Primary, secondary and tertiary aromas in wine

Aroma is one of the essential components of wine. When we do a tasting, the olfactory phase is very important and gives us a fairly precise idea of ​​what type of wine we are going to find when we taste it. Wine aromas are classified into three categories: primary, secondary and tertiary.
These aromas appear in the different phases of vinification and even evolve or disappear over time. They are the following;

Primary aromas: The primary aromas are determined by the vine itself, although other factors also influence, such as the weather, the cultivation area and the vineyard soil. We can identify many of them just by squeezing the grape grain and, when the wine is young, they are the easiest to identify.
The primary aromas provide floral notes (jasmine, acacia, hawthorn, carnation, honeysuckle, hyacinth, orange blossom, rose, lilac, etc.) and fruity notes (blackcurrant, strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, apple, peach, pear, apricot, citrus). , lemon, quince, pineapple, mango, lychee, etc.), as well as minerals from the ground (iodine, chalk, flint…) and, in some varieties, spices, such as aromas of pepper, nutmeg or cloves.
For example, in the Tempranillo variety grapes, present in all our red wines, we find notes of red fruits, such as strawberries, raspberries, picotas, currants, liquorice…
In the case of the Sauvignon Blanc variety to make our white wine, we find herbaceous notes such as freshly cut grass, as well as flowers, tropical fruits and citrus.

Secondary aromas: The secondary aromas come from the fermentation phase of the wine (alcoholic and malolactic). It is in this phase where the notes of yeast, breadcrumbs, butter, cake, bakery, yogurt, etc. appear. The higher or lower intensity of these aromas is determined by the fermentation process, the temperature at which it is carried out, etc.

Tertiary aromas: Finally, the tertiaries appear during the aging phase of the wine. For this reason, they are also known as evolution aromas. Whether in tanks, oak barrels or in the bottles themselves, during the aging phase the aromas are modified. It is with the appearance of these tertiary aromas that we speak of the wine’s “bouquet”.
Why does this evolution occur? Basically due to the supply of oxygen, which causes chemical actions that modify the balance of these aromas and transforms them. For example, if the wines are aged in barrels, those aromas of wood, vanilla, toasted or roasted appear. In the bottle, they can turn towards ripe and stewed fruit or even leather in red wines; and nuts and honey in the case of whites.
Keep in mind that wine is a living element that continues to evolve throughout its life, including, of course, its aromas. If we leave a wine stored for a long time, especially if we do not keep it in good condition, these aromas can evolve negatively or disappear.
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