le nez du vin blanc

Everything you need to know about the nose of white wine

Wine tasting takes place in several stages, allowing the wine to be described and evaluated down to the smallest detail. After the visual examination, the wine lover carries out the olfactory analysis of the wine, in order to determine the odors emanating from the wine and to deduce certain information. Obviously, all wines have unique characteristics. Let us then focus on the nose of white wine .


What is the nose of a wine?

If the color of the wine allows us to analyze the color, and the mouth of the wine allows us to identify the aromas, the nose of the wine allows us to discover the bouquet of the wine , in other words, its smells.

An intermediate step between visual analysis and gustatory analysis, olfactory examination uses the sense of smell, one of the five most powerful senses in humans. This is certainly the most difficult stage of a white wine tasting , because it essentially requires olfactory memory.


The stages of the wine nose examination

Examining the nose of wine requires a lot of concentration and an odor-neutral environment, in order to be able to perfectly smell and feel the olfactory characteristics of the wine. The taster then proceeds in two stages.

  • The first nose : as a first intention, wine lovers place themselves above the glass to smell the scents that emerge from it. This is when we determine if the wine has a defect, such as cork taint, acetic acid (vinegar taste), or a sign of oxidation. The first nose also allows you to identify the most marked aromas;
  • The second nose , or second nose: this step requires a slight movement of the glass, in order to rotate the wine. This allows the wine to aerate and release the aromas. The second nose then gives information on the origin of the wine (wine-growing region, grape variety, etc.), the vinification method used by the winemaker, and the degree of maturation of the wine.


The different smells of white wines

The two stages of the olfactory analysis of white wines allow you to distinguish the aromas. They are then classified into several categories.

  • Floral notes: acacia, rose, violet...;
  • Fruity notes: banana, quince, peach, red fruits, citrus fruits, dried fruits...;
  • Vegetal notes: lime, hay...;
  • Chemical notes: sharp, stale, oxidized, alcoholic...;
  • Animal notes: musky, foxy, truffle...;
  • Balsamic notes: pine, vanilla, resinous...;
  • Woody notes: smoked, cooked, caramelized...;
  • Spicy notes: nutmeg, pepper, cloves...


The different characteristics of the nose of white wines

By highlighting the different aromas and olfactory perceptions felt, you will then be able to determine the characteristics of the wine , and know if it is suitable for serving. You will then be able to evaluate several criteria.

Open wine and closed wine

You may have heard wine enthusiasts talk about “closed wine.” This means that the wine delivers very few aromas at first nose, or even that it is mute. This does not mean, however, that the wine will be bland and not very expressive. Indeed, a closed wine is generally a wine which is in a transitional phase of its evolution. For it to express its full potential, all you have to do is decant it. Sufficient aeration allows the wine to open .

So, if you are faced with a very aromatic white wine, on the first as well as the second nose, this means that it has undergone a good aeration, and that it is perfect for consumption. On the other hand, if the aromas are not very strong and the white wine is closed, it may be wise to let it air out for some time before tasting.

Aromas for each stage of winemaking

During a tasting, the wine releases 3 types of aromas:

  • The primary aromas come directly from the vinified grape. For white wine, we can then get an idea of ​​the grape varieties and wine-growing regions, and discover floral, fruity, mineral or vegetal aromas;
  • Secondary aromas develop during fermentation. In white wine, we find notes of brioche and butter;
  • Tertiary aromas intervene during the evolution of white wine. They are also called aging aromas. In white wine, we find aromas of dried fruits, toast or honey.


You are now ready to discover all the riches of the nose of a white wine . But getting there takes a lot of practice. Do not hesitate to visit the tasting cellar of the Domaine de Berne to learn more and discover our Provence wines.


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