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The Nose Knows

The smell of a wine is often referred to as its aroma, bouquet, or nose (an old British-ism that combines the two). Technically, however, aroma and bouquet are completely different. Aroma is used to describe smells associated with a young wine. A young pinot noir, for example, can have a plummy aroma. Bouquet, on the other hand, describes the smell of a wine that’s been aged for a considerable period of time, during which all of the initial smells have evolved and coalesced into something far more complex. Bouquets (unlike aromas) are almost impossible to describe. Which is why, when it comes to old wine, you’ll often read a comment like: “phenomenal bouquet” but no list of specific adjectives.

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