We taste a glass of Xinisteri wine and it reminds us of citrus fruit with fine notes of white flowers, while a glass of Maratheftiko bears notes of black berries and red forest fruits. However, no wine is made with fruit juice. So what is it that causes such flavours and smells in wines?

Although the answer is simple, the components that contribute to the creation of fragrances are complex. Interestingly, the same chemical elements existing in a wine can be found in fruit and vegetables. For example, the element of pyrazine found in green paprika is also found in Cabernet Sauvignon, while ethylprylat is found in pineapples and Chardonnay. Memory is capable of storing and identifying smells. So when we drink a wine that reminds us of lemon and blossoms, the sensors that have retained the corresponding scents are activated.

Nevertheless, the elements that create fragrances in a wine can vary. The main perfumes are the result of the soil and climate. They are called primary or varied aromas and are found in the form of flowers and fruit and are due to the presence of terpenes.

The secondary fragrances that arise are those created during fermentations, where yeasts and other microorganisms act on the must. These are the majority of the aromas found in wine, such as buttery aromas resulting from malolactic fermentation.

Finally, fragrances are also created from storage, aging and maturation. When ripening in a barrel and/or in the bottle, additional flavours are created. Aging results in aromas such as vanilla, oak and spices. Aging in the bottle causes the original fruity aromas to be replaced by more heavy and complex fragrances, mainly in the form of jam. In the same category belong the fragrances of leather, mushroom, soil and tobacco.

Thus, a Shiraz planted in French vineyards cannot have the same fragrances as a Shiraz planted in the land of Cyprus. In order to better recognise the smells of a wine, we recommend practicing. Go out in the streets, in the parks, in the markets and record the smells you recognise around you. You can do the same while tasting a wine, capturing the impressions, flavours and fragrances.