FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950-2000

“Damp Earth” and “Burnt Toast”

Wine aroma, taste, and mouth feel (texture) are influenced by a host of factors: variety of grape, characteristics of climate and soil, particular viticultural practices employed, ripeness of the grapes at harvest, type of yeast used during fermentation, and wine-making practices. Researchers have worked to identify the hundreds of volatile compounds that affect aroma and flavor. Wine is meant to change over time, with its aromas evolving in the bottle and even in the glass. The terms on the wheel include aromas as diverse as “orange blossom” and “wet dog.”

Wine wheel

Wine wheel

In 1984, sensory scientist Ann C. Noble developed a lexicon of terms for describing wine aromas. Originally intended for use by her colleagues at Davis, Noble’s “wine wheel” was popularized by wine enthusiasts and translated into various languages.

Gift of Ann C. Noble

Scientist Ann C. Noble, 1985

Scientist Ann C. Noble, 1985

Courtesy of Richard Steven Street/Streetshots