What is a wine “bouquet”?

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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

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