Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Wine Tasting (Part 3). Nose

Many wine tasters would consider this stage of the tasting to be the most important, this stage reveals a lot more information than can be gleaned at the appearance stage.
Swirl your wine. This releases molecules in the wine allowing you to smell the aroma, also called the bouquet or nose. After you smell the wine, sit back and contemplate the aroma. Don't try to "taste" the wine yet, concentrate only on what you smell.

1.) Take a quick whiff and formulate an initial impression, then take a second deeper whiff, we are checking the condition of the wine, does the wine smell clean, you may notice a sulphur smell (a bit like a lighting match) or a kind of musty mouldy damp smell, either of these would indicate a fault.

2.) Next note how intense the smell of the wine is, it may be described as light, medium or pronounced, if you decide that the smell is not very strong (or closed) the wine may need to open up more, this can be achieved by letting the wine breath. The best way to achieve this is by pouring the wine into a decanter to expose the wine to the air and thereby releasing the aromas from the wine.

3.)How is the wine developing? this is a bit more difficult, with experience you should be able to tell if it is a youthful wine, is it developing, is it an aged wine (remember the clues offered from the appearance) or is it passed it's best has it oxidised, the smell would be very acid caused by over exposure to the air.

4.) Can you notice any aroma characteristics, do you recognise perhaps fruit, flowers, spices, Oak maybe, there is quite a list I could go on and on. With practise we can learn to associate certain aromas with specific grape varieties or regions.
It may be difficult to describe in words when you're a novice, but after trying many wines you will notice similarities and differences. Sometimes a certain smell will be very strong with underlying hints of other smells. Take your time. By labelling an aroma you will probably remember it better.

Next, well we finally get to taste the wine.

"Man has six organs to serve him and he is master only of three. He cannot control his eye, ear or nose, but he can his mouth, hand and foot."
Leone Levi

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