To judge the quality of the bouquet, we must take all parameters (the stage of development, the degree of intensity, the persistency, the maturity of the fruit, and the scent of wood) and put them together to set up a basis that combines logic, coherence, and pleasure.
We can precisely define the aromatic expression of the bouquet in five shades: excellent, refined, discreet, mediocre, and poor.
A great wine profits from further aging to express its excellence unreservedly. It is important to make it clear that price is not relevant here. A ten dollar wine can prove as excellent as one that costs a hundred in terms of its quality, if there is truly a logic in its persistency, its integrity, the maturity of the fruit, etc.
A wine of redefined quality can be recognized by its elegance, its complexity, and the subtlety that makes it very persistent, as well as a respect for the fruit, which is at its best.
A wine lacking in complexity but nonetheless pleasant to drink, one that is young and has no pretension of aging, is considered discreet.
However, when the wine is too woody, or has dominant vegetal accents, or is the product of overripe grapes, there is not much that is positive to describe it, and it is definitely of mediocre quality.
When a wine is poor, it is simply not pleasant to drink. This can be due to an odour of decay or of corked wine, or to volatile acidity (with its vinegary smell), or to oxidation.
A bouquet of “reduction” (a phenomenon that is the opposite of oxidation) is not necessarily a sign of poor quality. This scent is recognisable because it is metallic or steely, with a hint of animal or of the stable, and of sausage meat. These emanations can appear at a crucial moment of the life of the wine (particularly when it lacks oxygen after bottling) and are often only temporary. For example, among grape varieties, syrah, mourvedre, and mondeuse are particularly sensitive to this. Racking the wine, if it is in the cask, or simply decanting it from the bottle, can take care of this temporary problem. As the wine breathes, it absorbs oxygen to rid itself of unpleasant odours that mask its own fine olfactory qualities.