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“This wine is summer in the glass with aromas of white peach, honeysuckle and wet beach stones washing over flavors of apricots, green gage plums and ripe honeydew melon.” Tastings notes like this one, describing Bedell Cellars’ 2010 Viognier, can be very complex and intimidating to newbie wine drinkers. Our taste buds can only discern four flavors: sweet, sour, salt and bitter. Our noses, however can pick up on thousands of subtle variations.

This tasting wheel is a starting point for identifying the nuances in flavor and aroma of different wines. If a wine tastes fruity, it can be broken down into a citrus, berry, tree fruit, tropical fruit or dried or cooked fruit and then further identified as a wide range of specific fruits, from grapefruit and lemon to raisins and prunes.

From tobacco, oak and cedar to geranium, black pepper and sauerkraut, there are a seemingly endless number of ways to describe the tastes and smells of wine. Use this handy tasting wheel at your next wine event to see if your palate perceives what the winemaker intended.

COURTESY PHOTO | A tasting wheel of flavors and aromas of wine.