Aug 29, 2013

Tasting Tip, Sniff...

We have mentioned the "looking part' and so now its onto, as those in the biz (wanker talk for wine business) say, the smelling part, or to have a good 'sniff'. Why do we swirl the wine? When we swirl our glass of wine we are vastly expanding its surface area and volatilizing some of its aromatic particles (we are stirring up the smells). This allows oxygen to mix with the wine, releasing the esters and aldehydes (we know, poncy word alert), which yield all the smells and bouquet. In other words, swirling aerates the wine and gives you a better smell. Another reason why one should swirl the wine is to give an additional look at the overall appearance. Look at the color and the "legs" that trickle down the inside of the glass once the swirling has stopped. It is sometimes felt that the more noticeable the legs, the fuller the body of the wine. Basically its about viscosity. A slower trickle relates to the thickness or viscosity of the wine which is mostly connected to the alcohol content. Ok, back to the smell bit. The spin and smell is possibly the most important part of wine tasting. The average person can smell over 2,000 and as many as 10,000 different scents, and wine has, according to some, well over 200 of its own. Now that you have swirled the wine and released the bouquet, you should smell the wine a number of times. The second and third smell usually gives you more of the subtle information than the first smell did and you don't need to stop smelling at three. What does the wine smell like? What kind of 'nose' does it have? Ponce word alert! The "nose" is a word that wine tasters use to describe the bouquet and aroma of the wine, basically what your honker is sniffing up. Pinpointing the nose of the wine helps you identify its characteristics.

This is when you smell cinnamon or licorice, chocolate, vanilla, cherries or apricots. It's not that someone dropped a chocolate chip into your wine, it's that a certain group of chemicals you smell in the wine is identical to that you smell from a chocolate chip etc!

The problem here is, many people want someone else to tell them what they smell. Do I smell citrus, apricot or wet horse blanket? What about black cherry, leather or tar? No one knows what you smell, only what they are smelling in their own glass. Now while generally the group should be picking up somewhat similar primary scent's it can be different on the more subtle ones, and the more you do it, the more smell memories you will have. This is where the correct stemware comes into play. It needs to be big enough to allow the wine to be swirled and yet to focus them in the glass. An adequate amount of wine is also important. And you need to not be afraid to get your nose right in there. And yes Cyrano, it should fit in a decent glass.

Pick up a few clues like this and you will be poncing it up with your wanker mates in no time. The more you have done this the more likely you will be to be able to use this information to help you find more wines you like.

Never forget that tasting wine is supposed to be fun.

Now that’s a tip!

Happy Tasting Adventures,


Kiwi & Koala

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