Wine Words Demystified: Bouquet

You know the deal; the more some folks learn about a topic, the more shortcuts/slang/acronyms/initials/technical jargon can be tossed around.  I’m here to help you understand those sometimes mysterious words and phrases, thus – Wine Words Demystified!

This week’s word is Bouquet…

According to Karen MacNeil‘s The Wine Bible:

Technically, bouquet refers specifically to the aspects of a wine’s scent derived from the winemaking processes and BOTTLE AGING

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The above definition differentiates between bouquet, and aromas (with bouquet being the smells that result from both fermentation process and aging).  This is one of those areas where wine lovers can be perceived to be snobby if they get persnickety when it comes to differentiating between the two.  My advice?  Unless you’re a professional taster, fuhgeddaboudit!  Just refer to what you smell as aromas.

But if you care enough to get it technically right, then here’s what you need to know about what your smell when you stick you nose in a glass of wine. The primary aromas of a wine are from the grapes.  They are distinct by variety and are typically fruity and floral in nature.  Then there are secondary aromas, caused by fermentation,  oak and bottle aging.  The secondary aromas are the bouquet.  Secondary aromas include fig, vanilla, cloves, yeast, walnut, hazelnut, leather, licorice, etc.

 The list of perceived smells is endless, but you can improve your ability to describe the aromas you smell in a wine.  I found this post from Norcal Wine entitled “You CAN be a Good Taster” informative and helpful.  One of the key takeaways from the article for me is taste and smell a lot of things.  By doing so, you can expand your “vocabulary” of aromas.