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Wine Spectator School

Class 1: Intro to Tasting: White Wine


SNIFF: Aroma Intensity and Aroma Identification

SNIFF involves using your sense of smell to Identify a wine's aromas and to judge their Intensity.


  • The aromas of wine come from fragrant chemical compounds called esters.

  • If you detect the aroma of lemon in your glass of Chardonnay, it is because the same -- or nearly the same -- combination of esters that gives a lemon its distinctive aroma is present in the wine.

  • Wine is capable of great aromatic complexity, and it is possible for a single wine to have many aromas. For example, apple, lemon, lime, melon, pineapple, pear, spice, hazelnut, vanilla and butterscotch can all be descriptors for Chardonnay.

Off Aromas
A smell that...

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