It is possible to recognize in wine many different aromas, from strawberries to cinnamon or chalk.
Wine & Food Magazine
We all know that wine is made out of grapes, so do wine smell like strawberry because this ingredient is being used to make wine? No of course. Each wine smells unique thanks to various compounds corresponding to different aromas.
Fruit & Flowers: esters
The block of fruit flavors is provided by esters, which are a product of acids. This flavoring agents are used in products beyond wine, for example candies. They can have also light flower scents, like jasmine.
Pyrazines are aromatic organic compounds responsible for herbal or vegetal scents, like grassy or pepper note. Cabenet Franc is full of them.
Pyrazine can have deeper scents like chocolate and coffee, it’s also one of their fundamental aroma compounds.
Floral and herbal: terpenes
Floral wine owe their bouquet to terpenes. Some examples of terpens are rose and lavander, but they can smell also resinous or herbaceous (like in hop).
Earth: thiols, sulphur compounds and geosmine
Thiols are an organosulfur compounds, some of them have unpleasant odor and are considered a wine fault, like garlic. Some others are responsible for earthiness.
Sulphur compounds can smell fantastic like chalk. Other scents like wet wool are considered a wine fault.
Geosmine comes from bacteria and has a distinctive hearty aroma like mushrooms or the earthytaste of beets.
Spicy: lactones, rotundone, thiols
If you smell vanilla, nut or coconut, lactones are responsible. They are a subset of esters and are easy to find in certain oaked wines.
When you smell peppery scent rutandone is at work, it is a terpen. Is found also in the essential oils of black pepper, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, thyme and basil.
Thiols contribute with roasted coffe, smoky and chocolate aromas.