Wine Tasting: The Difference Between Aroma & Bouquet

Posted May 17, 2019 in

One question we often hear in our tasting room at Chateau Grand Traverse is, “How can you tell the difference between a wine’s aroma and bouquet?”

Today we dive-in to this topic to share our CGT tips and tricks for how to spot the difference in the smells that make up a wine’s aroma and bouquet, to help you on your way to becoming an expert wine taster!

We invite you to grab a glass of wine and swirl, sniff and sip along!

Wine Aroma

The wine aroma comes from the variety of grape used in winemaking. It always contains natural fruit, floral or herbal smells derived directly from the grape and the local terroir.

Some common smells associated with wine aroma:

  • Fruit: strawberry, peach, blackberry, apricot, black currant
  • Floral: rose, violet, lavender, hibiscus
  • Herbal: mint, black pepper, thyme, fennel, eucalyptus

Here are examples of wine aromas you will find in some Chateau Grand Traverse wines:

Wine Bouquet

The wine bouquet develops during the fermentation process. This takes into account decisions made by the winemaker, including what type of barrel the wine is aged in.

Some common smells associated with wine bouquet:

  • sourdough bread
  • butter and buttermilk
  • beer and lager

As aging continues, different smells can develop in the wine bouquet after the original fermentation process. Based on influences such as barrel type and exposure to oxygen, here are some examples of further developed scents in wine bouquets:

  • hazelnut, walnut, almond
  • brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, butterscotch
  • clove, allspice, baking spices
  • smoke, dried tobacco

As mentioned above, the 2013 Merlot Reserve has black pepper and berry primary aromas. When you smell its bouquet, you will notice strong oak references due to it being aged for 26 months in a small oak barrel.

Let’s look at the 2016 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay as another great example of wine aroma and bouquet. The wine’s aromas are pear, melon and citrus. After the rich complexity of an 11-month aging process, vanilla and oak developed as the wine’s bouquet.

Pop (a wine cork) Quiz!

The only way to put this new knowledge to use is to visit us at Chateau Grand Traverse. Can you identify the aromas and bouquets in the wines in our tasting room? Our professional staff will see if you can pass the ultimate test. Stop in to swirl and sniff the wine aroma and bouquet. Let our team members help you take your next step to becoming an expert wine taster.

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