Nose and its subcategories


  1. primary aroma, these will vary according to terroir, the time of picking of the grapes and their level of ripeness
  2. secondary aroma, these aromas are induced by the winemaking process
  3. tertiary aromas, these aromas are due to bottle age For a detailed list of descriptors refer to the Aromas and Taste profile charts.


There are many off odours in wine, and some are caused by bad wine making, bad handling or bad storage. Off aromas include musty, mercaptan, mouldy, corked, fusel, baked, cooked, acetic acid, geranium, hydrogen sulphate, mousy, sauerkraut, rubbery, oxidized, goaty, medicinal, neutral, overripe, plastic, pomase, putrid, unripe, weedy.


Each grape has its own aroma characteristics and these should be reflected in the nose. If one is tasting a lineup of Riesling wines, those wines should possess a degree of varietal character, unless it has been totally overworked by the wine maker.

For a full discussion of the characteristics of each of the grape varieties refer to the section on Aroma and Taste profiles as well as the characteristics of each of the grape varieties.


  • indiscernible
  • frail
  • delicate
  • aromatic
  • perfumed
  • pronounced
  • strong
  • very strong
  • pungent
  • overpowering
  • volatile

When smelling a wine, three short sniffs are all that is required to gain an impression of the nose of the wine. The intensity of aromas will vary greatly depending on factors such as terroir, viticultural practices including watering regime, harvesting times, ripeness levels, cropping levels, types of yeast used, fermentation temperatures, fermentation techniques, and pre-fermentation treatment of grapes.