Why Smell a Wine Before you Taste?

Angela Osborne identifying aromas in wine
SMELLING WINE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF TASTING

Why smell a wine before you taste? The simple answer is because it will enhance the experience. Would you believe it is the most important part of wine tasting? We can only perceive 4 or 5 flavors, but the average person can identify over 2,000 scents, 200 of which can be found in wine. Do you ever say, “I’m just not good at it”, or “I never smell what other people do.” There is no reason to be embarrassed, and there is no shame in trying to guess.

If you went to a friend’s house for dinner, smelled something delicious when you walked in and said, “Yum, smells like blackberry pie.” Would they say, “Idiot, it’s blueberry.” Of course not! It’s just a scent and nothing to get snobby over. Like any other skill, you can improve with practice.

VeryAllegra Wine tasting at Folded Hills estate vineyard
SMELLING WINE HELPS YOU TO LEARN WHAT YOU LOVE

Back to your friend’s house and smelling that delicious pie when you walk in the door. What else can you smell? Baking Spices? Lemon Zest? Over time you learn to associate those specific scents and 1.) link them to types of foods and 2.) decide after eating if you like those foods or not.

The same can be done with wine. You can learn what a certain type of wine (Syrah or Grenache for example) smells like, and then identify if those particular aromas are what you love about that type of wine. When you can identify the characteristics you love in wine, the next time you pour yourself a glass, and smell – you will be transported. Your mind will trigger memories and emotions, your salivary glands will start to water and you will be filled with joy, knowing you are about to enjoy something delicious and even sentimental.

Our next article will discuss ways to improve your ability to identify aromas in wine.

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