The bouquet is the main characteristic of a good wine, though the less known. In fact, there can be beautiful flowers without smell, but there can’t be a good wine without bouquet.
But, what exactly is the bouquet? A scent, a generous and pleasant scent; its name comes from the French language, where it means “bunch of flowers”, but what else? It’s not clear. The bouwquet could be defined as “wine’s soul”, that undefinable particular that science cannot reproduce. Professional wine-tester define three kinds of bouquet, that appesr one after the other while keeping wine in the mouth; they are the primary, the secondary and the tertiary bouquet.
The primary bouquet is the original flavour of certain kinds of grapes: here in the Langhe it is typical of a wine such as the Moscato.
The secondary bouquet is made by the ferments who live in the must and transform it into wine. So, this bouquet is born while the new wine ferments, and is characterized by a winy smell, that same smell that fills the cellar in the time of the harvest, mixed with fruity flavors such as peach, prune, abricot, raspberry, or flower flavor, such as violet, rose, iris, lily of the valley, carnation, peony, or others. These flavors are so percise, that allow experts to recognize from which vineyard comes a particular wine.
In the end we have the tertiary bouquet, the final one, coming from peace and solitude of the cellars. It is originated and develops from the fruit or flower flavors, changing them into some kind of cooked meat, game, humus flavor. It is the essential bouquet, that a wine obtains with age.
Texts from “Barolo as I feel it” by M. Martinelli (ed. Sagittario 1993)