Technique

Maximize Wine Aromatics

Getting and keeping attractive aromatics is a major goal of winemaking, home or commercial, and it isn’t easy. It is a goal and a concern at every step along the way, from harvest to bottle aging; it’s not something you do all at once, like tannin extraction during fermentation. The aromatic calculus for whites differs from that for reds, and aromatics in young wines are a world apart from the aromatics of well-aged wines. There are lots of places where you can do things in your home winery to amplify aroma, which are also the same places you can let them slip away. White Wines Some white grapes are generally referred to as aromatic varieties: floral ones, like Gewürztraminer, Muscat, Viognier, Riesling and Chenin Blanc, and the aggressively herbal Sauvignon Blanc. Any white wine will have something to smell, but these varieties are especially known and prized for their aromatics. Riesling is a somewhat special case. While many of the aromatic varieties are dominated by a single volatile compound — monoterpenes (floral) for Muscat, methoxypyrazine (grassy) for Sauvignon Blanc, β-damascenone