The purpose of each of the charts below is to link the chemical causes of distinctive wine aromas to the potential descriptions we can use to describe these elements. Each class of aromatic compound is explained in more detail in our Science of Tasting Expanded Guide.
Special thanks to Madeline Puckette from Winefolly.com for working with us on these graphics.
Fruit, flower, and herb:
Earthy aromas are perhaps the most complex to define in origin. They can be the result of microbial activity (often described as organic earth) as well as complex reduced sulfur compounds (often described as inorganic or mineral). It was once assumed that earthy flavors made their way from the soil through the grapevine into the grape but modern science gives us a different—yet admittedly complex—picture.
The spice of wine can come from both varietal fruit character as well as the influence of winemaking and oak aging. Distinguishing between the two can be an important factor in blind tasting.
The charts and subsequent notes presented here do not represent an endpoint, but rather an ongoing dialogue. They are by no means exhaustive and we can imagine more charts in the future linking other classes of compounds to potential descriptions. This dialogue and our understanding thereof will continue to improve, and sommeliers can become better professionals if we expanded upon both the poetry and prose of wine-tasting.
Love this! Thank you.
Fantastic tool that used in pair with the most recent podcast wth UC Davis professor on Wine chemistry and aromas, definitely will help us to become better at tasting and therefore service. Thank You!
Great tool. Thank you. I struggle with poetry anyway, so this is perfect
I'm excited to utilize this tool. A group of us are at the beginning of our deductive wine tasting education and have been discussing approaching our lessons as building blocks. This will be very useful. Thank you.