I’ve recently learned about Ann C. Noble, a sensory chemist, who developed the “Aroma Wheel” for wines–this is probably old news for many readers, but I’m still learning.
This Aroma Wheel is a visual breakdown of the different categories in wine aromas, helping to fine tune the complexities. For example, if a wine has a fruity nose, does it fall into the citrus, berry, tree fruit, tropical fruit, dried fruit or other category? If it falls into the berry category, is it blackberry, raspberry, strawberry or black currant?
The wheel has 12 main categories–obvious ones, like fruity and floral, but also ones like oxidized and chemical. This helps to give a framework to the whole process of wine tasting and terminology.There is a separate Aroma Wheel for sparkling wines.
It turns out, however, that the German Wine Institute created their own versions of the Aroma Wheel–one for white wines and one for reds. The reason for this is that the Institute hasn’t been happy with the “petroleum” descriptor given to German Rieslings. In fact, the entire “chemical” division has been conveniently eliminated from their wheel.
Who knew wine could cause so much commotion!