skip to main content

what is a wines noseYou may be familiar with a term used frequently in the wine world, particularly while tasting wine. It's referred to as the "nose" of wine. When someone asks, "How's the nose on that wine?" they are not referring to a physical nose, but rather to the aromas and smells that come from the wine.

In general, the "aroma" or "nose of a wine is the scent of the wine in the glass. The aroma can be floral, citrus, fruity, earthy, or any number of unique scents depending on the grape variety used, the winemaking process implemented, and the wine's storage conditions.

When it comes to wine, the nose is crucial in both tasting and smelling. The human nose can detect thousands of different scents. Our olfactory abilities enable us to detect a wide range of flavors in a single sip. The tongue is then confined to sensing salty, sweet, bitter, and sour flavors. To fully taste a wine, you must use your nose to detect flavor smells and your tongue to discern flavors and textures.

How to Smell Your Wine

For ten seconds, vigorously spin the wine glass to get the biggest whiff of the wine's aroma. This allows the alcohol to evaporate and brings the wine's natural aromas to your nose.

Stick your nose into the glass and inhale once the wine has been swirled. What are the first scents that come to mind? Do you smell red or white fruits, orchard fruit or berries, or tropical notes? Keep these scents in mind and see if they reappear on the flavor profile or develop into new flavors on the palate.

The Importance of Fermentation

The fermentation process creates a wine's secondary aromas and may be subtly or significantly influenced by the winemaker's choices. During fermentation, the grape's natural sugars are turned into alcohol. The key ingredient in fermentation is yeast, which is a factor in a wine's aroma. 

When wine is stored in an oak barrel, the flavors are enhanced by the "toasting" process, in which the open-ended barrel is placed over a flame and heated to the point of either a light roasting or complete charring of the wood. Winemakers order their oak barrels to be either light, medium or heavy “toast” in order to get just the right flavors for their wines.

Aging the Wine

If a wine has undergone some sort of aging process, the tertiary aromas will start to develop. The longer and more extensive the aging, the more these tertiary scents influence a wine’s aromatics. These often include oxidative characteristics like coffee, caramel, toffee, and cocoa, as well as earthy undertones. 

When a wine is aged in a toasted oak barrel, it may develop sweet aromas such as vanilla, brown sugar, and butterscotch. And a heavily toasted oak barrel can even introduce aromas of smoke, tobacco, cigar, and dried leaves.

Metro Wines at 169 Charlotte Street is the best option for all your wine needs in the Asheville region. We offer a wide selection of wines, and our expert staff and sommeliers will help you find that perfect bottle, or case, for any and all occasions. For all your wine needs, visit our brick-and-mortar store, or browse through our online catalog. Feel free to have our wine delivered right to your door!