Flower Power: The Art of Smelling Flowers in Wine
Being an 80’s baby, I spent a good chunk of my childhood playing Super Mario Brothers on Nintendo. I loved seeing how fast and how far I could jump between obstacles while avoiding the many enemies trying to end my game. But my very favorite part was when I was able to obtain the “flower” power-up and start crushing everyone and everything in front of me with bouncing fireballs. I could fight and defend myself from a distance while progressing through the game.
In my limited, childish point of view, if I were to obtain the flower power-up, it was a sign that I was the best that I could be at any point of the game. These days, I play a lot less Nintendo, but I get that same feeling of invincibility and achievement when I nail the floral notes while tasting wine.
For many people, identifying the floral aromas in wine can be pretty tricky, but once you figure it out, you’re well on your way to acing a blind tasting. When you swirl the wineglass and begin smelling the wine, it’s very simple to gather what fruit aromas there are. That’s like being a smaller or normal size Mario and playing an average game. If you were able to smell any non-fruit component and flowers in your wineglass, that is the most information that you can obtain while enjoying the wine – it’s your “power up,” so to speak.
How to Taste Wine: The Sniff Test
So what’s the best way to identify the floral notes in wine?
- Pour the wine into your glass and begin to swirl. You could also cover the top of the glass or coat the inner wall of the glass and then swirl for maximum effect.
- Smell the wine with your nose near the glass, like you normally do. You’ll smell the fruit aromas and/or any dirt, vanilla, and mineral elements from the oak aging or the terroir.
- Now swirl your wineglass again and then hold it about four or five inches under your nose and smell. That distance is the key to smelling any floral notes without them being masked by more dominant – and more easily recognizable – fruit, earth, and alcohol notes.
Try These Wines
Here are six wines with distinct floral notes that define each featured varietal. Learning these will help you train your nose to sniff out similar aromas and identify the wine when blind tasting in the future.
- Flower: Bouquet of White Flowers
- Wine: Moet & Chandon Festive So Bubbly Imperial Brut, NV – $50 BUY ME
- Flower: White Roses
- Wine: Alta Vista Classic Torrontes 2013 – $11 BUY ME
- Flower: Apple Blossoms
- Wine: Grosset Alea Riesling 2015 – $37 BUY ME
- Flower: Honeysuckle
- Wine: Cristom Viognier 2014 – $34 BUY ME
- Flower: Red Rose Petals
- Wine: Elvio Cogno Cascina Nuova Barolo 2010 – $60 BUY ME
- Flower: Violets
- Wine: Catena Alta Malbec 2012 – $49 BUY ME
Mario Luna is a Certified Sommelier and owner of Mario Luna Somm, a company that produces online wine courses, blogs, and other user-friendly content that makes wine education simple, accessible, and above all, entertaining! He lives in Las Vegas where, in addition to working on the famous Las Vegas Strip, he serves as a consultant for large-scale wine events, specialty shops, and all kinds of wine tastings. You can contact Mario through mariolunasomm.com or kick of your wine education with one of his online wine courses.