Somebody had to do it. A recent excursion to taste and savor the unique artisan blends of varietals produced prior to this fall’s harvest season was assigned to select SensoryCo team members. During our sunset sippin’ soiree, we sampled rich Cabernets, fruitful Zinfandels, oaky Chards, and sweet dessert Moscatos all with amazing bouquets.
We’ve all witnessed the wine smelling ritual of a potential taster putting their nose deeply into a wine glass to take a whiff, snort or sniff a hint of flavor or a mysterious ingredient. The reason behind this has to do with our sense of smell’s relation to our sense of taste. The complexity and body of a wine is made up of elements from the production of the grapes and the liquid result has aromatic compounds. It’s been said that smelling your wine first gives you a hint as to what you might taste in your mouth.
Tastes and smells are subjective based upon a person’s experiences, memories of smells, and individual tastes.
As mentioned in a previous article, the essence of smell happens to be multi-dimensional with the human nose (not to be confused with “the nose” of the wine) able to identify approximately 10 different categories of aroma:
“Fragrant (e.g. florals and perfumes)
Fruity (all non-citrus fruits)
Citrus (e.g. lemon, lime, orange)
Woody and resinous (e.g. pine or fresh cut grass)
Chemical (e.g. ammonia, bleach)
Sweet (e.g. chocolate, vanilla, caramel)
Minty and peppermint (e.g. eucalyptus and camphor)
Toasted and nutty (e.g popcorn, peanut butter, almonds)
Pungent (e.g. blue cheese, cigar smoke)
Decayed (e.g. rotting meat, sour milk).”
The odor (probably not palatable to your liking) or fragrance (a positive note that makes you want to try more) is a great way to introduce your palette to wine. So when you visit your favorite vineyard or someone asked you to “smell the cork” at a restaurant you will be able to share your knowledge of wine scents and smells as they relate to your appetites!