Aromatics of Floral Aromas in Wine
Have you ever watched a winemaker swirl and sniff the contents of a glass and then confidently declare something like, “I detect a bouquet of bruised apples” or “I notice some wilted gardenia flowers”? You may have thought, “wow, I could never do that” (Or, “wow, that person is pretentious!”). But, while identifying floral wine aromas can be a cool party trick, it’s also a practical skill that anyone can learn—there’s no secret sommelier magic involved. It’s easy to overthink wine aromas and feel pressure to give the “right” answer.
But good news: there are no right answers!
It’s not a hard science—what you smell as lemon, your friend might smell as lime; your apricot could be someone else’s nectarine. Sometimes, the characteristics in a wine can even come together to create an association that’s meaningful only to you, like the scent of a favorite childhood cookie recipe.
Wine tasting is intensely personal.
If you grew up on a farm outside Atlanta eating fresh peaches every day, you may be quite good at identifying the fragrance of peach. Genetic factors can also play a role in our varied abilities to recognize smells.
There is some science about how those scents end up in your wine glass, too. White wine can include many different categories of aromas that are naturally derived from the grapes alone—fruity, herbaceous, floral, vegetal, and more.
Each grape variety contains certain aroma compounds identical to those in other familiar plants and produce. That rose petal smell in your Gewürztraminer comes from a compound called geraniol, also found in—you guessed it—roses. And the zesty citrus scent in your Riesling? That could be from limonene, which shows up in the peels and lemons and limes.
EACH GRAPE VARIETY HAS ITS OWN SIGNATURE CHARACTERISTICS—
That’s how wine professionals are often able to identify them in blind tastings. Here are a few examples:
Chenin Blanc, commonly grown in France’s Loire Valley, often smells of tart apples, honeysuckle, chamomile, and even hay.
Melon de Bourgogne, from further west down the Loire River, is less fruit-centric and more mineral-driven, with notes of wet stone, salt, and citrus.
Austria’s signature Grüner Veltliner commonly has telltale white pepper and herbal notes—sometimes even asparagus—alongside lime, apple, and stone fruit aromas.
But any grape variety can pick up different nuances depending on where it’s grown or how it’s made.
Aromas can be introduced through winemaking techniques. Oak barrels can lend vanilla, spice, or toast notes, while malolactic fermentation converts the tart, fruity acid found in grapes to the softer, creamier acid found in dairy products (think buttery California Chardonnay). Aromas change as wines age—slow exposure to oxygen gives fresh fruit a cooked or dried character, and can add nutty or caramelized notes. Soil types and weather conditions can also influence wine aromas—grapes grown in limestone soils tend to show more mineral qualities; wines made in hot regions will have riper, more intense fruit character.
COMMON FLORAL WINE NOTES IN WINE
There are a number of different wines that incorporate floral aromas. Wines such as Chenin Blancs, Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, among others regularly use a bouquet of floral scents. Some of the most common types of flowers incorporated into wine are:
- Citrus Blossom
- White Flowers
OUR TOP 4 TIPS FOR IDENTIFYING FLORAL AROMAS IN WINE:
Practice Smelling! The common “gooseberry” characteristic of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is hard to identify unless you’ve smelled it before. We love going to the farmers’ market, the specialty spice shop, the florist. . . and smelling everything!
Use an Aroma Wheel: Check out the aroma wheel, a handy graphic developed at UC Davis. It can help you start with a broad scent category and narrow it down to the specific. Once you get the hang of tasting this way, it becomes easier.
Be Focused: Taste mindfully, and often. We love drinking wine, but sometimes it’s worth slowing down: swirl the glass for ten seconds to release the aromas, stick your nose inside, and take a deep, slow inhale. Think about the different smells you observe—starting with broad strokes—and slowly start to narrow it down to the best of your ability.
Keep Temperature in Mind. Make sure the wine is not too cold. When you taste it; serve lighter, unoaked white wines between 45 and 50 ̊ F, and richer or oakier whites slightly warmer, around 50 to 55 ̊ F. Ice-cold wines will release fewer aromatic compounds, making them difficult to smell.
Enjoy tasting, and finding your own wine-vocabulary!
Choosing Dry Farm Wines
There are a lot of options for wine out there, but not all are the same niche or quality. Dry Farm Wines has set itself apart from the competition by providing quality Natural Wines from around the world.
The team at Dry Farm Wines is dedicated to bringing quality, pure Natural Wines to wine-lovers everywhere. To do so, they have developed their own pure Natural Wine certification. They carefully pick wines from small farmers with the following characteristics:
- Dry Farming: All the vineyards sourced by Dry Farm Wines grow their vines without using irrigation. This provides healthier fruit for delicious wines.
- Handmade Wine: The wines customers receive from Dry Farm Wines come from a pool of over 600 farmers. These are small, family growers that avoid machinery.
- Low Alcohol Content: All the wines received by Dry Farm Wines are 12.5% Alc/Vol or lower. This is so everyone can enjoy the unique experience of wine without everything that comes with high-alcohol consumption.
- Sugar Free: Wine that is fully fermented naturally has little or no sugar due to the yeast eating the sugar. Dry Farm Wines contain under one gram per liter of sugar.
To ensure all these standards are adhered to, Dry Farm Wines independently lab tests the wines they choose to source. They also offer variety boxes so people can try new flavors and varietals. Then, their personalized concierge service will help them develop their tastes. It is time to become a wine club member! Join a community of wine enthusiasts at Dry Farm Wines today by choosing our wine membership.