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Comparing Wine Aromas


  • Rosemount Chardonnay (Australia)
  • '99 Huia Riesling (New Zealand)
  • St. Supéry Sauvignon Blanc
  • Jug white wine (for base wine)

Try This

  • Using 7 separate wine glasses, prepare seven aroma standards by adding the following ingredients to one ounce of base wine:
    • Bell pepper (one tiny piece; don't leave in too long)
    • Butter (one drop of butter extract)
    • Citrus (half teaspoon each of fresh orange and grapefruit juice)
    • Linalool/fruity-floral (put a few pieces of dry Froot Loops' cereal or an opened Handiwipe(TM) in an empty glass)
    • Peach or apricot (one teaspoon puree or juice)
    • Pineapple (one teaspoon juice)
    • Vanilla (one drop of extract)
  • Label the glasses with the appropriate standard and cover the tops with plastic wrap to concentrate the aroma. You may have to add more of an ingredient if the aroma is too faint, or add base wine if it is too strong.
  • Smell each of the first three wines separately. Then smell the standards to see which terms describe which wines. Each wine can have more than one aroma, and you may come up with new terms that aren't listed above.

What's Going On?

Smelling the base wine makes it easier to identify the spiked aromas by contrast.

  • Chardonnay can include butter, vanilla, pineapple, and oak aromas.
  • Riesling can include fruity-floral, peach, or citrus aromas.
  • Sauvignon Blanc can include bell pepper, citrus, vanilla, butter, and grassy aromas.

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