The wine taste chart presented here is a useful tool for your memory to identify aromas and flavours that are not always apparent at first sip of a glass of wine. These are almost always everyday aromas that we all know well, but cannot put a name to when tasting a wine, simply because we have thousands of them stored in our minds and it's not easy to instantly recognize them.
Have you ever experienced that a something familiar instantly leaped out of the glass as you lifted it to your nose? It was hauntingly familiar, yet you couldn't for the life of you tell what it was. This wine taste chart is useful in two ways.
Firstly, if you already have an idea of what sort of wine you would want to purchase in terms of aromas and flavours, if you know the category of flowers, fruits, spices, etc. that you prefer in a wine, you can easily look up the appropriate section in the list where you can find wine recommendations for your preference. Let's say you want a wine with a pithy apricot character, you look up apricot and see that what you're looking for is actually something out of the Loire Valley or maybe a German wine.
Secondly, if you have already purchased the wine just take the glass in one hand, swirl the wine, and take a sniff. If it is a flavour you are looking for, take a sip, and methodically run a finger down through the list of entries to find the flavour that jogs your memory.
Naturally, no wines actually contain fruits other than grapes, but interestingly enough it is quite reasonable to use the aromas and flavours of fruits, flowers, vegetables, herbs, spices etc. to describe a wine. The average Joe might rightly say it sounds fanciful to him to call a wine buttery, but actually diacetyl, an artificial flavouring used to make margarine smell and taste buttery, is produced in a natural way in wine as a by-product of the malolactic process. In full knowledge of this, Joe might change his mind and accept that his wine tastes rather buttery. There are, of course, a lot of other chemical compounds that wines contain in varying amounts creating a vast array of peculiar aromas or flavours.
To fully appreciate a wine, it is best, however, not to get carried away in the search for complex aromas and flavours. What makes a wine tasking experience far more enjoyable is if you concentrate on just one or two descriptors of the wine rather than recording a fruit cocktail of aromas and flavours. Elaborate descriptions of wine giving the impression of vile, complicated concoctions are no good, because they get lost in the details and take away the fun. And the fun is what we are after.
Floral aromas in wine
Floral aromas are mainly found in young white wines. They may be the major aromatic thrust of a modest wine or merely a component of finesse in a complex wine. Violet is the most significant floral aroma in red wine.
The flowery autolytic aroma on a recently disgorged sparkling wine, but it can also be found in other white wines (paratolylmethyl ketone).
In wines made from aromatic grape varieties, elderflower is good only if it is a clean and fresh aroma, and the fruit is ripe. With grapes unacceptably unripe grapes, this floral anomaly is horrible to taste.
A sweet wine fault (2-ethoxyhexa-3, 5-diene), but can also be the sign of a too old Asti (geraniol degradation). Always distinctive (glycyrrhizin or hexanedienol).
Commonly found with lime on Australian wines, Riesling, Muscat, or sparkling wines in particular. Occasionally found in German Riesling and even Vinho Verde.
Rose petals are be found in lots of wines, delicate Muscats and understated Gewürztraminers in particular (damascanone, diacetyl, geraniol, irone, nerol, or phenylethylic acid).
Often found as part of the finesse on the finish of Cabernet-based red wines, such as Bordeaux, especially from Graves. Possibly more tactile-based than a volatile aroma.
Fruity flavours and aromas in wine
Fruitiness suggests riper grapes and more bottle-age than floral aromas, which themselves often evolve into fruity characters. Fruitiness is enhanced by sweetness and acidity.