Improving Your Wine Senses

Have you been out with friends and someone just seems to have the natural ability to name different aromas from a glass of wine? I’m not one of those fortunate people, and to be totally honest, I found myself envious of their abilities. If you struggle with picking out the aromas in wine, then you might find the Davis Wine Aroma Wheel helpful. A large part of our wine tasting experience comes from our sense of smell. Many factors contribute to the scents we find in wine. Some include: grapes used in the production, soils and terroir, and choices by the wine maker. The Davis Wine Aroma Wheel will help break down the scents in wine and train your nose to improve your senses.

Wines have primary and secondary qualities. Tasters will experience the primary aromas in young wines. The first scents are predominantly from the fruit. Reds include notes of blackberry, black cherry, grape and strawberry. White wines’ aromatics often express citrus, apple, pineapple and tropical fruits. Young wines will have chocolate, coffee or vanilla as well as oak, floral, stone, licorice and jam scents. Secondary qualities develop layers and complexity as wine ages. Some of those qualities you might find are truffle, earth, spice, tobacco, smoke and stone.

The Davis Wine Aroma Wheel is a visual tool that I have found to be helpful in identifying and narrowing down the scents of aromatic qualities and flavors. My favorite way to use the Davis Aroma Wheel is to start with opening a bottle of wine and pouring myself a glass. Swirl the wine, this process helps open up the wine to let it release the aromas. Take in a deep breath and look at the center of the wheel. Which of the categories represents what you smell? Is it earthy, fruity or spicy? Once you have decided, take another wiff. What you smell now will come from the sub category? Work through each category until you come to the outer ring of the wheel. Working through this process will train your nose and help you to clearly identify the aromas in the wine you enjoy.

Try out the Davis Aroma Wheel and let us know what you think and if you find it helpful.


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