What is a wine “bouquet”?

Ask Dr Vinny

Hello there! I'm Dr. Vinifera, but you can call me Vinny. Ask me your toughest wine questions, from the fine points of etiquette to the science of winemaking. And don't worry, I'm no wine snob—you can also ask me those "dumb questions" you're too embarrased to ask your wine geek friends! I hope you find my answers educational, empowering and even amusing. And don't forget to check out my most asked questions and my full archives for all my Q&A classics.

Dear Dr. Vinny,

What is a wine “bouquet”?

—Salvino F., Rabat, Malta

Dear Salvino,

The term “bouquet” isn’t used much any more, but it’s a positive way to describe a wine’s aromas, fragrance, smell, odors or scents. The word itself isn’t associated with a particular aroma—it’s more a way to explain what you are describing: “This wine has an intriguing bouquet of coffee and herbs.” I’ve also noticed that some of the writers here at Wine Spectator are more likely to use the term when the aromas they are describing include floral details, which is a nod to the other meaning of the term, which is a collected bunch of cut flowers. (“Opens with a bouquet of honeysuckle and jasmine.”)

Traditionally, “bouquet” is used to describe a wine’s aromas when the wine has aged in bottle and has begun to exhibit “secondary” notes.

—Dr. Vinny

Tasting Descriptors How to Taste Ask Dr. Vinny

More In Dr. Vinny

What’s the difference between Brix, Baumé, Oechsle and residual sugar?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains why measuring sugar content in grapes is so …

Jan 18, 2021

Will my wines get too cold in the garage?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny covers the pitfalls of storing wine in the garage, …

Jan 11, 2021

Dr. Vinny's 25 Top Answers to 'What's the Difference Between …?'

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny offers disambiguations for wine topics far and wide.

Jan 4, 2021

Dr. Vinny's Most Interesting Questions of 2020

Wine Spectator's resident wine expert, Dr. Vinny, revisits the most thoughtful questions …

Dec 31, 2020

Dr. Vinny Answers Your Pandemic Questions (About Wine)

Wine Spectator's resident wine expert, Dr. Vinny, revisits all your questions about wine …

Dec 28, 2020

Why is the name “Sauvignon” attached to both red Cabernet Sauvignon and white Sauvignon Blanc?

Wine Spectator's expert Dr. Vinny explains the relationship between Cabernet Sauvignon and …

Dec 21, 2020