To most, a bouquet is an arrangement of things: mainly of flowers or herbs. It’s often an arrangement of cut flowers or dry herbs used for cooking; bouquet garnis. However, the word bouquet, which is very important in wine is used in a different sense.
There are two words used to describe the pleasant smells of wine; aroma and bouquet. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the meaning of aroma as a distinctive, pervasive, and usually pleasant or savory smell. Therefore, bad or very unpleasant smells, which are faults, are not called aromas. Generally, today, the words bouquet and aroma are used interchangeably. There are some who make a subtle distinction referring to bouquet as primary smells deriving from grapes and from the winemaking processes, and aromas as smells developing in the wines over time or vice versa!. For this reason, we will use the words aroma and bouquet interchangeably.
Broadly, the bouquets or aromas of wines are classified into three categories:
The first are the primary aromas, those aromas deriving from the grapes. Primary aromas are mainly fruity or vegetal, basically those aromas of apricot, guava, apple, citrus, cherry, black currant, gooseberry, strawberry, green grass, tomato leaf, capsicum etc.
The second are the secondary aromas, those aromas deriving from winemaking processes; fermentation in stainless steel tanks or oak vats. Secondary aromas are those of butter, chocolate, vanilla, smoke, coconut, etc.
The third are the tertiary aromas, those aromas deriving from the aging wine: plum, nut, earth, mushroom, etc. Aging includes barrel aging in the winemaking process and bottle aging at the winery cellar or in the consumers’; cellars.
These categories are not rigid and may overlap.
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Selected by Peter Koff MW
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