Tasting Notes

aroma wheel

Food scientist Ann Noble invented the Aroma Wheel while employed at the University of California-Davis in the mid-1970s. Over the decades, her model – which breaks wine scent down into twelve broad categories and then continues to delineate each into more specific components – has eased difficulties in wine-tasting by providing cues to unidentifiable smells and flavors. We worked with Noble’s creation while blind-tasting six wines listed by glass, the majority of which were new. Here were the findings*.


  1. Fruity, with notes of citrus and tree fruit (apple)*
  2. Floral, suggesting orange blossom; Microbiological, with intonation of lees (expired yeast cells that intone cream) and yogurt: Woody, with implied vanilla
  3. Fruity, with tree fruits apple and peach; Woody with vanilla and oak


  1. Fruity, especially showing dried fruit like prune and strawberry jam*
  2. Earthy, with characters of dust; Chemical with fairly expressed kerosene; Fruity with berry fruit (black currant)
  3. Expressive, with Herbaceous qualities like canned/cooked black olive; Fruity ones like [berry fruit] blackberry jam; and Woody elements like smoke and [resinous] cedar.


In order of sampling, the wines were:

  1. Hess Chardonnay
  2. Bonanno Chardonnay
  3. Trefethen Chardonnay
  4. Alamos Malbec
  5. Mountain Door Malbec
  6. Killka Malbec Blend (50% Malbec, 35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah, 5% Petit Verdot)

*Note: The first wine tasted was entry-level for each listed varietal. It was not to be assessed. Rather, it served as the initial illustration.


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