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Updated Wine Flavor Wheel with 100+ Flavors

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A useful tool to have on hand while tasting, the wine flavor wheel is a visual glossary of wine terms organized by origin.

Wine Flavor Chart by Wine Folly

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The Wine Flavor Finder is a custom designed tool to help wine lovers find flavors in wine (and where they come from). Designed and printed in Seattle, WA.


How aromas in wine are derived / where they originate from

Primary Aromas

Primary aromas are from the type of the grape or the environment in which it grows.

For instance, Barbera wines will often exhibit 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.

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.”

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 come 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 the hazelnut found in vintage Champagne or the dried fruit aromas, such as fig, that are associated with older red wines.

Faults/Other

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.

Learn how to identify flavors in wine with Madeline

Check out the complete list of flavors below:

Primary Aromas

Flowers

  • 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

Black Fruit

  • Boysenberry
  • Black Currant
  • Black Cherry
  • Plum
  • Blackberry
  • Blueberry
  • Olive

Dried Fruit

  • Raisin
  • Fig
  • Date
  • Fruitcake

Noble Rot

  • Beeswax
  • Ginger
  • Honey

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

Faults & Other

Cork Taint (TCA)

  • Musty Cardboard
  • Wet Dog

Madeirized (or Cooked)

  • Toffee
  • Stewed Fruit

Volatile Acidity (Acetic Acid)

  • Vinegar
  • Nail Polish Remover

Sulfides & Mercaptans

  • Cured Meat
  • Boiled Eggs
  • Burnt Rubber
  • Lit Match
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Cat Pee

Brettanomyces

  • Black Cardamon
  • Band-Aid
  • Sweaty Leather Saddle
  • Horse Manure

Wine Aroma Flavor Chart Wheel by Wine Folly
Original wine aroma chart made in 2014

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AboutMadeline Puckette

James Beard Award-winning author and Wine Communicator of the Year. I co-founded Wine Folly to help people learn about wine. @WineFolly

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