Updated Wine Aroma Wheel with 100+ Flavors

September 17, 2014 Blog » Wine Tips & Tricks » Updated Wine Aroma Wheel with 100+ Flavors

Wine Aroma Flavor Chart Wheel by Wine Folly

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What the Categories Mean

Primary Aromas

Primary aromas are from the type of the grape or the environment in which it grows. For instance, Barbera wines will often have subtle nuances of licorice or anise. You’ll find quite a range of flavors in the Primary Aroma group including fruit flavors, herbal flavors, earthiness, floral notes and spices.

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Secondary Aromas

Secondary aromas come from the fermentation process which includes yeast and other microbes. A great example of this is the sour smell that you can find in Brut Champagne that is sometimes described as ‘bready’ or ‘yeasty’. These fermentation-related aromas are present in all wines at some level and you’ll find that young wines tend to have more intense Secondary Aromas than wines that have been aged.

Tertiary Aromas

Tertiary aromas (classically referred to as ‘bouquets’) come from aging wine. Aging aromas are from oxidation and resting the wine in oak or bottles for a period of time. You’re probably familiar with the vanilla aroma associated with oak-aging. Other, more subtle, examples of tertiary aromas are nutty flavors like hazelnut found in vintage Champagne or dried fruit aromas such as fig that are associated with older red wines.


While an excess of these flavors is considered a wine fault, you’ll find that many will disagree as to whether or not some of these categories are truly faults. A great example of a wine fault that is sometimes a positive characteristic is Brettanomyces. Additionally, some wines are cooked on purpose to develop toffee flavors. On the other hand, 2,4,6-Trichloroanisole or cork taint is a fault that affects up to 3% of wines that are bottled with natural cork.

THE SCIENCE OF WINE AROMAS: See the major compounds that produce the aromas in wine


Wine Flavors Listed

Primary Aromas

  • Flower
  • Iris
  • Peony
  • Elderflower
  • Acacia
  • Lilac
  • Jasmine
  • Honeysuckle
  • Violet
  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Potpourri
  • Hibiscus
  • Citrus
  • Lime
  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Orange
  • Marmalade
  • Tree Fruit
  • Quince
  • Apple
  • Pear
  • Nectarine
  • Peach
  • Apricot
  • Persimmon
  • Tropical Fruit
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Guava
  • Passion Fruit
  • Lychee
  • Bubblegum
  • Red Fruit
  • Cranberry
  • Red Plum
  • Pomegranate
  • Sour Cherry
  • Strawberry
  • Cherry
  • Raspberry

Primary Aromas (Cont’d)

  • Black Fruit
  • Boysenberry
  • Black Currant
  • Black Cherry
  • Plum
  • Blackberry
  • Blueberry
  • Olive
  • Dried Fruit
  • Raisin
  • Fig
  • Date
  • Fruitcake
  • Spice
  • White Pepper
  • Red Pepper
  • Black Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Anise
  • 5-Spice
  • Fennel
  • Eucalyptus
  • Mint
  • Thyme
  • Vegetable
  • Grass
  • Tomato Leaf
  • Gooseberry
  • Bell Pepper
  • Jalapeño
  • Bitter Almond
  • Tomato
  • Sun-Dried Tomato
  • Black Tea
  • Earth
  • Clay Pot
  • Slate
  • Wet Gravel
  • Potting Soil
  • Red Beet
  • Volcanic Rocks
  • Petroleum

Secondary Aromas

  • Microbial
  • Butter
  • Cream
  • Sourdough
  • Lager
  • Truffle
  • Mushroom

Tertiary Aromas

  • Oak Aging
  • Vanilla
  • Coconut
  • Baking Spices
  • Cigar Box
  • Smoke
  • Dill
  • General Aging
  • Dried Fruit
  • Nutty Flavors
  • Tobacco
  • Coffee
  • Cocoa
  • Leather

Faults & Other

  • Sulfides & Mercaptans
  • Cured Meat
  • Boiled Eggs
  • Burnt Rubber
  • Lit Match
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Cat Pee
  • Brettanomyces
  • Black Cardamon
  • Band-Aid
  • Sweaty Leather Saddle
  • Horse Manure
  • Volatile Acidity (Acetic Acid)
  • Vinegar
  • Nail Polish Remover


Basic Wine Guide Infographic

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The first wine aroma wheel infographic is a product you can acquire. It was created by Ann C. Noble and is available on her website at winearomawheel.com


By Madeline Puckette
I'm a certified wine geek with a passion for meeting people, travel, and delicious food. You often find me crawling around dank cellars or frolicking through vineyards. Find me at @WineFolly