Aroma and flavors in wine
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Pubdate 2022-09-09 in wine related

Aroma and flavors in wine

Aroma and flavors in wine
What a wine smells and tastes like depends on an incredible number of variables, which is why you should sample many and often, especially if wine is part of your profession!
The growth cycle of the wine year affect flavor and aroma, as does the actual vinification and storage. The soil also plays a role, as well as the age of the vines. However, there are character traits that are more or less always found in specific grapes; sometimes playing the lead role, at other times sneaking around in the background of a wine's aroma and flavor spectrum.
Let us take an example of an easily recognizable character trait! Blackcurrants are something that in one way or another always appear in Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Cabernet Sauvignon is the child of its father Cabernet Franc and mother Sauvignon Blanc, which is why the same basic character permeates all three. But since they are different grapes, on a detailed level the notes of blackcurrant are completely different in the three grapes and give rise to completely different expressions:
Aroma and flavors in wine
Foto Sauvignon Blanc av arinaphabich
- Sauvignon Blanc, which is a green grape, has a distinct green, herbal appearance, which is why the aroma of blackcurrant leaves is most prominent.

- Cabernet Franc, which is the slightly more mineral and acidic of the two blue grapes in our example, exhibits notes of freshly picked berries.

- Cabernet Sauvignon, which as you would expect from a progeny boasts a blend of character traits, exhibits a spectrum of more processed notes, such as blackcurrant marmalade, blackcurrant juice and French bon-bons; that is, a combination of acidity and sweetness.
But where DO the actual scents come from when we joyfully exclaim "green apples!", "sun-bathed strawberries!" or "freshly baked brioche!"? They are called esters, these molecules that so seductively tease the nose's scent receptors. Esters are, very simply put, a class of substances that result from an alcohol reacting with an acid. The most biologically common esters are fats, consisting of a trihydric alcohol, glycerol and three fatty acids, and many esters also have very distinctive smells. When the alcohol in the wine reacts with the wine's acids, various esters arise and thus smells or scents that our noses can perceive. For example, if it smells like green apple, it is simply because the same ester that defines "green apple" in the green apple is also found in the wine. A completely fascinating world, esters!
Aroma and flavors in wine
Foto Vinification av Erandon21200  CC
Depending on the exact acids and other substances present in the wine, and the proportions between them, a spectrum of different esters is formed. The vinification and the type of yeast that produces the alcohol itself also play a role. The mix of minerals the grape has soaked up during its life cycle as well as the number of hours of sunshine and the heat curve during the season affect the outcome, as the amount and type of sugar the grape produces depends precisely on the amount of sunshine and heat; and this in turn affects which esters appear in the wine. Are the grapes fully ripe, or are there traces of unripe grapes? Are they Botrytisized, dried out or poorly selected so that gray rot has tainted the yield? These factors also greatly affect the wine's taste, aroma and balance.
Aroma and flavors in wine
New oak significantly affects the wine, as approximately 90 % of the oak barrel's aromas and flavors are taken up by the wine the first time it is used. A barrel that is, on the other hand, 3-4 years old is largely inert, but as it still gives the wine it encases a micro-oxidation through its pores, it still affects the result both in terms of aroma and taste. It also matters if the wine is stored with or without its lees, and if the bunches are de-stemmed or whole.
In summation: pretty much every decision the wine grower and winemaker make during the wine's production cycle affects what we experience in our noses and on our palates - a not so insignificant responsibility!
Bruno Ohlzon
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