Definition - What does Bouquet mean?

Bouquet is a wine tasting term that refers to the complex scents and smells developed during wine aging. It is used by wine critics and reviewers in conjunction with nose and aroma to describe the smells of a wine, though sometimes these three terms are used interchangeably.

The term bouquet is most commonly used to refer to the smells of wines that have aged and matured significantly. Young wines only have a bouquet when the vintage itself is extraordinary enough to have developed complex notes early in the maturation process.

WineFrog explains Bouquet

There are three types of smells/scents in a wine - primary, secondary and tertiary. These three smells make up the nose of a wine. The tertiary scents are referred to as the bouquet, and they are imparted into the wine through the aging vessel (oak barrels or bottle) or through the type of fermentation (malolactic fermentation, which occurs after primary fermentation).

Oak barrels give wines vanilla and clove notes; while malolactic fermentation imparts butterscotch and other buttery characters. The bouquet takes years to develop, which means the term is usually only used for older wines that improve with age. In young wines, the aromas are fruity and floral; in older wines, they are marked by leather, nuts, spices and other smells that have more depth and are usually less "sweet". It is used on occasion for young wines that come from a superb vintage and have bouquet notes that are developing now rather than later.

As with any wine’s nose, the best way to get a good sense of the smells is to fill a wine glass 1/3 of the way full - make sure you’re using one that’s created for that wine type (there are white wine glasses and red wine glass); then swirl the wine for 10 seconds; this agitates the molecules, releasing the smells into the air, which collect and are focused by the top ring of the glass.

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