Weird Wine Aromas (yes, cat pee is a thing!)

by / Friday, 26 August 2016 / Published in Drinking DIY, Random Ravings, Take a break!

Tasting wine properly can seem pretty snobbish and like people are speaking gibberish, but it’s actually not hard to learn. The first thing you need to do when tasting a wine is smell it. You’ll notice that wine glasses are deep and large enough that you can swirl the wine in the glass, this releases some of the aroma of the wine so you can smell it properly. After you’ve swirled a little bring the glass to your nose and take a good wiff. It might be hard to make out too many scents at first, but with practice you’ll begin to identify more and more. You can use the tasting notes on the bottle or menu to trigger your identification, but there are several aromas that you probably won’t find on the side of the bottle. Aromas like leather, cat pee, roses, asphalt and petrol are all commonly found in different wines and while they may seem strange, they are present in great wines.


Cat pee

cat pee

This is a common aroma found in Sauvignon Blanc. The tangy smell is reminiscent of cat urine.




I usually prefer to wear my leather over drinking it but this aroma is common in many wines with heavy tannins.




You probably don’t want to mix your wine with tobacco, but you’ll often get a wiff of cigars when drinking Cabernet Sauvignon.





You’ll often hear people mention a barnyard smell when tasting wine, this basically means the wine smells of manure. Sounds awful, right? But this marks some of my favorite wines like Pinot Noir.





Okay, a little more pleasant than the smell of manure but still not what you’d expect from something made of fermented grapes. You’ll find this aroma in many different types of wine including Gamay, Sangiovese and Grenache





There’s nothing better than the smell of wet asphalt right? Well, this can be true in a nice white wine with medium acidity.





The smell of petrol or gasoline is actually a sign of a well-aged Riesling.


These aromas may seem strange, but don’t let them put  you off. They’re subtle or identifying them will make your wine tasting more interesting and fulfilling.

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