often found in wines aged in barrels, for example: vanilla, liquorice, tobacco and cinnamon in Barolo DOCG, spices and cocoa in Barolo DOCG Persiera.

Flowers aromas

A smelling nuance that is almost always present in wines, during the tasting it is possible to recognize the scent of flowers such as jasmine, orange blossom, rose, peony, lavender, but also fragrances to teas such as chamomile, linden, hawthorn, honey and wax.

Delicate elderflower notes present in Nebbiolo d’Alba DOC Spumante Rosé evoke the perfume of spring meadows.

Other aromas

Other aromas that can be identified in wine are the mineral aromas such as rocks and metals and earthy aromas such as mushroom, truffle damp earth, hay and freshly-cut grass.
An example of this is Langhe DOC Rossese Bianco which evokes herbaceous notes.


Stimulate so you can recognise

The subject of wine tasting has always fascinated, and for this reason the plethora of courses and events to refine our sense of smell have arisen.
On all these occasions we are challenged to recognise odours, stimulate our senses and exercise our aroma memories.

For example, we’d like to remind you of the event organised by Josetta Saffirio one Valentine’s Day, where young couples seemed even more in love after a trying to identify the perfumes in wine during a blindfolded tasting.
It was a a delightful game to repeat on other occasions and an excellent way to train the sense of smell.

Science maintains that our noses are capable of recognising 10,000 aromas, but that in fact we are hard-pressed to recognise a hundred.

It goes without saying that to know and distinguish the aromas of wine, we need to train and develop this capacity, creating a sensory memory through awareness and the desire to discover the odours that surround us.

Perfumes of flowers, fruit, spices, aromatic herbs…each nuance that we are able to recognise during a tasting will give us different sensations.
The secret? Taste, taste some more and then let your imagination go…