Tasting Terms: Terms used for aroma

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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It is in their attempts to find ‘character terms’ to apply to these more subtle, more private olfactory sensations that wine tasters can seem so foolish.

Some ‘idioterms’ are just plain fanciful, descriptions obviously applied in sheer desperation at the apparent impossibility of the task. In this category come the ‘fading but well-mannered old lady’, and who can forget James Thurber’s ‘naive domestic burgundy but I think you’ll be amused by its presumption’? A more recent example is ‘sexy’, an increasingly common, but delightfully imprecise, tasting term.