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《Wines of the World》Rating a Wine based on Aroma (2)

Continuing with where we left off last time, let’s use our imagination this time to explore the different aromas present in a wine.

When you put the glass between your nose and mouth, you can smell a rich and complex range of aromas, but how do you describe them?

We can categorise the aromas into four types: fruity, floral, woody, and other obvious scents you can recognise. Jog down the different layers of aromas noted and gradually, you will be able to recognise a wider range of aromas.

Fruity Aroma


Fruity aroma is the most obvious and easily identifiable. Generally, both red and white wines carry a fruity aroma. In red wines, the berry aromas can usually be easily recognised and we can separate them into two categories: red berries and black berries.

Black berries refer to sweet black fruits like blackberry, black currant, blueberry and plum, all of which give out a sweet scent.

Red berries carry a certain level of acidity, the few that can be distinguish easily are raspberry, cranberry, cherry.


As for white wines, the fruity aroma is more varying and you can probably estimate a wine’s acidity just by its aroma. Sweet wines have a sweet and fruity aroma like peach, melon, pineapple, pear, lychee. As for white wines with a hint of sourness, it will smell like grapefruit, guava, green apple or lemon /lime, generally with a more refreshing and sharp scent.

Floral Aroma

Swirl the wine a little bit and let the floral aroma come out and become more evident.

What you will smell first is blossom, then use your imagination or compare to the tasting notes. Different grape varieties usually carry a unique and distinctive floral aroma.



For example, Cabernet Sauvignon smells like violet and Shiraz (aka Syrah) an obvious aroma of liquorice. Sweet white wines will have a scent of jasmine, and Sauvignon Blanc a guava aroma accompanied by a hint of grass.

When paying closer attention, you can smell the faint aroma of herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or mint.

The floral and fruity aromas of good wines are always structured, so the better the wine, the more aromas it carries and with more variants.

Both the fruity and floral aromas come from the grape variety. Next time, I'll talk about aroma from oak aging and other recognisable scents.

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