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Wine Aroma Wheel
Ashland Vineyards and Winery and SHAKESPEARE™ wine are pleased to provide you the UC-Davis Aroma Wheel.
Paying attention to color, aroma, flavor, and texture enhances the enjoyment of wine. As with every other pleasure in life, it's better when you share it with other people. To communicate such a personal experience as taste or smell, we need to talk. Most of us tend to have a limited vocabulary when it comes to discussing our senses. "This smells good," or "I don't like the taste of that," are about as descriptive as we get.
Aromas, particularly, are difficult. Try to describe the fragrance of a fresh peach without saying that it smells "like" something else. Read the backs of wine labels and periodical wine-review magazines. Many writers are downright poetic; some quite to-the-point. All will use analogy to describe aromas in wine.
The Aroma Wheel was developed at the University of California at Davis in the early Eighties as a standard used to describe wine in uniform, non-judgmental terms. It's organized from broad, general adjectives (fruity), to very precise, analogous nouns (grapefruit). The original layout is, indeed, a wheel. Here we have used a table since it's easier to read on the computer screen.
Some of the more specific terms are unusual: artichoke, plastic, horsy. Some are chemical: diacetyl, mercaptan, ethanol. Several are just plain funny: wet dog, sweaty, barnyard. (If this sounds too unpleasant to drink, think a little further. A gentle whiff of perfume is attractive. A department store cosmetics counter-full stinks!) A few of these terms are used to define real faults or defects in wine; most are just a guide for sensory analysis.
With practice and experience you'll use more descriptive terms which are not included here. Opulent, exotic, brambly, etc. etc. "This smells good" is perfectly valid as well!
Next time you pour a glass of wine, give your nose and your vocabulary a workout.
Wine Aroma Wheel
If you would like to purchase your own copy of the Wine Aroma Wheel, please
visit this site:
Or visit the UC Davis Bookstore to purchase a copy for $5 plus shipping & handling.
East Main Street, Ashland OR 97520