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Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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flavour, arguably a wine’s most important distinguishing mark. As outlined in tasting, most of what is commonly described as wine’s flavour is in fact its aroma (or alternatively, in the case of older wines, its bouquet). This, the ‘smell’ of a wine, may be its greatest sensory characteristic, but is also the most difficult of its attributes to measure and describe. A wine’s flavour could, in its widest sense, be said to be the overall sensory impression of both aroma (as sensed both by the nose and from the mouth), and the taste components, and may therefore incorporate the other, more measurable, aspects of acidity, sweetness, bitterness, occasional saltiness, alcoholic strength, fizziness, and astringency. It has, further, been proposed that the definition of flavour be enlarged to include not just how a wine smells, tastes, and feels (including, for example, the burning sensation associated with particularly alcoholic wines), but also individual tasters’ psychological predetermination, the all-important factor of subjectivism including personal preferences, expectations, and allergies and intolerances determined by individuals’ cultural, regional, psychological, and physical influences. (See philosophy and wine.) In this book, however, the word flavour is used interchangeably with aroma. See also flavour compounds and flavour precursors.