The Diversity of Wine Aromas

Three Types of Aroma Tones and Numerous Components

On the Track of the Diversity of Wine Aromas

Alto Adige wine is multilayered, it is strong in character and rich in aromas. What does a glass of Schiava smell like? Perhaps like raspberries or cherries? A Pinot Blanc like apples or walnuts? We would like to provide you here with a brief overview of the categories of so-called “aroma tones” – the scent substances in wine.
1.  Primary Aroma Tones

Fruity, floral, grassy – all descriptions for primary aroma tones. These originate from the grape variety itself. What is responsible for the scent are molecules which as a rule are bound in the skins of the grapes. In this category, there is a differentiation between, for example, terpenes, which are responsible for the floral scent in the wine, and pyrazines, which give rise to a grassy, green smell.
These aroma tones are influenced by the genetics of the grape variety, how the year progresses, the location of the plant, and the cultivation conditions.
A brief manual on Alto Adige grape varieties:

  • Gewürztraminer: exotic, spicy, and floral aroma profile with a scent of roses
  • Pinot Blanc: delicate aromas of apples, pears, grapefruit, walnuts, and hay flowers
  • Schiava (Vernatsch): aroma tones of strawberries, cherries, raspberries, and a touch of bitter almond
  • Lagrein: aromas that are reminiscent of blackberries, black cherries, and licorice

What holds true in general is that while wines from cool cultivation zones have more aromas of fresh fruits, wines from warmer areas have aromas that are more reminiscent of cooked and exotic fruits.
2.  Secondary Aroma Tones

There is above all else one great influence upon these aroma tones, and that is the winemaker. They specifically come into existence during the work in the winery. Just the fermentation alone changes the scent profile of wine as a rule in a significant manner. With the fermenting process, various alcohols and other substances are formed which change the smell. In addition, scent molecules are released during the fermentation. And the so-called “malolactic fermentation” – that is, the transformation from sharp malic acid into milder lactic acid with the help of lactic acid bacteria as well as the possible aging in small oak casks (barriques) or the maturation on fine yeast can lead to altered aromatic qualities.

3.  Tertiary Aroma Tones

These are those aroma tones that come into existence during bottle aging. Since wine consists of numerous chemical components that react with each other, the bouquet of the wine changes continuously. Thus a wine that has been aged for many years in a cellar will smell completely differently than it did at the time of purchase. Extremely aged wines have a smell that is often reminiscent of mushrooms, forest undergrowth, earth, and medicinal tones.
What do you smell in an Alto Adige Lagrein, Pinot Blanc, or Gewürztraminer? Put your sense of smell to the test and allow yourself to be inspired by the exciting world of wine.
Another taste?
More from the world of Alto Adige wine
Precious Pearls for the Feast

Precious Pearls for the Feast

To give joy to family and friends. That’s what everyone wants to do, especially at Christmastime. With an artisanal product from Alto Adige, which ...
Back to the list