We have an intimate relationship with this sacred drink that is inseparably linked to human history. We once chose wines according to how we were taught or what was expected of us, but we now opt for wines we want. Our selections are completely subjective, and each of us relates to wine in our own way. For some, wine expands the imagination; others find it opens the mind. It is a complex, evolving pleasure.
We are born with smell, the voluptuous sense, and it develops throughout childhood. To evaluate an odor and find the right word to describe it is not difficult: Just rekindle the wonderful smells that recall nature, cooking, your home, perfumes – everything that marked your childhood. Pull them out with a few olfactory emotions, because these instincts are printed in our genetic memory and stimulate life. They are an integral part of our personalities and affirm our being female.
Wine must always remain a simple pleasure.
Discover which wines have aromas that please you and pair them with your favorite dishes. Observe your wines expressing their aromatic palettes throughout the meal. It is exciting to let their living and unique personalities unfold in your glass.
Express yourself using plain words. Stay away from the boring technical terms used by professionals and don’t be influenced by your entourage. Talk about wine with joy and emotion, remember your feelings, and never forget that wine, like a perfume, is something personal.
Do not deprive yourself. Every chance you get, try wines of different appellations. Keep trying wines from different regions, unknown vineyards and unfamiliar grapes. This is the only way that you can “train” your palette.
Knowing the Signature of Grape Variety
It’s important to differentiate between two types of fragrances: Primary aromas come from the different varieties of grapes; and secondary aromas are products of fermentation, alcohol, tannins and yeast. You’ll have an excellent idea of what a wine is like if you know the grapes inside, and you can describe it with a simple but exact terminology.
Several kinds of grapes are known as “aromatic.” They are also the best known and easy to identify. You’ll quickly learn them as they will seduce your taste buds.
The Pleasure of Wine Aromas
A prime example is MUSCAT Even after being made into wine, it leaves the lingering impression that you’ve just bitten into a sweet Muscat grape, softness and smoothness are irresistible.
GAMAY is easily identified by its “easy-to-drink” and fruity bouquet taste of young wines. This precocious grape is the principal ingredient of Beaujolais Nouveau, and is also found in the Loire Valley, Lyon, Auvergne, and Savoy. It has been planted internationally in South Africa, Australia, Argentina, Chile, and in Switzerland. In North America, it is found in Canada, Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and California.
GEWURTRAMINER, with its rich aromas, generosity, and fat is symbolic of Alsace. It is also present in southern Chile and New Zealand.
Wine made from RIESLING is fresh and nervous, with aromas that vary according to nature and its soil. It can range from being fruity with notes of honey to a mineral taste with petrol undertones.
We are used to finding SAUVIGNON in Sancerre and Graves, and now virtually all the world’s wine regions offer its shimmering palette of broom, elderberry, iris and black currant leaves. It manifests in some Graves as fruity peach and apricot. When blended with MUSCADELLE and SEMILLON, associated with noble rot, its powerful sugars charm our taste buds in Sauternes.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON is undoubtedly the grape the palate associates with Bordeaux. Its basic aromas can vary depending where it is grown, the climate, soil and its maturity. The Cabs produce the great wines for aging (Médoc) thanks to their structure and high tannin content. Dominated by black currant, raspberry, cedar and black pepper, it also gives green pepper vegetal notes.
PINOT NOIR is another grape that delights our taste buds. We are seduced by its youthful delicacy and notes of red fruit, cherry, strawberry and cassis. It’s a grape of amazing contrasts: Pinot Noir from Alsace, with a light structure and little body, can hardly be compared to some Pinot Noirs from Burgundy or California with their powerful tannins. Other Pinots, like those found in Chambolle-Musigny, are the personification of femininity with harmonious, smooth, and flexible characters.
MERLOT gains fans who appreciate powerful and richly colored wines that retain their softness. It offers a remarkable array of aromas ranging from plum, underbrush, and truffle to venison and leather. This is the principal grape in Pomerol and explains that wine’s great popularity. It is also widely used in Saint-Emilion and other Bordeaux, and it is found in California and throughout the world.
The SYRAH grown in the brilliant sun of the Languedoc has a nose marked by ripe black fruit (blackberry) and powerful spice (pepper). It is generous in the mouth, and you’ll detect a hint of garrigue. A Cornas will subtly reveal violet notes before unleashing blueberry and cassis, all in a dense and harmonious context. However, the noble Syrah is queen of the Rhone Valley. Here she reveals the full extent of her complexity and is responsible for the majestic Hermitage, the elegant Côte-Rôtie, and the coveted Saint-Joseph and Condrieu.
If the GRENACHE NOIR seduces our nose with its exuberance, its because you can compare it to a basket of ripe fruit. In a Chateauneuf-du-Pape the first impression is often alcohol, but our female noses will not be fooled. The complex aromas reveal animal notes, spices, and fruits like prune, cherry, and strawberry. These wines can be enjoyed at low temperatures. In France, GRENACHE is found mainly in the southern vineyards where the soil and climate imparts rich and powerful aromas. It can produce very fine red wines in arid climates. It is also the backbone of the Tavel and Lirac rosé wines in the Rhne Valley.
The CABERNET FRANC grape, called “Cab Franc” in the U.S., is in Loire Valley wines like Bourgueil, St. Nicolas de Bourgueil and Chinon. These fruity wines have pleasing aromas of fresh fruit, raspberry, and blackcurrant and are lightly colored with a rounded body. These wines can be drunk young. The Cabernet Franc is also one of the main grapes blended in Bordeaux with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
CHARDONNAY is originally from Burgundy. It is now found throughout the world and, depending on its vineyard’s location, is a major ingredient in extraordinary wines. The best known of these are Meursault, Corton-Charlemagne, Puligny-Montrachet and Chablis. It has a sweeping aromatic scale in which you can detect ripe apples, acacia, almond, and hazelnut. It is often characterized by buttery notes and by infusions of lime. Quality Champagne is made from Chardonnay.
VIOGNIER with its rich aromas, generosity, is originally from Rhône Valley, Condrieu, it gives aromas of pears, of yellow peach, apricot, quince, violet, Iris, Acacia, but musk flowers, hazelnuts roasted and honey