Tuesday, September 13, 2011

WSET Aroma List

The Wine and Spirits Education Trust has a very strict method it teaches for tasting wine. I described the Advanced method many posts ago, and now I am reading about and learning the diploma method in anticipation of new classes starting this week.

In the beginning levels, they don't care much about specifics. Does the fruit taste red or black? Is there citrus? Are the flavors fresh or stewed?  The focus is on big picture and evaluating balance.  And then with each level, the taster is asked to be more and more specific until the diploma level. Here is the approved list of flavors and aromas:

Floral -- acacia, honeysuckle, chamomile, elderflowe, geranium, generic blossom

Perfume -- rose, violet, iris, neroli, honey, soap

Green Fruit -- apple (green/ripe), gooseberry, pear, custard apple, quince, grapey, amylic

Citrus Fruit -- grapefruit, lemon, lime, zest (orange/lemon)

Stone Fruit -- peach, apricot (fresh/dried), nectarine

Tropical Fruit -- banana, lychee, mano, melon, passion fruit, pineapple

Red Fruit -- redcurrant, cranberry, rapberry, strawberry, red cherry, plum (fresh/baked)

Black Fruit -- blackcurrant, blackberry, bramble, blueberry, black cherry

Unripeness -- capsicum, grass, white pepper, leafiness, tomato, potato

Herbaceous -- grass, asparagus, blackcurrant leaf, pyrazine

Herbal -- eucalyptus, mint, medicinal, lavender, fennel, dill

Cooked -- cabbage, tinned vegetables, black olive

Sweet Spice -- cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, vanilla

Pungent -- black pepper, licorice, juniper

Autolytic -- yeast, biscuit, bread, toast, lees

Dairy -- butter, cheese, cream, yogurt

Mineral -- earth, petrol, kerosene, rubber, tar, smoke, stone/steel, wet wool

Oak -- vanilla, butterscotch, toast, cedar, charred wood, smoke, acrid, resinous

Kernal -- almond, marzipan, coconut, hazelnut, walnut, chocolate, coffee

Maturity -- vegetal, mushroom, hay, wet leaves, forest floor, tobacco, gamey, savoury

Anisoles -- mustiness, wet carboard, TCA

Brettanomyces -- animal, leather, meaty, wet plaster, vinyl, farmyard

Oxidation -- caramel, toffee, staleness, sherry, aldehydes

Volitile Acidity -- vinegar, solvents, nail polish remover

Reduction -- mercaptans, cabbage, eggs, sweat, rubber, onion, garlic, blocked drains

Other -- beetroot, rot, mold

And to answer your next question, yes, that's it. Any responses not on the list will not be graded. Which is good because it prevents bullshit like "it tastes like the white peach my first girlfriend fed me on a sticky summer....." But it also prevents things like noting the difference between bosc pears and anjou pears, which is huge. Also, being British, they have loads of stuff I've never smelled on this list, like blackcurrant leaf and custard apple. So look for my for my future post where I try to collect all these scents into my aroma kit.

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