Lemon, cedar, orange, bergamot. Citrus hints in white wines.

aromas citrus

Citrus aromas are “top” notes, in other words, powerful scents that go straight to your nose: we immediately notice them (just 2-3 seconds from inhalation); just as they are quick to manifest, they are also quick to vanish.

In a bouquet of perfumes, citrus notes are the first contact that the nose and curiosity must capture, inviting us to go further. These are notes that disappear quickly, as they are volatile, but which give a unique olfactory imprint to the whole bouquet.

All the citrus scents have in common the presence of the highly concentrated limonene molecule. Many other molecules are added to limonene to give the particular unique nuances of every different fruit. Among these molecules; citral in lemon, some aldehydes in orange, linalool in lime, linalyl acetate in bergamot, etc.

Below is a brief review of the main citrus scents found in white wines:

  • Lemon is present in many dry white wines. For example in those obtained from Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon, Soave, Riesling, Moscato, Cava, Muscadet, Chenin blanc and in Prosecco grapes.
  • Lime is a scent that develops more easily in wines obtained from grapes grown in cooler areas. Some examples of vines that can express this scent well are Vermentino, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Sauterne and Muscadet.
  • The Orange aroma is more marked in wines obtained from vines grown in warmer years or areas. For example in Gewürtztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Madeira and Cava. It can take on the nuance of bitter orange or sweet orange/dogwood.  
  • The Grapefruit aroma can be found in Sauvignon Blanc, Gewrüztraminer, Vermentino.
  • Citron can be clearly perceived in some Proseccos of the Prosecco Asolo Superiore appellation, in Verdicchio di Matelica, in Malvasia and in some Sauvignon Blanc from Friuli.
  • Bergamot is a very characteristic aroma which is distinguished from all the others by a relatively low content of the limonene molecule. It can be found in many wines and in particular in some traditional method sparkling wines of Franciacorta.

Train your sense of smell to recognize the different citrus fruits. Click here.

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