What is an "Aromatic" White Wine?

by JJ Buckley Fine Wines

Glasses of white wine in a row on white background with various swirling patternsChances are, if you're reading this article, you're already a big fan of wine. Maybe you love winding down by sipping a glass or two of a nice, aromatic white wine.

But wait a second...aromatic white? Doesn't all wine have an aroma? What's so special about this category of wine that they get to carry the label while others don't?

These are great questions, and the answers lie in the variety of grapes used for the wines. Aromatic wines are made from varieties that give off higher amounts of natural aromas; some of these scents might be more floral or herbal while others may be heavily marked by notes of citrus.

The Science Behind the Wine

Aromatic white wines boast higher levels of terpenes. Terpenes are aromatic compounds that are found in many plants and create the various signature smells we all know and love. For example, the easily-recognized fragrances of pine, lavender, and orange peels? We've got terpenes to thank for those!

Aromatic white wines are said to have high levels of monoterpenes, a terpene subgroup that's often found in essential oils, which creates the floral and fruity scents that typically characterize them.

Popular Aromatic Whites

The list of aromatic white wines is a rather exclusive group that not too many varieties belong to. However, the good news is that, while few, they're all delicious.


This wine has a German heritage and is one of the most collectible whites around the world. It's marked mostly by sweeter aromas, like honey, lime, and green apple. Its fruity flavors — apricot, nectarine, lime, and more — are best enjoyed chilled.

Sauvignon Blanc

Another well-known aromatic white wine is Sauvignon Blanc, a drink that owes much of its popularity to French winemakers. Each sip of this crisp wine boasts flavors of citrus, gooseberry, and herbs, and it has aromas of lemongrass, gooseberries, and basil.


Gewürztraminer bears many similarities to Moscato, yet its alcohol content is higher and acidity is lower. It bears an intense aroma of lychee, which is said to smell a bit like a sweet rose, with hints of grapefruit and ginger.


Next up is Gewürztraminer's cousin, Muscat, which you may know by its other name — Moscato. This wine is made from one of the world's oldest wine grapes and is usually pretty sweet, thanks to flavors of Meyer lemon, mandarin orange, pear, orange blossom, and honeysuckle. It pairs well with almost anything, and as you sip it, you'll notice its sweet, fruity smell.


A glass of a good Viognier has aromas of chamomile, lavender, thyme, and pine. When aged, you might catch a few sweet notes of honey. It's a relatively dry but somewhat richer choice, and its most notable flavors are tangerine, peach, and honeysuckle — simply delicious!

Pinot Gris

The Pinot Gris variety is known for being refreshing and crisp, complete with noticeable acidity and flavors of fruits like lime, Meyer lemon, white nectarine, and green apple. Note its fruity aromas as you sip a glass of Pinot Gris at the end of a long day; you might even notice a faint whiff of sweet honeysuckle.


Last but certainly not least is the Argentina-born Torrontés variety. Should you sniff a freshly-poured glass of this white, you'll definitely notice scents of rose petals, geraniums, peaches, and lemon zest. But, when you take a sip, you'll find its flavor contrasts the sweet smells quite nicely. Plus, it's typically dry.

How do you serve aromatic white wines?

Most white wines can be served chilled and poured into a white wine glass. Aromatic whites are no exception. If you've splurged for a high-quality aromatic white varietal, you can serve it at a slightly warmer temperature (but still chilled). This way, you'll likely catch more of the wine's unique aromas.

Who would enjoy an aromatic white wine?

So what kind of wine drinker is most likely to enjoy one of the wines above? The kind of person who enjoys the aromas of a wine almost as much as they enjoy drinking it. However, selecting a wine you're sure to enjoy can often prove to be a challenging feat, especially since there are so many options to choose from. If you find yourself overwhelmed trying to decide if an aromatic white wine is for you, consider soliciting the assistance of on of JJ Buckley's wine consultants.

Our team of Fine Wine Specilaists are extremely knowledgeable and will provide helpful and impartial advice to help you build or expand your wine collection and offer recommendations based on your preferences.

Already know what you're looking for? Shop JJ Buckley's, wide selection online. When you visit our website, you're sure to find something to sip that fits both with your flavor preferences and price range. Consider purchasing from us and speaking with one of our wine consultants the next time you want to add something new — perhaps an aromatic white wine — to your collection.