More than one thousand aroma molecules have been identified in wines to date; who knows how many more remain to be discovered? These molecules, in varying mixes and quantities, create a whole array of different aromas, though they only account for one part of wine to a thousand, or 0.1%, i.e.1.2g per litre on average.
Some of these aroma compounds are mere traces, and are hardly detectable by our powerful analytical tools.

Determining factors

  • Vines (age and varieties)
  • Geological nature of vineyard soil
  • Local climate
  • Terroir (“land”, a mix of part of the above concepts)
  • Vintage (year)
  • Vine-cultivation practices (pruning, harvesting, and more)
  • Vinification processes
  • Maturing, storage and ageing conditions 

Wines can also be blended from several cuvées, made from different grape varieties, selected with a view to optimizing quality, taste and aromas.

Types of aromas

This classification of wine aromas as primary, secondary and tertiary cannot be followed to the letter, as an aroma may originate from various sources. For example, the rose scent may stem from primary molecules such as ß-citronellol and others of secondary origin connected with fermentation such as phenylethyl alcohol, all of which contribute to the final rose note.


Jean Lenoir's selection

Fruity notes: 1 lemon, 2 grapefruit, 3 orange, 4 pineapple, 5 banana, 6 lychee, 7 melon, 8 muscat, 9 apple, 10 pear, 11 quince, 12 strawberry, 13 raspberry, 14 redcurrant, 15 blackcurrant, 16 bilberry, 17 blackberry , 18 cherry, 19 apricot, 20 peach, 21 marzipan (almond), 22 prune, 23 walnut. Floral notes: 24 hawthorn, 25 acacia, 26 linden, 27 honey, 28 rose, 29 violet. Vegetal notes: 30 bell pepper / capsicum, 31 mushroom, 32 truffle, 33 wine lees, 34 cedar, 35 pine, 36 liquorice, 37 blackcurrant bud, 38 cut hay, 39 thyme, 40 vanilla, 41 cinnamon, 42 clove, 43 pepper, 44 saffron. Animal notes: 45 leather, 46 musk, 47 butter. Toasty notes: 48 toast, 49 roasted almond, 50 roasted hazelnut, 51 caramel, 52 coffee, 53 dark chocolate, 54 smoky note.

Book excerpts from Le Nez du Vin 54 aromas. Turn to pages 12-17 to find out more!

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