Aromas are a common way to describe the scent of food or drink. They are pleasing to the nose and make us want to lick our lips. Aromas are produced by the reaction of certain molecules, so different products may smell slightly different but still be very similar. Aromas can be found in everything from coffee to grilled onions to fried bacon.
Aromas can be complex, or simple, depending on how they are produced. A wine’s aroma profile will depend on how the grape variety was produced and how it was processed and stored. Usually, wine aromas are fruity, floral, or vegetal. If the wine is aged, it may have earthy, oxidative, or woody characteristics.
Besides fruity aromas, wines may also have a buttery character or a creamed corn aroma. Many red wines undergo malolactic fermentation, which complements the natural aromas of grapes. The process also prevents microbial spoilage post-bottle. In addition, barrel ageing can produce wine aromas that are very similar to the ones of a certain fruit or vegetable.
Aromas are complex mixtures of volatile compounds. Each species and variety has its own unique composition of compounds. These aromatic compounds are usually present at low concentrations and can include monoterpenes, eucalyptols, esters, organic acids, and ketones. Their compound composition is complex, but they contribute to the quality of an aroma. For example, a fruit’s banana or orange flavor is attributed to monoterpenes such as limonene and a sesquiterpene called nootkatone.