Alright- so you’ve picked out some scents. You sniffed the wine, you pushed past the “Wine” smell, and you recognized some fruits or flowers or savory scents in your glass. The next thing to look at is are those smells fresh or manipulated? How the scents present themselves will tell you if the wine is aging. So let’s take a closer look.
If you smelled lemon- is it a fresh lemon that you’d use to squeeze into your tea, or is it a lemon curd or jam? Is it candied zest? If you smelled apples- is it the smell of a fresh apple you just bit into as a healthy snack to keep that doctor away? Or is it a baked apple or a bruised apple? If you smelled flowers- are those flowers in a bouquet or dried? Are you getting baking spices? Smoked wood? Cedar box? The more mature the scents are, the older the wine is getting.
So earlier we talked about how when wines age we talked about how their colors change- the vibrant blues or the fresh greens fade and are replaced with ruby or straw yellow, as that is happening, at the very same time, their scents are also changing. When wines are young, their scents are ripe and smell young. You’ll get those awesome lemon or green apple- fresh fruits . However as those wines start to develop in the bottle, and get a little older, those scents change too. This is where you might start smelling things like candied lemon peel, or apple butter, bruised apple, peach jam, raisins, dried flowers, or even more savory scents like cedar box, or smoked meats.
My general rule of thumb is if the fruits or flowers smell like they have been manipulated in some way (baked, candied, jammed) the aging process has begun. The older the wine gets, the more those fruit scents will lessen and the more savory scents will appear. Its a fascinating process to observe.