• Home

High 100 Aromas in Wine – A to Z

A Checklist of the 100 Most-Widespread Aromas & Flavors in All Sorts of Wine.

“Wine Gathers all of the Scents of Nature”

Don’t ask me who wrote this wine quote, I’ve simply give you it!

However in the event you take a look at the attractive chart above, by Burgundy producer Bouchard Ainé & Filsaprico, and in the event you’ve ever heard a wine connoisseur speaking about wine, you is perhaps beginning to be consider it’s true.

Wine gathers aromas which can be related —if not equivalent— of their chemical composition to these present in just about any number of fruit, but in addition nuts, herbs, spices, and even dairy merchandise, bakes, mineral or animal typically!

Word: In case you are extra particularly excited about wine faults, I like to recommend you head over to our information to the High 6 Wine Faults: Their Causes & The right way to Establish them.

That is, for a big half, why many wine lovers, winos and amateurs suppose wine is among the best and most-interesting meals on the market! —and sure, I’m considered one of them. Sure too, wine IS meals, and it’s a Frenchman speaking! —.

Tasting and smelling a wide range of totally different wine types and grape varieties, one might be reminded of various components, fruits or greens, grilled or roasted meats, muffins and jams, dishes like curry, and extra. That is additionally a part of the explanation why wine pairs so effectively with meals.

So, earlier than we get to the checklist of the most typical aromas present in wine (scroll somewhat additional down in the event you’re after the High 100 checklist), let’s have a fast take a look at how the aroma of wine is shaped.

How Can Wine Scent like Fruits… and different issues?

In different phrases, the place does wine get its aroma from?

Briefly, there are Three kinds of aromas in wine, with Three distinct origins:

1- Main Aromas

That is the time period used to explain the smells and flavors that come from the fruit itself, from the grapes (versus the winemaking).

Completely different grape varieties (resembling Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay) have intrinsically totally different aromas. If you happen to have been to style the grape berries in a winery, you’d discover scents that may remind of different crops. Pink grapes are likely to exhibit aromas of crimson fruit resembling berries, white grapes typically show herbaceous tones, citrus, tropical or stonefruit characters.

Relying on the local weather and the soil, whether or not it’s a cool local weather or a hotter one, the first aroma profile can fluctuate enormously too.

Many producers attempt to protect the integrity of major aromas of their wine by cautious winemaking strategies resembling avoiding oxidation or utilizing gravity. But fermentation brings further layers of secondary flavors, as follows.

2- Secondary aromas

These describe the smells acquired by the wine due to the winemaking course of.

The pure flavors current within the grapes (major aromas) mix and work together with the yeasts and micro organism that run the fermentation to create additional fragrant complexity.

The alcoholic fermentation run by yeasts and reworking sugar into alcohol creates fruity fragrant compounds referred to as esters bringing notes of pear, apricot, or peach.

The malolactic fermentation that follows, famously brings in notes of dairy merchandise, cream, butter, and/or yogurt.

Moreover, when a wine is fermented and/or aged in oak barrels, it acquires aromas of smoke, toast, vanilla, and candy spices.

Three- Tertiary aromas

They’re developed within the bottle with age, because the wine’s molecules work together with one another and with oxygen, altering their fragrant profile.

Tertiary aromas are additionally referred to as bouquet, or evolution bouquet as a result of they’re acquired slowly over time because the wine matures in bottle.

So, in the event you’ve been questioning:

“What’s the distinction between the aroma and the bouquet of a wine?”

That is your reply. The aroma of a wine is the whole lot of its fragrant profile (every part it smells like), whereas the bouquet is the particular a part of a wine’s scent that it developed after it was bottled.

The bouquet does originate neither from the grapes themselves, nor from the winemaking course of, however from the pure chemical evolution of wine, from the interactions between molecules going down within the bottle.

Typical tertiary aromas (or bouquet scents) are these of leather-based, truffle, some spices resembling clove, nutmeg, or fennel, forest ground, wooden ashes or grilled meats.

That are the Most Widespread Aromas in Wine?

The 100 Most-Widespread Aromas in Wine, Ordered Alphabetically:


The aroma of almond in wine is a part of the nut/nutty household, that typically originates from the winemaking course of wither the ageing on lees or from contact with oak. It is not uncommon in barrel fermented white wines resembling Chardonnays, or Méthode Traditionnelle sparklings resembling Champagne wine.

The almond aroma or taste can be generally described in wine as Marzipan. It’s utilized in typical tasting notes for wines constructed from Marsanne from the Rhône valley in France (which is mostly blended with Roussanne and Viognier).


A candy and delicate vegetal character, barely floral at that.

If you happen to’ve ever smelt the leaves of an acacia tree, you’d have discovered a mellowed scent of honey mixed with a touch of grassiness. The acacia aroma will also be skilled in acacia honey which has a very floral and barely minty edge.


Star anise or Pastis liqueur are widespread descriptors for fragrant white wines, particularly these of the natural and grassy sort resembling Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling.

Star anise aromas are additionally current in spicy oaked crimson wines, resembling Primitivo in Southern Italy (e.g. Manduria) or its American cousin grape Zinfandel from California, in addition to in Shirazes from Australia just like the Barossa Valley.

Apple (Pink or Inexperienced)

An apple aroma is usually present in fruity white grape varieties resembling Chenin Blanc, Pinot Gris, Grenache Blanc, Vermentino and plenty of others. When the apple scent is perceived as primarily fruity, it’s typically described as ‘crimson apple’.

Inexperienced apple comes by in drier extra mineral types of white wines. It’s also a personality related to wines in an oxidative model resembling Fino sherries (e.g. Tio Pepe), some barrel aged whites and a few oak-aged Blanc de Blancs Champagnes.


A major fruit character current in lots of white wines, particularly these constructed from grapes which can be wealthy in terpenes resembling Muscats or Gewurztraminer.

White wines from heat climates typically characteristic stonefruit characters resembling apricot (and/or peach). You’ll fairly often discover this descriptor related to wines from the Rhone Valley primarily based on the Viognier grape.

Ashes (Wooden Ashes)

The scent of ashes and/or wooden ashes is related to a mineral notion present in oak-aged and matured wines, notably crimson wines. The smoky aspect supplied by the ageing in barrel, when some crimson wine mature turns into a particular savory, barely austere ashy edge.

A typical instance is discovered with outdated Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines from the Médoc space of the Bordeaux area.


A quite common secondary aroma, banana comes from an ester molecule produced throughout the alcoholic fermentation referred to as isoamyl acetate.

It’s generally present in younger wines which can be launched quickly after harvest and fermentation, resembling Beaujolais Nouveau and different Primeur wines.

The identical molecule produced by yeasts throughout fermentation, particularly at low temperature additionally provides some banana aromas to some beers.


Floral and barely spicy citrus character, typical of some white grape varieties resembling Muscats (Alexandria, Petit Grains, Bianco or Giallo) and different terpene-rich grapes (Gewurztraminer, Riesling).

For what it smells like, consider a bergamot tea or Earl Gray.

The same aroma descriptor often-used can be Kumquat.


The scent of biscuit in wine comes from the mix of a toasty character originating from a contact with oak, and the buttery aspect acquired by an ageing on lees (e.g. lees-stirring).

A biscuity profile might be usually present in oak-aged Chardonnays and glowing wines resembling Status Cuvée Champagnes.


Blackberry is a typical aroma of ripe and wealthy crimson wines produced in heat climates.

It comes by fruity crimson wines constructed from darkish candy crimson grapes from many alternative grape varieties, Syrah, Zinfandel, Grenache, Argentina Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and plenty of extra.

Blackcurrant (Cassis or Blackcurrant Bud)

Very like blackberry (simply above), the aroma of Blackcurrant is discovered in lots of wealthy crimson wines from around the globe.

Blackcurrant nevertheless, is a really distinctive trait related to the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. Strive a Chilean Cabernet for an examplified model. I’ve additionally discovered that the wines from the Faugères AOP have a very pungent scent of cassis.

Cassis bud is an aroma each fruity and grassy given by molecules referred to as methoxy-pyrazines (see additionally the capsicum entry) typical of each Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.


A fragile and aromatic crimson berry aroma, discovered in lots of crimson wines and particularly cool local weather ones (e.g. Pinot Noir, Gamay, Barbera).

As described above (blackberry and blackcurrant), reds from hotter climates are likely to exhibit berry notes of darker and riper berries than the acidic recent blueberry.

Additionally, you will usually discover notes of blueberry in rosé wines, and you may additionally determine it in some white wines constructed from crimson grapes (Blanc de Noirs).


The aroma of recent brioche is aquired by wine throughout and after fermentation, notably throughout the ageing on lees of white wines in barrel or in tank.

The breakdown of yeast cells after fermentation —a course of scientifically referred to as autolysis— liberates a mix of buttery and yeasty notes (the well-known French Brioche bun is basically a buttery yeast bread), particularly when in touch with oak whose nutty and caramely tones amplify it.

Brioche is quite common and typical of oak-aged Chardonnay wines, but in addition in glowing wines made utilizing the Conventional Methodology resembling French Crémants (e.g. Crémants de Bordeaux, Crémants de Bourgogne, or Crémants d’Alsace) and oak-rich Champagne.


Like boxwood, broom is a plant with a vegetal/natural character typical of the expression of Sauvignon Blanc particularly in Bordeaux and New Zealand.

Candied Fruit

A descriptor discovered and utilized in ripe wines constructed from richly candy grapes in hotter climates like some dessert wines, Australian Shiraz, California Zinfandel.

This descriptor is especially versatile, as just about any fruit might be candied (berries, tropical fruits, stonefruit). It may possibly subsequently be used for a wide range of aromas each time a wine smells each fruity and notably candy and nearly caramelized.

Capsicum (a.ok.a. bell pepper, crimson or inexperienced)

Capsicum or bell pepper aroma originates from a household of herbaceous compounds widespread among the many vegetal world referred to as pyrazines (additionally present in tomatoes or potatoes to call only a few greens that include them).

A type of pyrazine (methoxypyrazine is its title) is discovered on the skins of grapes earlier than they attain full maturity, Pyrazines are subsequently typically thought-about a marker of ripeness of grapes, particularly crimson grapes and winemakers attempt to let grapes ripen till the extent of pyrazines has reached an undetectable degree (particularly on Merlot which might include excessive ranges of inexperienced capsicum character on unapropriate terroir).

Nonetheless, bell pepper notes type a typical and anticipated a part of the fragrant profile of sure grape varieties resembling Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition they play an essential position within the typical grassy notes we take pleasure in in crisp white wines resembling Sauvignon Blanc.

Capsicum aroma come both because the clearly-vegetal characteristic given by notes of inexperienced capsicum, or the fruitier and fewer distinctive crimson capsicum.


Caramel aroma is most-often discovered in wines marked by the toasty character of oak. You’ll hear in tasting notes references to blond caramel —as in evenly coloured and gentle caramel— or its reverse model: smoky/nearly-burnt caramel.

However the commonest part within the aroma of the Merlot grape, referred to as furaneol, additionally has a particular scent of caramel at excessive focus when the grape are very ripe (the molecule smells like ripe cherry in any other case).

Cedar Wooden

Cherry (Darkish Cherry, Morello, Griotte)

Chili Pepper

Chocolate (Cocoa)

A noticeable and essential part of wines aged in oak barrels.

Usually mixed with vanilla, caramel, or espresso, chocolate or cocoa are a part of the torrefaction smells household. They add a way of sweetness, darkness and depth to wines.

The time period chocolate can be used for wines which can be extra sweet-smelling/tasting, whereas darkish chocolate or cocoa typically describe extra profound, savorer, and extra bitter wines.

Whereas we’re solely speaking about pure wine flavors right here, it’s attention-grabbing to notice that some wines are infused with chocolate flavors.

Different naturally characteristic such intense chocolate notes that they use it of their wine names and advertising and marketing like South Africa’s Darlings Cellars Chocoholic Pinotage.


Eugenol is a molecule present in toasted oak —and subsequently in oak barrels— and that’s additionally the principle aroma compound present in cloves.

This secondary character is subsequently infused into the wine throughout the barrel maturation however is barely perceived strongly when mixed with the first notes of sure grape varieties, resembling Pinot Noir or Merlot.


Cinnamon is a pungent candy spice, typically present in oak-aged wines, particularly outdated wealthy aged wines resembling Portuguese Ports, Banyuls, or Maury.

You may additionally sometimes discover it in different ripe high-alcohol reds.

Coconut (Bourbon Whiskey)

Aroma of coconut are infused in wine by ageing in American oak barrels.

The White Oak species (Quercus Alba) originating from Northern America is certainly a lot richer in a compound referred to as whisky lactone than European oak tress (these typically referred to as French oak resembling Quercus robur and Quercus petrae), giving wines and plenty of spirits an aroma/taste of coconut.

American Bourbon Whiskey can be aged in American oak casks which is why it displays these highly effective coconut scents you may additionally discover in California wines or these from Rioja.


Espresso is an aroma of torrefaction typically related to the contact of wine with oak (ageing in oak barrel or in oak vat).

Closely-toasted oak, American oak specifically, imparts darkish toasted scents resembling espresso, caramel, or darkish cocoa.

Eucalyptus (gumtree)

Lifted aromas much like these of mint, with a particular edge reminding of the everyday Australian bush’s gumtrees.

These are present in wines outdoors of Australia too, resembling in some California Zinfandels, however additionally, you will usually discover them in Aussie wines made type vineyards which can be, most of the time, surrounded by Eucalyptus timber.


Earthy and barely vegetal character, present in aged wines, notably reds. See the ‘forest ground entry’ under.


An fragrant part in between spicy and vegetal character. The scent is near the one described as star anise, however with a brisker, mintier and extra lifted grassy edge.

Fennel is certainly a bulbous vegetable with a recent barely bitter style, additionally generally discovered throughout the Mediterranean Sea in Southern Europe and Northern Africa and the Center East.

Fennel is present in dry and barely grassy white wines resembling these constructed from Verdejo in Spain (Rueda), the Rolle-based (Vermentino) wines of Provence and Italy and a few Chardonnay-based Champagnes.

In reds, fennel might come by the fragrant profile in Sicilian Etna Rosso wines, (Nerello Mascalese), some Nebbiolos (Barbaresco and Barolo), Rhone Syrah, or Gamay Beaujolais.


Being a wealthy and ripe fruit, fig most frequently is available in wines from hotter climates constructed from generously ripe fruits, in each reds and whites.

Contemporary fig’ is the descriptor used when the aroma stays recent and fruity. Whereas ‘dried fig’ comes by in many wealthy and candy dessert wines, resembling Sauternes wines, Ports, Pedro Ximenez Sherry, or Fortified Muscats.

Flint (Silex)

A mineral character present in dry types of wines.

The aroma comes by extra clearly in white wines however might be perceived in dry reds as effectively. It’s generally related stwith wines from grapes grown on pour limestone or stony soils such because the Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre or Pouilly.

Flint will also be related to a light-weight discount in wines which have been vinified with little or no contact with oxygen. Whereas a touch of flinty discount might be appreciated in wine for offering a way of minerality, if the reductive character is simply too pronounced, edging on cabbage or garlic, it’s thought-about a fault.

For the background, Silex is type of floor stone, an almost pure type of silica or silicate, additionally referred to as flint.

Forrest Ground (Undergrowth)

If you happen to style with French individuals any aged wine, you’ll at all times hear them speak about a ‘sous-bois’ character, which interprets into forest ground.

Widespread associated descriptors in English embody mushroom, earth, humus, or earthy. These fragrant characters are present in aged wines which have developed a bouquet with evolution in bottle.

Earthy aromas may be associated to the presence of a molecule referred to as Geosmin on the grapes throughout harvest, if the bunches have been affected by the Botrytis fungus. It was a typical fault in Sauternes wines. However fashionable winemakers are notably cautious and are actually efficient at avoiding it.


An animal character acquired by wines by ageing in bottle, a part of the bouquet. Think about the scent of a furry animal resembling a bear (don’t get too shut of 1 to search out out what they scent like) or a goat.

It could possibly be a adverse attribute as a dominant observe and even be certified as a fault in wine, however as a part of a fancy evolution bouquet, the fur aroma can add depth.


Grapefruit is clearly a part of the citrus major fruit characters.

Its aroma could be very usually present in Sauvignon Blanc wines resembling these of Bordeaux wines, Chile or New Zealand. So far as white wines, additionally, you will generally discover a grapefruit character in Riesling.

Many dry rosé wines, these that aren’t overly candy and fruity like in Provence, France, overtly exhibit this character too.

Cool local weather Pinot Noirs (Burgundy, Germany, New Zealand, Russian River and Carneros, or Champagne Blanc de Noirs) typically characteristic notes of pink grapefruit.

Enjoyable Reality: I might argue that the aroma of grapefruit is in reality, and usually talking, a really welcome and nice companion to wine, therefore its widespread use for making sangria, and its success as an additive for making rosé-flavored wines (referred to as rosé pamplemousse in French, vastly in style in France).


As in freshly-cut grass. This character can remind of a spring meadow and seem fairly floral. Or, it actually can scent like a lawnmower after the job. Tomato leaf is a associated aroma.

They’re each widespread in some crisp and acidic white wines resembling Sauvignon Blanc or Portugal’s vinho verde.


Honey (Mead)



Within the wine descriptors vocabulary, the juniper observe is classed as a botanical and/or natural character (like thyme, rosemary, lemongrass, sage or basil).

The aroma come from a pure greenness and spiciness originating from the grapes themselves in wines that aren’t overly ripe and opulent. The scent might be amplified by the spiciness supplied by an ageing in oak.

You’ll usually discover juniper in Syrah wines resembling these of Northern Rhone, Sonoma County or New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay. Some Nebbiolo wines from Piedmont, Italy might characteristic it, as effectively Portugal’s Douro Valley reds.

Kerosene (Petrol)

Kirsch Liqueur

Kiwi Fruit

Lemon: lemon liqueur (limoncello)

Linden Tea

A refined and delicate floral and barely vegetal aroma, mostly present in gently flavored white wines resembling Soave (Garganega), Roussanne, or Vermentino.



Olive (black or inexperienced)

Ardour Fruit

A part of the tropical fruit household of aromas, ardour fruit is a major character primarily present in ripe white grape varieties.

It is extremely typical and pungently smelt in Sauvignon Blanc wines, notably from New Zealand, however will also be detected as a part of Chardonnay or Riesling.

Pepper (black, white, or inexperienced)

Pine (pine needles or pine resin)


Raisin (dried grapes, sultanas)


Rose petal


Scrubland (Garrigue)


Smoke/Smoky aroma is mostly attributable to the wine being in touch with oak throughout the maturation barrel (secondary aroma). Sometimes, it might be thought-about coming from the grapes themselves when grown on darkish volcanic soils such because the Sicilian wines grown on the Etna volcano.

Spices (blended)


Sweets (Lollies)

Toasted Bread (Toast)


Wax (Beeswax)

Very like walnut, wax is an fragrant trait acquired and notably current in aged white wines.

If you happen to discover a waxy character in a comparatively younger white, it might have been affected by untimely oxidation. However it’s a widespread part of the bouquet of developed white wines or of any wine submitted to oxidation over time (Sherry, an aged Hunter Valley Riesling, outdated Burgundy Chardonnay, and so on.).

The time period beeswax signifies a extra floral, and arguably extra pleasurable waxy aroma in a wine that may mix in harmoniously within the advanced nutty and spicy profile of a mature white wine or an aged Champagne.

Different random comparatively commonly-used descriptors for wine aromas embody:

macadamia nut, cola nut, elderflower, verveine tea, lemon grass, papaya, whipped cream, parsley, sweet floss, boysenberry, oregano, coriander (seeds and leaves), sweat, moist stone, turpentine, curry, pawpaw, guava, agave, and plenty of extra…

If I’ve missed any wine aroma you suppose is essential (and never too snobby or esoteric) please let me and our group know within the feedback part under.

Study extra and browse our grape fragrant profile by grape selection (cépage) under:

Infographics & Information to Pinot Noir Wine Grape Selection

Infographics & Information to Cabernet Sauvignon Wine Grape Selection

Infographics & Information to Chardonnay Wine Grape Selection

Infographics & Information to Sauvignon Blanc Wine Grape Selection

Infographics & Information to Syrah Wine Grape Selection

All infographics and all graphics on this submit are curtesy and the unique copyright of Burgundy vineyard Bouchard Ainé & Fils.

You should buy the featured wine aromas poster on their e-shop web site.

To study extra about wine aromas, you’ll be able to expertise remoted notes with attention-grabbing wine tasting kits on Amazon (click on picture under to see all associated merchandise there).

Alternatively, try an incredible 88 Wine Aromas Grasp Wine Aromas Tasting Equipment under.

Leave a Reply