What is the aroma and which can we perceive in wine?
In our body we perceive and smell through the smelling area, which is in the upper part of the nose and is communicated by the mouth.Therefore, we can say that we have two ways to reach the olfactory region, externally through the nose or internally through our retronasal.
When we refer to those sensations of a wine that we are perceiving both with the mouth and with the smell, we are talking about aroma. Thanks to the aroma we obtain a very valuable information about the grape variety with which the wine has been elaborated and the procedure taken in its elaboration or its ageing. Throughout its entire process of elaboration, from the vineyard to the aging, wine develops a series of aromatic substances that later we will appreciate in the glass.
Each phase of the wine making process is going to give rise to a type of aroma so there is a classification of aromas depending on the stage of production. These will be primary, secondary and tertiary.
What do we know as primary aromas?
When we speak about primary aromas we refer to those that come from the strain. These aromas depend on the area where the grape is grown, the variety to which it belongs, the type of soil composition, the climatology of the place and the harvest. The primary aromas give us floral, vegetable and fruit notes on the nose, although they can also transmit spice aromas, such as black pepper or minerals like iodine. These primary aromas are usually characteristic of young wines.
What are the secondary aromas?
This second category appears as a result of alcoholic and malolactic fermentations. The secondary aromas depend on the type of yeasts and the conditions of the fermentation. Some of the factors that generate aromas of this kind are aeration or temperature. This category gives rise to caramelized aromas like pastries, although we can also perceive others such as dairy products or amyloids, like the ones in bananas.
And the tertiary aromas?
This category of aromas is also known as “bouquet”, as it corresponds to the aromas that the wine has been acquiring during its aging in the barrel and during its aging in the bottle. Here we find a great complexity of aromas that are what make a wine unique: they depend on the oak of the barrel and its porosity or the aging time … We will find lots of aromas such as balsamic, wood, roasted, nuts, spices, or tropical fruits.
Despite this classification the aroma is subjective and depends on each person’s taste and the moment.