aromatic grape varieties

Aromatic Grape Varieties – Day 7

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What is Aromatic Wine?

Aromatic is an adjective, but also a category of grape varieties. On Day 7 we talk about how to identify Aromatic grape varieties and how to to talk about intensity of aroma in wine tasting.

Watch on YouTube.

What are some examples of Aromatic Grape Varieties?

  • Gewürztraminer
  • Viognier
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Riesling
  • Muscat
  • Torrontés

Wine of the Day

Michele Chiarlo 2018 Nivole Moscato d’Asti (375ML half-bottle) – Muscat White Wine

Find a Moscato online.


Dried apricot, fresh sage, pink roses


Drink wine along with me, Annie, and learn to engage all of your senses in a powerful new way. SUBSCRIBE to the channel to follow along.

Stay updated when you enroll in DiVino Wine School. You’ll have full access to class notes from every episode available to download directly from our site.


Video Transcript


EP7_AROMA Part 1_ Aromatic Grape Varieties (file name)

Wine: Moscato d’Asti

Scent: Apricots, Sage, Roses

TITLE/SCREEN: DiVino Wine School (Animated logo)

Hello everyone!

(HOOK) Batting roses around! Are you ready to start identifying notes of wine right now? Stick around because we are about get nose deep in Moscato.

TITLE/SCREEN + MUSIC: 21 Days of Wine

TITLE/SCREEN: Day 7: Aroma Part 1: Tasting Aromatic Wine

Welcome back to DiVino wine school!

I’m Annie Shapero, certified sommelier, I just want to thank everyone for following along so far. Thank you for subscribing and sharing their scent memories, and wine-tasting experiences with me in the comments.

I do a lot of different things in this industry, but interacting with people, sharing my love for wine and the storytelling that comes with it, is my favorite part of the job.

So thank you for giving me the opportunity to step away from sales and marketing and all that business for a while.

If you are enjoying these videos and haven’t subscribed or enrolled, it’s not too late. And it’s free! When you enroll you’ll get a head’s up on what wine we’ll be drinking and what we’ll be talking about in the next episode.

Day 7 is all about AROMA.  If you haven’t watched the first episode about building a scent vocabulary, please do!  

I made that that video first to give you a head start on learning to smell things in the real world, to make it easier to identify scent notes in wine as we go along.

For example, today I brought some wonderful things to smell! Apricot, sage leaves and pink roses!

If you’ve brought some wine to today’s lesson, go ahead and pour yourself a glass, but not too much. You actually need very little wine in the glass to start smelling.

Scent molecules react with the air, so if your glass is full, there’s nowhere for them to go.

I brought a Moscato D’ASTI today. Nothing too fancy, but a very good example of aromatic intensity.

If you are tasting along with me, see what you can smell in there!

As always, you can drink or not drink whatever you like. Freedom! But I will always let you know in the video description, as well was my newsletter, what I am drinking and a few scent notes to look for. In the real world and in your glass.

In wine tasting, we start by looking, as we’ve discussed in the past episodes. Color and consistency and INTENSITY of the color can tell you a lot about the grapes and the winemaking techniques that were used.

After sight comes smell. 

After sight, comes smell.  My favorite part of wine tasting!  I love perfume for the same reason. Unraveling and recognizing different scent notes is super satisfying for me. It’s like my Sudoku, or those word search games, only smells can actually alter your mood and bring back happy memories.

Sudoku DOES NOT take you back to that beach vacation. Word searches might make you feel smart, but can they transport you the first day of fall? No, they cannot.

How do you talk about what you smell?

In the same way we talk about intensity of color and opacity/ opaqueness we apply the measurement to the aromatic qualities of wine.

How intense are the aromas? What does that tell us?

You might be looking at the wine in your glass and making some assumptions about what grape it is, or how it was made and how it old it is, and what that might mean, or even what you expect to smell based on what you see.

In the first episode, I explained that the best way to smell is to really get in there and take short strong sniffs.

Take short, strong sniffs.

Don’t be shy. Give it a gentle swirl to release those aromatic compounds and let them in.

If you’ve got a pen and paper, start making a list of scent notes. If you smell wine , great! The word for that is “Vinous.” VINE- us.

 Vine + usLike a dictionary.

It’s a predominant scent note in younger wines, and it’s present to some degree in every wine.

But what else is in there? 

But what else is in there?

It helps to narrow it down with a little knowledge.

Some grape varieties produce much more powerful and distinctive aromas than others.  If you’ve already got an idea by looking at a deep ruby red color, and then you smell bell peppers… there is a very good chance there is Cabernet Sauvignon in there.

And if you know you like Cabernet, now you can begin to describe it, and discover more aromas in the ones you like. Better yet, once you start to isolate the aromas you like best, you can ask for wines with a similar profile and expand your repertoire.

There are three main categories of grapes: Aromatic, semi-aromatic, and neutral.

There are three main categories of grapes: Aromatic, semi-aromatic, and neutral.

Aromatic, semi-aromatic, and neutral.

Aromatic grapes are instantly recognizable for very specific characteristics.

Moscato, Malvasia, and Gwürztraminer for example.  If you eat one of these grapes they actually taste like the wines do.  

They have very intense aromas of creamy pink roses and apricot. You can do an easy experiment. Buy a bottle of Moscato, it does not have to be fancy, and grab some dried apricots from the snack aisle or the bulk foods department.  Like I did today. Now taste and smell them alongside one another.

Even in a very simple Moscato you can find a lot of these characteristics These aromatic grapes make aromatic wines with very intense aromas.

You may as well stock up on all types of dried fruits by the way. They are very common scent notes in white and red wines, ESPECIALLY AGED ONES.

Dried fruit notes show up in all types of wines.

Semi-aromatic grape varieties are still very distinctive in wine but to a lesser degree. A few examples include: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Chardonnay for the whites and Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot for the reds.

Aromatic Red grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot

Aromatic White Grapes: Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, and Chardonnay

These grape varieties always produce recognizable aromas, even if it’s subtle. If you know it, you’ll find it.  And the more intense the aromas, the easier it will be.

Neutral Grape Varieties

Neutral grape varieties produce wines that are more expressive of their surrounding land and climate and the winemaking process like barrel aging. But you can eventually learn to recognize them too, if you drink enough of them. I bet some of you could recognize the nose of Pinot Grigio or Malbec with your eyes closed, and you didn’t even know it.

Stay tuned for Aroma part 2. Free preview: It’s going to going to be intense and complex….

If you haven’t subscribed and enrolled, now is a great time to do it! It’s free and YOU can follow along with me.

Subscribe & Enroll!

And please let me know what you are tasting in the comments below. Your input will only make me a better teacher.

See you next time!

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