Classification of Common Wine Odours (A - H)
 


ALMOND(PRUNUS AMYGDALUS, PAMYGDALUS DULCIS)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FRUITS -CULTIVATED - NUT
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: 5-methyl-2-furanaldhyde
acetophenone
benzaldehyde
furfural


The almond is the kernel of a stone fruit, and the almond tree is associated with the plum and peach and thought to be Moroccan in origin. The almond tree was first introduced into Britain by the Romans, who used it both for food and medicine. It was thought that by eating almonds whilst drinking alcohol sobriety could be maintained. Almonds can be used for the production of alcoholic and non alcoholic beverages. They are high in protein and low in carbohydrates. The aroma and flavour of almonds is associated with barrel fermented Chardonnays and is usually found on the end palate in the form of a bitter almond flavour. Often the aroma of marzipan or almond paste can be associated with some vintage Ports and Cabernet wines. It is a relatively rare aroma and highly prized amongst wine makers. Associated characteristics include biscuit, butterscotch, cashew and yeast lees, (rancio for red wines and ports).

 

ANISEED(PIMINELLA ANISUM)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: SPICES
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: No Chemical Compound Assigned


Anise is Greek for Aniseed. (Anisette is a liquorice flavoured with aniseed). The aniseed plant is a member of the parsley family and has highly aromatic seeds that have an aroma and flavour resembling liquorice. Aniseed aromas and/or flavours can be found in Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blends as well as being present in some Cabernet and Shiraz wines. Associated characteristics include blackberry, blackcurrant, cedar, ripe goosberry, unripe gooseberry, herbaceous, mulberry, passionfruit, pepper, spice, toasted oak, tropical fruits and vanilla. 


  
APPLE(MALUS PUMILA, FAMILY ROSUCEAE)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FRUITS - CULTIVATED - APPLE/PEAR
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: diethyl malonate
ethyl butanoate
me 3-methyl-butanoate
(Z)-3-hexenal
ethyl 2-methylbutyrate


The apple is a member of the rose family, and is a native of Europe, of which there are an astonishing 1500+ varieties. The most common varieties of apple are Jonathan, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith. The aroma of apples can often be found in wine, with the Jonathan and Granny Smith characteristics most evident. These aromas are associated with Chenin Blanc, and the smell of baked apples can be found in a late harvested Sauvignon Blanc or Chenin Blanc and of course, Calvados (apple Brandy). Associated characteristics include honeyed lemon, lemon butter, musk, quince, raisin, spice, tropical fruits.


 
APRICOT(PRUNUS ARMENIACA)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FRUITS - CULTIVATED - STONE
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: No Chemical Compound Assigned


This orange coloured stone fruit is grown on a small-medium sized tree and originates in the North of China. The apricot was brought to Europe in 400 BC via America, but it was not grown in England until 1500. Apricots have a stronger flavour than peach, they dry well and are suitable for pressing and jam making. Apricots are high in vitamins A and iron. The aroma of apricot is often associated with botrytised wines and is particularly evident in the wines of Sauternes. However, it is also present in the botrytis wines from Barsac, Saint Croix de Mont,  Loupiac, Cadillac as well as other neighboring communes of  Sauternes. The apricot aromas are often associated with honey and raisins and are also present in the botrytis affected wines of the Loire Valley in France, Australia and California. Apricot aromas have also been ascribed to wines made from Voignier, as well as aged Marsanne and Roussane. Associated characteristics include caramel, grape, honey, lemon, peach, prune, raisin, toffee.


 
ASPARAGUS(ASPARAGUS OFFICINALIS)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: VEGETABLE - CULTIVATED
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: green: (E,E)-2,4-octonel
green: l-hexen-3-ol


This highly prized member of the Lilly family was originally called 'sparrow grass'. There are many varieties and colours of asparagus, each with a slightly different flavour. The young green asparagus spears are eaten. However, if left to grow the shoot becomes a large feathery, fern like leaf which is inedible. Today, clones of asparagus have been developed that make it available fresh virtually all year round. The aroma of asparagus is found in early picked Sauvignon Blanc and is particularly evident in some wines from Sancerre, France. Associated characteristics include capsicum, cut grass, green bean, green tea herbs, tea leaf & unripe gooseberry.


 
BAKED

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: MINERAL ORIGIN
GENUS: ALTERED
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: Hydroxy Methyl Furfural


Baked refers to a caramel like odour which may be found in some sweet wines, such as Muscat and Tokay, and is due to a young wine being heated at too high a temperature for too long. This is a process called 'jeropega', whereby a young wine is heated in a copper container over a period in order to 'reduce' the wine. A thick black green viscous liquid is left behind, which is then blended back with young material to create an impression of an old barrel matured wine. The baked aroma may be found in some sherries as well as in Madeiras. Associated characteristics include apple, aldehyde, prune, rancio & toffee.


 
BANANA(MUSA SAPIENTUM)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FRUITS - CULTIVATED - TROPICAL
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: 3-methylbutyl acetate
pentyl butanoate
isoamyl acetate


The banana plant is a gigantic, herbaceous, fruit bearing plant, of which there are over 100 varieties.  The Arabs, Greeks and Romans all mention it in their literature. The Greeks of Alexander the Great's expedition saw the plant in India, where they observed wise men sitting under the tree eating its fruit. The fruit is high in vitamins A, B, C, G (B2). Bananas are widely used in cooking. The aroma and flavour of banana is not frequently experienced in wines but can be present in some Chardonnays, although some tasters maintain they have identified bananas in Shiraz as well as Gamay. One of the assigned chemical compounds,isoamyl acetate, forms during low temperature fermentations. The aroma of banana is also a feature of wines that have been made by the carbonic maceration technique. Associated characteristics include guava, melon, peach, spice & tropical fruits.


 
BEETROOT(BETA RUBRA)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: VEGETABLES - CULTIVATED
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: No Chemical Compound Assigned


The beetroot is native to Europe, North Africa and Asia. The Romans cultivated the beetroot as well as using the leaves as a vegetable. The Beta Rubra is the most popular of the three kinds of culinary beetroot, and is usually baked or boiled. The aromas of boiled beetroot can often be found in Pinot Noir. Associated characteristics include cherry, liquorice, raspberry , rhubarb, spice, strawberry and tronçais oak.


 
BITTER ALMOND

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FRUITS - CULTIVATED - NUT
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: Hydrogen Cyanide


Bitter almond aromas and flavours are less frequent in table wines these days, as stainless steel has replaced copper, iron and bronze equipment in wineries. Historically the presence of hydrogen cyanide appeared due to a practice known as "blue fining." Potassium ferro-cyanide was used to remove excess amounts of iron and copper which had made their way into the wine through the use of copper and iron fittings. If the filtration process was not carried out thoroughly, traces of hydrogen cyanide would ultimately appear. The bitter almond quality was often associated with Chardonnays produced in Burgundy. A bitter almond quality can still be found in some barrel fermented Chardonnays, although one suspects it is a result of a double flavour sensation, which is usually a combination of almond (nutty flavours), followed by a hint of bitterness (associated with excessive pressing). Associated characteristics include biscuit, butterscotch, cashew, fig, melon, nut, peach, toasted oak & yeast lees.


 
BLACKBERRY(FAMILY ROSACEAE)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FRUITS - CULTIVATED - SOFT FRUITS/BERRY
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: No Chemical Compound Assigned


The blackberry is a native of the temperate regions all around the world. Blackberries are one of the few fruits that taste better wild than cultivated, although prospective berry pickers should be cautioned as the blackberry is regarded as a noxious weed and is constantly being sprayed by local authorities in an attempt to either control its growth or eradicate it entirely. In early days blackberry juice was used for dyes, producing the colour of navy blue and indigo. Black dyes were produced by boiling ivy leaves with blackberries. The aroma of freshly crushed blackberries is often found in young Shiraz, where the lifted aroma is often coupled with an inky note. Blackberry flavours may also be experienced in some Grenache wines in association with raspberry. Associated characteristics include black pepper, blackcurrant, cedar, chocolate, confectionery, liquorice all sorts, liquorice, plum, spice, stewed fruits, vanilla & white pepper.


 
BLACKCURRANT(RIBES NIGRUM)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FRUITS - CULTIVATED - SOFT FRUIT/BERRY
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: No Chemical Compound Assigned


The blackcurrant is said to have originated in the Nordic regions, although it is also native to central Asia. The small black fruits are juicy and used in the making of pies, tarts, jams, jellies and liqueurs (esp. in Burgundy) where the berries are found growing in the woods and used to produce Creme de Cassis. Blackcurrants contain a high degree of vitamins C and B and were prized in the 18th century for their medicinal qualities. Blackcurrant aroma and flavours can be found in a wide variety of wine styles, but are most often associated with wines containing a high proportion of Cabernet Sauvignon and are particularly evident in the classed growths of Bordeaux, and the Cabernet blends from cooler regions of Australia and California. Blackcurrant aromas and flavours may also be evident in ripe Shiraz, that is, Shiraz that has achieved a degree of ripeness that is beyond the black and white pepper stage.  However, their flavours may also be present in the Pinot Noir from Burgundy. (Some suspicion has been raised, historically, about the addition of actual blackcurrants to Pinot Noir. If it is the case, it is a well kept Burgundian secret.) Associated characteristics include blackberry, cedar, chocolate, coffee, liquorice, mulberry, plum, spice, vanilla & violets.


 
BLACK PEPPER(PIPER NIGRUM)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: SPICES
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: Phellandreul Dipenlene


Black pepper is produced from the dried unripe fruit of thepiper nigrumplant. The fruit comes in the form of small berry clusters. The pepper berry is produced from a shrub, which originates in the Indian archipelago. Historically, pepper was mixed with honey to prepare a highly seasoned wine. Pepper is still used in parts of France to produce a hot wine,"Vin Chaud", and is mixed with sugar, cinnamon and orange. The smell of black peppers and white peppers can be found in many red wines, particularly in Shiraz but also in Cabernet. Cool climate Shiraz has a distinct black pepper aroma and flavour, and this is in part due to the fruit being slightly under ripe. Shiraz and the flavour of black pepper are a highly sought after quality, whereas green pepper in Cabernet Sauvignon is avoided. In extreme cool climate areas Shiraz may even take on the aroma of white pepper. The smell of black peppers has been found in some wines from Burgundy, and in particular Pommard, Rioja reds, Barolo, Barbaresco, Zinfandel, Côte du Rhone and Chateauneuf du Pape (due to their Shiraz components). Associated characteristics include blackberry, blackcurrant, chocolate, liquorice, plum, red currant, spice, stewed fruits & vanilla.


 
BUTTER

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: ANIMAL ORIGIN
GENUS: ANIMAL - DOMESTIC - BI PRODUCT
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: diacetyl
1-penten-3-ol
3-hydroxy-2-butanone


The use of butter dates back thousands of years and is produced by churning the cream of mammals' milk. Butter can be made from the milk of cows, goats, ewes, asses and female camels. Butter is widely used in the western world for cooking and spreading over bread. Buttery flavours and textures are produced as a result of malolactic fermentation particularly in cool climate Chardonnays. The result is a creamy and/or buttery texture and flavour. Associated characteristics include almond, biscuit, butterscotch, cashew, grapefruit, peach, yeast lees.


 
BUTTERSCOTCH

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: MINERAL ORIGIN
GENUS: ALTERED
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: No Chemical Compound Assigned


Butterscotch is said to have originated in Scotland and is produced by heating brown sugar, butter and lemon juice. The mixture is beaten to a creamy consistency before leaving it to set.  It is an aroma usually associated with top quality barrel fermented Chardonnays. Associated characteristics include almond, cashew, melon, peach & yeast lees.


 
CARAMEL(CARAMELIZED)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: MINERAL ORIGINS
GENUS: ALTERED
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: et 4-hydroxybutanoate


The word caramel originated from the Spanishcaramelo, and is an odour formed by melted sugar which is beginning to break down. Fortified wines such as Rutherglen Muscat and Tokay can often have a hint of caramel on the nose and palate. An excessive amount of caramel character may in fact indicate that the wine has been made by a process called jeropega, whereby the young fortified wine is in fact heated up and reduced (see 'Baked' above). The process requires very careful temperature control otherwise the aroma and flavour may exhibit an excessive amount of caramel character. Old Sauternes which have gone orange to orange-brown in colour often exhibit a caramel aroma and flavour. Old red wines which are past or almost past their prime may also exhibit a caramel flavour, and this may be accompanied by flavours of toffee and prunes. Malaga may also exhibit a caramel, and this is in part due to the addition of grape juice which has been heated to reduce its volume by 1/5, another kind of jeropega process. Associated characteristics include burnt, honey, marmalade, molasses, nuts, prune, raisin, rancio, toffee & treacle.


 
CASHEW(ANACARDIUM OCCIDENTALE)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FRUITS - CULTIVATED - NUT
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: No Chemical Compound Assigned


The cashew nut is the fruit of the cashew tree which is a native of South America although the species may be found growing in many tropical countries. The nut has a sweetish taste and is highly regarded by connoisseurs. The nut is usually lightly roasted. Cashew aroma and flavours are associated with barrel fermented Chardonnays, and the aroma and flavour is easily discernible. Such wines are usually left on yeast lees for an extended period during barrel aging. Cashew characteristics may also be found in a more subtle manner in methode champenoise sparkling wines. Associated characteristics include almond, butterscotch, yeast lees & yeast autolysis.


 
CHERRY(FAMILY ROSACEAE)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FRUITS - CULTIVATED - STONE
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: No Chemical Compound Assigned


The cherry tree is thought to have been introduced to Europe from Persia by the Romans around 100 AD. There are several hundred varieties of cherry around the world, although two main species seem to be the progenitors of the many cultivated varieties, both of which grow wild in England. The main varieties of sour cherries are morellos (black flesh) and armarelles (red flesh) and are used to produce cherry brandy, whilst the Damasca and Marasca cherries from Dalmatia are used to produce marascino liqueur, with its distinctly bitter taste. Cherry aromas are particularly evident in Pinot Noir & Beaujolaus  (Gamay) wines and can often be associated with aroma and flavours of blackberry, strawberry and raspberry. Some wines take on the aroma of black cherries and these can be found in the Shiraz wines from Bendigo, Central Victoria while Durif wines from Rutherglen in North East Victoria typically reveal a distinct morello cherry aroma and flavour. Associated characteristics include blackberry, cedar, chocolate, game, liquorice, plum, rasberry, spice, strawberry, tronçais oak (used particularly with Pinot Noir) & vanilla.


 
CINNAMMON(CINNAMOMUM ZEYLANICUM)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VETETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: SPICES
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: No Chemical Compound Assigned


The cinnamon tree was known in antiquity and is mentioned in the Bible. The cinnamon 'stick' is in fact the inner bark of the tree, and is extensively grown in Ceylon. Cinnamon aroma and flavour are discernible in a number of lower priced red and white Australian wines and this is often attributed to German oak chips which are used in the production of these wines. Cinnamon aromas have also been associated with top Burgundy Pinot Noir, as well as wine from Pomeral, Chateauneuf du Pape and Graves in France. The aroma and flavour can be overbearing, and must be used judiciously in wine making. Associated characteristics include liquorice, melon, mixed red berries, peach, plum, spice, stewed fruits.


 
CLOVE(EUGENIA CARVOPHYALLATA)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: SPICES
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: eugenic acid
4-vinylguaiacol
eugenol


The clove tree, a species of myrtle, originated in the Moluccas, and was introduced by the Dutch into Amboyna. For many years the Portuguese had a monopoly on the cloves trade, and this was due to their discovery of the Cape of Good Hope route to the Far East. The clove is grown over a variety of tropical locations including, Java, Sumatra, Zanzibar, Brazil and most of the West Indies. Cloves are produced from the dried, unexpanded flower bud of a tropical tree and are widely used for flavour, particularly in the cooking of apples and hams as well as in puddings and stews. The smell of cloves is familiar to enthusiasts of 'Gluwine' or 'Mulled Wine', a heated drink that has warmed the hearts of many a skier and camper. The aroma and flavour of cloves can also be found in some Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon wines, although generally at the lower price range. It tends to be a little pronounced and can easily overpower the fruit flavours of the wine. Associated characteristics include blackberry, blackcurrant, liquorice, plum, spice & stewed fruit.


 
COCOA(THEOBROMA CACAO)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: PLANTS - CULTIVATED
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: No Chemical Compound Assigned


Cocoa is a pulverised form of the seeds of the cacao tree (from which chocolate is made). The plant was originally a native of tropical America. However, it is now widely cultivated. To produce Cocoa powder the seeds are dried, partly fermented and the husk, germ and most of the oil or fat removed. The fat is known as cacao butter and is used as a pure form in confectionery. Powdered cocoa is used as a beverage and flavouring. Cocoa became enormously popular with the Royal Courts of Europe in the 17th century. Full bodied, ripe, flavour filled reds can often take on an aroma of cocoa and chocolate. The exact aroma quality will vary considerably with the varietal, but it is often found in Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Associated characteristics include coffee, liquorice, ripe plums.


 
COCONUT(COCOS NUCIFERA)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FRUITS - CULTIVATED - TROPICAL
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: g-octalactone
g-nonalactone
tetradecanol
methyl nonanoate
d-decalactone


The coconut is the fruit of the Coconut palm. The coconut consists of an outer fibrous husk enclosing a large nut which contains a white edible layer. Coconut is often dried and grated and used extensively in cooking and confectionery. The coconut also produces a valuable oil which has been used for thousands of years. Sap from the coconut tree can be fermented and used to produce a palm wine, which is similar to the Turkish Arrack or Arak spirit. Coconut aroma and flavour is often found in red wines and is a quality which is attributed to the use of certain oak barrels. Associated characteristics include black pepper, blackberry, blackcurrant, liquorice, mulberry, plum, rasberry, spice, stewed fruits.


 
COFFEE(CAFFEU ARABICA, C. LIBERI CA, C. ROBUSTA)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: MINERAL ORIGIN, VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: ALTERED, PLANT - CULTIVATED
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: 2-furfurylthiol


The coffee shrub is native to Arabia. However, today it is widely cultivated in Brazil, West Indies & Central Africa etc. Historically, the origin of coffee remains uncertain, with scholars believing that its origins may have been in Abyssinia or Sudan. The Venetians introduced coffee to Europe, and finally it came to the New World. Coffee connoisseurs claim that the best coffee comes from  Blue Mountain (Jamaica), Bogota (Colombia) and Yemen. Like any crop, its origins will have a great impact upon the final aroma and flavour of the coffee. The preparation of the coffee bean makes a significant impact on the final aroma and flavour. Factors such as the degree of roasting, freshness of grinding, quality of water and the method of making the cup all affect the final result. Coffee contains the alkaloid caffeine, which is a stimulant. The aromas and flavours of coffee can be found in very ripe Cabernet and Shiraz wines (14% Alc./Vol. plus). Some full bodied, very ripe, Pinot Noir wines may also display the aroma. Associated characteristics include chocolate, liquorice, ripe plums & stewed fruit.


 
COOKED

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: MINERAL ORIGIN
GENUS: ALTERED
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: I-hexen-3-one
Cooked potato methional


Cooked odours are different from baked odours and usually occur as a result of too high a fermentation temperature. Cooked aromas were common in red wines from hot regions. However, with mechanical harvesting at night and the use of refrigeration equipment, 'cooked' wines in modern production facilities are a thing of the past.


 
CORKED

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: ANIMAL ORIGIN (BACTERIA)
GENUS: ALTERED
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: Trichloroanisole


A corked odour is a very unpleasant experience in wine, and can be noticeable in varying degrees. A badly corked bottle of wine smells like a dirty pair is jogging shoes and is impossible to totally eradicate. The aroma and flavour of all wines are dramatically altered by the chemical trichloranisole. The cork taint is in part due to the poor handling, storage, and processing of the cork bark. (Refer to the section on corks for a full discussion on the subject).


 
FIG(FICUS CARICA)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FRUITS - CULTIVATED - STONE
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: fruity 3-methylnonane-2,4-clione


There are many varieties of fig tree and fig fruit has many different shapes and colours. The colour of fig skins can vary from green to green and brown, to purple. The pulp also varies in colour, from red to yellow to brown. Figs are thought to have originated in the Middle East and the Mediterranean Coast. The Smyrna fig is the most highly prized variety, which can be eaten fresh or dried. The aromas and flavours of figs is often associated with Chardonnay. Associated characteristics include almond, biscuit, cashew, citrus, grapefruit, melon, nut, peach, yeast lees.


 
FUSEL

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: CHEMICAL ORIGIN
GENUS: ALTERED
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: butyl alcohol
propyl alcohol
amyl alcohol
isoamyl alcohol


A fusel odour is highly obnoxious and is the result of poor distillation practice. Its chemical compounds belong to a category known as higher alcohols, which in a good distillation are not incorporated. Fusel odour is rarely smelt in table wines, but may be present in some fortified wines. Traces have been found in Portuguese Vintage Ports, and it is judged by some tasters to be agreeable on the basis that the odour adds complexity to the port. Historically in Australia the fortifying spirit has been squeaky clean, which has resulted in the accusation that some of our vintage ports are too simple. In recent years some  Australian wine makers have spent time in Portugal and introduced  'less clean' fortifying brandy spirit into vintage ports in an attempt to gain more depth and complexity in the wine. Andrew Buller of Buller's Wines in Rutherglen, North East Victoria has being one exponent of such a style.


 
GERANIUM

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FLOWERS - CULTIVATED ASSIGNED
CHEMICAL COMPOUND: Geraniol
Citronnellol
Linalol
Terpineol
Menthol
(Z)-1,5-octadien-3-one


The smell of the Geranium plant is an undesirable characteristic in wine and may be caused by the accidental addition of sorbic acid. Asorbic acid combines with sulphur dioxide to inhibit the multiplication of wine yeasts, thus restricting their ability to make the sugar ferment. The flavour of geranium in a wine is due to the deterioration of sorbic acid under the effect of lactic bacteria. The chemical compounds assigned to geranium also occur naturally and as a result the geranium characteristics may be found in some Rieslings, and Alsatian Gewurztraminers.


 
GINGER(ZINGIBER OFFICINALE)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: SPICES
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: No Chemical Compound Assigned


Ginger is a perennial reed-like plant. There are many varieties of ginger which have their origins in the warmer parts of Asia. In New Guinea, the natives have found up to 13 different varieties growing in the Highlands, and attribute magical properties to its smell. The ginger spice is derived from the rhizome of the plant. The rhizome, or underground stems, are washed, scraped and sun dried. The portions nearest to the stem are more delicate in flavour, whilst the balance of the rhizome is used for the production of powdered ginger. Ginger is widely prized in cooking, adding depth and warmth to dishes. The smell of ginger is uncommon in wine, although it has been experienced on occasions in cool climate Gewurztraminers and some Rieslings. Associated characteristics include citrus, lime, lychee, spice &  tropical fruits.


 
GOOSEBERRY (RIBES GROSSULARIA)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FRUITS - CULTIVATED - SOFT FRUIT/BERRY
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: No Chemical Compound Assigned


The gooseberry shrub is indigenous to Europe and North Africa and was introduced into England in the Middle ages. There are many varieties. The oval berries differ in size, colour and texture and can be red, yellow, green or white, and either smooth skinned or covered with hairs. Gooseberries have a wide range of applications in cooking, being used in puddings, preserves, pies etc. Sauvignon Blanc, particularly wines originating from Marlborough, New Zealand, have a very distinct gooseberry aroma and flavour, and the flavour profile varies from unripe fruit character to ripe fruit character. Sauvignon Blanc blended with Semillon tends to be dominated by the stronger Sauvignon Blanc characteristics. Associated characteristics include capsicum, grassy, herbaceous, tropical fruits & unripe passionfruit.


 
GRAPEFRUIT(CITRUS PARADISI)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FRUITS - CULTIVATED - CITRUS
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: fresh et 3-hydroxyhexahoate
fresh a-phellandrene
lemon nerval
lemon 3-carene
lemon geranial
lemon citral
lemon linalool
lemon a-terpinene


There are two classes of grapefruit, one with yellow pulp and the other with pink or red pulp, and within each class there exists many varieties. Grape fruit can be used in cooking in a similar way to oranges. The aroma and flavour of grapefruit can be found in early picked Chardonnay grapes. These also have a higher degree of acidity which can be enhanced by riper fruit components. Associated characteristics include citrus, fig, melon, peach, tropical fruits.


 
GREEN BEAN

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: VEGETABLES - CULTIVATED
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: methoxypyrazine
green: (E,E)-2,4-octadienal
green I-hexen-3-ol
green leaf (z)-2-octenal


The earliest known bean was the broad bean, and has been cultivated since prehistoric times. Whilst it was grown in Egypt, it was regarded as being 'unclean' by the priests who believed that beans induced dreams and contained dead men's souls. In Europe the broad bean was the only type of bean until the 16th century. During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, French Huguenot refugees introduced the string bean to England, and around 1633 the runner bean was introduced from Mexico. The bean is very high in protein, and many varieties may be eaten in the pods when young. The aroma and flavour of green bean can be found in unripe Cabernet Sauvignon. This may be due to shading of fruit, overcropping or simply being picked too early. (The green characteristics do not dissipate with age; on the contrary, they become accentuated as the fruit flavours disappear with time.) Associated characteristics include asparagus, capsicum, dusty, green olive, green tea herbaceous, pencil shavings, tea leaf, unripe gooseberry & passionfruit.


 
GREEN PEPPER(CAPSICUM FRUTESCENS, CAPCICUM GROSSUM, CAPSICUM TRTRAGONUM)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: VEGETABLES - CULTIVATED
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: herbaceous: 6-selinene
pungent: pentanal
pungent: 6-methyl-5-hepten-2-one
pungent: butanal
pungent: I-nonen-3-one
pungent: Isupropyl butanoate
pungent: Ethanal
pungent: 2-methyl-propanal


There are some thirty species of capsicum which belong to the genus of the ordersolanaceae, of which two hundred odd varieties have been described. The group is very important from a culinary sense both for their range of flavour and heat, as well as their shape and colour range. Green pepper characteristics are primarily due to a chemical compound methoxypyrozine, where one part per trillion is discernible by the human nose. The characteristic can be found in a number of vegetables and may be acceptable and even desirable in early picked Sauvignon Blanc and particularly desirable in wines of Sancerre. Riper picked Sauvignon Blanc will have more gooseberry and passionfruit qualities. In red wines, particularly in Cabernet Sauvignon, the smell of green pepper signals unripe fruit, and/or poor viticultural practice. The characteristic will not dissipate with time, but become more accentuated. It is often found in cool climate Cabernet from New Zealand, California, Bordeaux and Australia. The smart wine makers have fixed the problem and delivered lower yields of ripe fruit without the smell of green peppers. The slow learners are grafting their vines to more suitable cool climate varietals. Associated characteristics include asparagus, grass, green bean & herbaceous.


 
HAZELNUT(CORYLUS AVELLANA)

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: VEGETABLE ORIGIN
GENUS: FRUITS - CULTIVATED - NUT
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: No Chemical Compound Assigned


Hazelnuts have been known since earliest times in Europe, Central Asia, Russia and North Africa. Early forms of hazelnut included the round form, and another an oblong shape. There are many forms of hazelnut, although the largest broad Spanish variety is the most commonly available. Hazelnuts can be cooked, eaten on their own, used in the manufacture of liquorice as well as in confectionery. The aroma of hazelnut is often associated with very fine barrel fermented Chardonnays made from low yielding vines. Associated characteristics include biscuit, cashews, peach, pear & yeast lees.


 
HONEY

SMELL CLASSIFICATION: ANIMAL ORIGIN
GENUS: INSECT - BI PRODUCTS
ASSIGNED CHEMICAL COMPOUND: ethyl-(E)-cinnamate
phenethyl acetate
cinnamic acid
2-phenylethanol


Honey is referred to in the Sumerian scrolls as well as the Bible, and honey and wine have long symbolized the abundance and sweetness of a Golden Age. Honey is collected by bees, and is a sweet sticky viscous fluid consisting of the nectar of various kinds of flowers. The collected honey is stored in wax cells inside the hive. All pure honey granulates and is a proof of its purity. The speed of granulation depends upon the floral source. Granulated honey is better for human digestion than liquid honey, due to the presence of sugar dextrose which enters the blood stream directly. The sugars that are found in honey are dextrose and laevulose, and surprisingly enough, honey is considered to be an antiseptic - as germs are unable to live in it. The aroma and flavours of honey will vary greatly with the seasons, the growing conditions and the nature of the plants from which the nectar is sourced. The aroma and flavour of honey, is found in many wines, both dry and sweet, including the wines of Sauternes, Barsac, Saint Croix du Mont, Quart de Chaume, as well as botrytised Rieslings, botrytised Sauvignon Blanc, bottle aged Rieslings and Semillons, and even developed Chardonnays. Associated characteristics include apricot, kerosene, lemon, lemon butter, peach, spice, toast & tropical fruits.