Cheers – It’s wine!!

It’s the equivalent of continuing education classes for wine. The learning process is never finished. Even casual wine drinkers can eventually reach the place where “flavor”, ‘taste” or “mouth-feel” are essential subjects. Are you a wine drinker or a wine-loving experience?

Although obsession might seem extreme, the experience of wine is greatly enhanced when it is focused on its aroma, flavor and texture. What is the real question? Are you getting 100% enjoyment from your bottle of wine? Then, try to bring the full experience of the bottle of wine into your conscious.

A PhD is required to fully comprehend the science behind wine enjoyment. This is why the wine trade is so interested in the science behind wine taste, aroma, flavor, and mouth-feel. Ann Noble, a former University of California Davis professor, is one of the most prominent figures in this research. Dr. Noble is a leading expert in the interaction of flavor and aroma. He also invented the Wine Aroma Wheel. Henry Wedler (a candidate for his PhD) is an expert on fine wine chemistry. His area of expertise is the chemistry in fine wines. This includes the primary senses olfaction (perceptions of aromas) and taste (perceived as a result of gustation). He also has a keen understanding of the sensation of touch (nociception), which relates to the senses mouth-feel (perceived as sense of texture).

We can learn from Dr. Noble and others how wine tastes with food and what it is like to drink. It is important to remember that wine should not be consumed as a drinker’s beverage. (Though craft beers may seem similar in complexity to wine, there are many people who will argue otherwise. It is mental work to understand why we like certain art, much like wine art appreciation.

There are many quotes by famous people that speak to the artistry and beauty of wine. But without knowing the details of taste, aroma/aromas, or how wine feels in the mouth, it would not be possible to fully explain the art of wine. Dr. Noble, Mr. Wedler and others from the wine industry and academia put words to wine’s music.

Dr. Noble provided context to the discussion on flavor/taste/aroma and mouth-feel in his research. Dr. Noble explained that “you cannot separate taste, smell, and mouth-feel and still have a meaningful discussion. The three are inextricably connected.” Let me prove my point. Take a glass of unknown liquid and hold it up to your nose. Then, try to describe the taste. It’s impossible, because our brains need additional references for taste and smell.

The flavor, aroma, as well as the sensation of the mouth are all important aspects of wine character. Some wines we enjoy are those that have been influenced by the way our brains reacts to these cues. To be precise, “olfactory” inputs from wine (aroma substances) activate our “olfactory button”. The signals sent from the mouthfeel and taste receptors to the brain are integrated in the prefrontal orbitocortex. The brain controls taste/flavor preferences, and it can be reprogrammed with additional experiences to alter perceptions. It was the first time we tried something and it wasn’t what we expected.


Dr. Noble was at UC Davis when he created the Davis Wine Aroma Wheel. It is a round depiction of three concentric rings radiating around the center of the wheel diagram. Each piece of this pie chart contains more complex descriptors with a multitude of descriptions of wine aromas. The Aroma Wheel’s 12 basic descriptors could be called macro-aromas. However, the outer ring contains a more detailed set of 125 notes that can be used to describe how a person might be feeling about wine. You might find a micro-smell that is not expected to be the same as the top-level vegetation smell.

The Aroma Wheel allows wine drinkers to be precise in analyzing the aromas of wine. It eventually will make it possible for wine lovers to become able to identify and organize their thoughts in such a way that Wheel no longer is necessary.

Evidently, if someone’s brain (processing the olfactory inputs) tells them that there is an aroma, like tobacco coming through, then tobacco is not part or winemaking process. Welder explained that aromas are created when chemical compounds in wine interact with alcohol or yeast. Further, wine’s aromas can get more complex with age, especially when it is in a bottle. Dr. Noble wrote a 1996 paper entitled “Taste-AromaInteractions”. Volatiles were frequently mentioned. These volatiles in wine are the esters produced by compounds that produce the delicious aromas in wine.

Wedler claims that human blood and red wine are the most complicated areas of assimilation. There are estimated to be more than 1,000 compounds in red wine and the human perception of what the aromas are, are decoded by a person’s-physiological perspective, psychological make-up, perceptions and how our brains have cataloged our experiences with taste, aromas and mouth feel. Wedler explained that even when someone is angry about a situation their mood can change and impact the wine’s aroma and taste. It is important to stay positive and enjoy wine.

The question that begs to be answered is “Where did the aroma compounds come?” Dr. Noble explains that the aroma compounds are formed from the variety of grapes, the management of vineyards, winemakers’ technique, aging, as well as the “region or origin” or the terroir. In extreme cases, the atmosphere in the vineyard can impact the development and aromas of the grapes and wine.

There are ongoing discussions regarding the alcohol levels in today’s wine. However, alcohol is an important component of the aroma composition. Some winemakers report that wines with more alcohol taste sweeter. However studies of model wines revealed that wines with higher alcohol levels were more bitter. Winemakers can influence the taste and aroma of wine by controlling alcohol or sugar content.


A person’s enthusiasm for wine flavors is driven by aromas. Each time we eat, drink or drink, we experience aroma and taste interactions. Normal eating conditions can lead to simultaneous perceptions of aroma and flavor, along with tactile sensations (mouthfeel), that all contribute to the overall impression of flavor. “Tastes can increase apparent intensity aromas,” says Dr. Noble in her 1996 research.

Wine is enjoyable because of the taste stimuli that the brain perceives through oral and nasal communication. “Flavor” is defined as “psychologically interpreting a physiological response of a physical stimulus.” For wine to be tasteful, it must have distinct sensations (mouth-feel), such that you can appreciate the flavors.

Aroma and flavor are often associated with flavor. This is because the variety and origin play an important role. The winemaker becomes involved in the following tasks: crushing, handling of juice, fermentation techniques, pressing, ageing (oak, stainless steel, etc. ), blending and finalization. The finishing process is used to balance the acid levels of the wine before it is bottled. Most people purchase wine for their flavor. There are many tasks in this process that have an impact on the flavor.

Research suggests that aroma and taste are both learned skills. It is just how the brain works. For example, the orchestra of wine’s performances is controlled by the taste/flavor. The tongue perceives only four tastes: salty, sweet and salty. The music of wine is what the nose must hear. The wine must be evenly dispersed throughout your mouth. Although tannins don’t have any flavors, they can make your mouth feel fuller.

In “Taste Aroma Interactions”, it is stated that about 80% of taste will vanish if there is no nasal cavity or nose. You can say that the ethanol vapors of a freshly opened wine bottle can leave a lasting sensation in your nose.


Dr. Richard Gawel, Department of Horticulture, Viticulture and Oenology, University of Adelaide, Australia, took a leaf from UC Davis and created a Mouth-feel Tsting Wheel. His efforts mirror those of Dr. Noble in defining precise terms to describe the mouth-feel attributes.

The Mouthfeel Wheel contains 68 descriptors. Some appear to overlap taste/flavor. A sub category called “spice” is included in the “Irritation” category of the Wheel. Aroma Wheel also has a category called “spice”.

Texture can also be used to describe Mouthfeel. It is a way for the tongue to recognize low alcohol, sweet or sour taste, and how it reacts to these flavors. It is the weight of a red wine versus a white wine. Understanding wine is a voluntary choice. However, it is not always a skill. It comes out of experiences on the palate, the nose, and the brain. Wedler says that 95% is due to nasal/olfactory reactions processed in the brain. Wine is art. It can be enjoyed with no explanations.

The brain decides what tastes good.

Finally, the study and application of psychology, biology, physiology, and perceptions IMPROVE our ability to appreciate wine taste/flavor, aroma, and mouthfeel. When their vocabulary improves, wine drinkers (reds or blancs) become more coherent about the descriptions of their favorite wines. Dr. Noble’s Wine Aroma Wheel is a tool that helps improve our vocabulary. As we all know vocabulary grows with age and education. The same holds true for wine. With more experience and cognitive assimilation, you will have more to say. The pleasure of wine drinking is not temporary.

“To taste wine is to savor a droplet in the river human history.”