How to Make Your Own Wine Aroma Study Kit

How to Make Your Own Wine Aroma Study Kit | How To | Learn Wine | Wine Spectator

In case you are wondering how to better your “Nose” or just how to identify the smells in your wine that everyone but you seems to pick up…. check out this create way to do at home or even with those silly wine friends of yours.

All you need to make your own wine aroma kit are a few items: some local fruit from your supermaket, wine glasses and a neutral white or red wine.  Before you head to the supermarket, take with you a taking list of things you commonly expect to smell in the wines you are going to taste. That is if you have a particular wine in mind that you would like to better understand. In order to get these smells, just look up online “Wine characteristics” + “wine variety” you want to understand better like Pinot Noir, Riesling or Cabernet Sauvingnon.

For example, if I want to better understand what a Tempranillo (variety) from Spain smells like, I would pick up some black berries, sour cherries,strawberry, piece of clean leather, perhaps even some tobacco and vanilla.   While smelling, it might help to look at a Wine Aroma wheel developed by Ann Noble: to help you identify the wines post this experiment. You can also find visual versions of this online if you type in “Wine Aroma Wheel”

Thanks to Wine Spectator, they have laid out how to do it with precision. In the past, I’ve used an oz. of neutral cheap box wine and placed the berries, fruit or spices into the glass, let it sit and swirl and smell. This is a more precise and easy to follow method.

Enjoy this little experiment!

What you will need:

  • One glass for each aroma standard you plan to make
  • One bottle of an inexpensive, neutral white wine such as Pinot Grigio or Colombard is enough to make 10 to 12 white wine aroma standards
  • One bottle of an inexpensive, neutral red wine such as Merlot or Beaujolais is enough to make 10 to 12 red wine aroma standards


  • Mark each glass so you know which aroma it will contain; write the name of each aroma on a small sticker (the removable kind are best) and label each glass.
  • Pour 2 ounces or 4 tablespoons of wine into each wineglass.
  • Add the indicated amount of each aroma ingredient to its own glass of wine and let it soak for an hour or so.
  • After the hour is up, remove any solid ingredients.
  • Swirl and sniff each glass of wine so you can become familiar with the aroma that has been added to it.
  • Next, test yourself by transferring each sticker to the bottom of its glass where it can’t be read. Then shuffle the glasses. Swirl and sniff the standards. Can you identify any of them?
  • White Wine Aroma Ingredient
    Lemon A small portion of fresh lemon peel and one teaspoon lemon juice
    Grapefruit A small portion of fresh grapefruit peel and one teaspoon grapefruit juice
    Pineapple One teaspoon pineapple juice
    Melon A chunk of ripe cantaloupe
    Peach A chunk of ripe peach or one tablespoon syrup from canned peaches
    Pear A chunk of ripe pear or one tablespoon syrup from canned pears
    Green grass Three crushed blades of green grass
    Honey One teaspoon honey (stir to dissolve)
    Vanilla One drop vanilla extract
    Nutmeg A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
    Smokey Oak One drop Liquid Smoke, available in many supermarket spice sections
    Red Wine Aroma Ingredient
    Strawberry Two crushed ripe or frozen strawberries
    Strawberry jam One teaspoon of strawberry jam (stir to dissolve)
    Cherry Two crushed ripe cherries or a tablespoon of juice from canned cherries
    Mint One drop of mint extract or a crushed mint leaf (spearmint or peppermint)
    Green Pepper A quarter of a green pepper, diced
    Black Pepper A few grains of freshly ground black pepper
    Chocolate One teaspoon of powdered cocoa or shaved chocolate
    Coffee About 1/8 teaspoon ground coffee
    Tobacco One small pinch of cigarette or pipe tobacco
    Vanilla One drop vanilla extract
    Smokey Oak One drop Liquid Smoke, available in many supermarket spice sections

Special thanks to “Wine Spectator- How to” Section. For more information and learn more on wine, please check out .

Summer of Rose

As a red wine drinker, I used to only love reds, all the time but as my palate matured, I realized that I needed to start re-educating my palate to other wines. I realized that I adore Rose, especially from the same grape varietals I normally drink as reds, such as a Rose of Pinot Noir, of Cabernet Sauvignon, of Tempranillo, and of Sangiovese.

Recently, I received a wonderful bottle of Rose from Willamette Valley, it was like biting into a watermelon that was soaked in strawberry and nectarine juice and had a crispness to it that made you want to drink more and more of it. This is a dangerous thing, especially by the pool. It is made by Real Nice Winemakers called Shallow Seas. It is a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling sourced from some of the best vineyards in Willamette Valley.

This is my kind of “Rose all day” kind of poolside sipper!


It most recently received 90 points from Wine Enthusiast but honestly, I am more of one to try the wine and decide whether I like it or not and I do really love this rose. It is crisp and super drinkable. At $18, you really can’t go wrong but hurry as it is almost sold out!


Another very enjoyable Rose came from Lodi, called d’Art and it is a Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon, which we paired with some great steaks poolside. It was a great pairing and one I plan to do again.  To me, on the nose, it had this strawberry, watermelon, grapefruit and rose scent. On the palate, it had medium acidity with a lasting finish that had bright fruited yet some herbaceousness, that was quite enjoyable. I also love that their wine label art differs from wine to wine. At $22, this balanced wine is sure end of summer BBQ hit!

Lodi has a great number of varietals that they use to make a variety of wines, if you have a chance, this is an incredible area to visit and while famous for their Zinfandel, grow over 125 varieties and this diversity is reflected in our rosés. They have rosés made from Carignan, Grenache and Garnacha, Barbera, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Zinfandel. Learn more at Lodi Wine.

Make sure to get these before they sell out for the season! Cheers!

Slow Food Nations Festival Coming to Denver

As a foodie, I love food events that showcase not only food but the history behind it. In this case, you get a chance to learn not only about the history but the future of the food you eat every day. On July 13-15, Slow Food USA will be holding their annual Slow Food Nations Festival in downtown Denver. This event will include free and paid events so there is really something for everyone, even kids.

For families, there is the free Taste Marketplace and Eat street and the Zero Waste Family Meal which features chefs collaborating on a delicious family meal created from the festival’s food scraps. This is likely going to be a meal to remember!

For those interested in workshops, there are some great ones like Slow Wine 101 and The Magical Mix of Cheese, Beer and Charcuterie for around $50 a workshop.  Who doesn’t love a little bit of alcohol while learning something incredible about the food and drink they consume every day? Not every workshop showcases alcohol, there are a number of other workshops focusing on honey, grain, and olive oil as well.

For the foodie/wine lover in me, Raj Patel is coming and I am super excited to hear this free talk with Gail Myers and Tom Philpott during “The Impact of Capitalism on Food.”

The best part of this is that is all located in downtown Denver at Larimer Square. Make sure to pick up some tickets soon as they will most likely sell out. I better go get my Colorado Fare dinner tickets now!

About Slow Food Nations: 

Slow Food Nations is a festival of flavor, culture and exploration. From the Taste Marketplace and Eat Street, to workshops and family fun, we’re taking over Larimer Square in downtown Denver. Kick it off with an opening party featuring the best of Colorado, and connect with farmers and artisans, chefs and food lovers over the weekend.

The festival is free and open to the public, with select ticketed workshops, talks and tastings. July 13-15, 2018. 

Click here for more information on their schedule.

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