For a long time I was quite frustrated with what little I could make out in a wine when smelling it. There was just too much going on and I could not identify a lot of what I smelled. It was at a professional tasting where I learned how to learn it: I sniffed on a strawberry in a closed glass, and then a cabernet sauvignon: and I now knew what I was looking for. I sniffed asparagus, and then found the notes in a silvaner. And so on…it was amazing!
This blog entry by Ross Szabo in the Huffington Post gives another valuable tip: If you cannot nail down what the smell is, note down what the memory it is that it invokes in you. Often through that you can identify what the actual nose is (his example is “pancakes” in a chardonnay – which seems to reflect the butter notes). I found this article very readable and educational…the perfect Sunday read.