Great wines distinguish themselves for the intensity and fineness of their aroma and the complexity and originality of their personality. Bouquet is the aroma of aromas, mysterious fruit of peace, silence, shadow, breeze, asceticism, solitude and time. Let us analyze everything that has to do with a wine’s bouquet: definition and concepts.
Aromas and Bouquet
The elemental or original aroma is that which already exists, in the cluster or in the grape juice, extracted from the skin of the red and white clusters. Examples of grape aromas: Cabernet Sauvignon’s coffee, redcurrant or truffle aroma; Riesling’s peach flower and sometimes even oil; Moscatel’s citrus or rosewood.
Next comes the secondary aroma that originates during fermentation, the intense smell of wine due to the yeast that makes the winery stink during the vintage.
Finally, the aromatic nature of the wine attenuates gradually. After years of preservation the smell almost disappears. Then the bouquet comes up. It is a synergy of complex perfumes that aged wine releases when poured into a glass.
Two types of bouquet can be regarded when it comes to wine production techniques. When the wine ages in contact with the air, the so-called oxidation bouquet takes place. Wines acquire an amber coloring and develop a bouquet that evokes an aroma of dried fruit, quince, marsala, apple, marc, almond, walnut, etc. Oxidation bouquet is desirable when it comes to wines with high alcohol content (naturally sweet wines). Some examples of this type of bouquet are jerez, port wine, madeira and vin santo.
On the other hand, when the wine ages in barrels or are kept in airtight bottles, the process is called reduction bouquet. It can be seen in all traditional bottled aged wines. It is a nuance acquired in the ageing process. This nuance is very sensitive to oxygen. Exposed to it, the nuance can disappear quickly or deeply alter. That is why it is not advisable to air or decant aged wines long before pouring them. After opening the bottle the wine loses soon its capacity to evoke aromas of animal (leather, venison, skins) or vegetal (wood, mushroom) origin.
But now I must apologize and thank you for reading this. See you in my next article. As I write these lines, I feel incline to open a bottle of Garzón’s Tannat, aged in fine French oak barrels. I try to make the most of its bouquet and thus explore the singularities of the terroir.
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