Wine Tasting Part 2 - Enter the world of aromas and flavour

Wine Tasting Part 2 - Enter the world of aromas and flavour

Last week Maggy Smith introduced us to her wine tasting blog with SIGHT. This week she blogs about the world of aromas and flavour.


So last week we looked at the appearance of the wine and this week we enter the exciting world of aromas and flavours.  This exercise takes us from swirling our wine to sniffing and slurping our wine.  The most enjoyable part of wine tasting.

 Have you ever thought about why foods taste different? Taste buds probably play the most important part in helping you enjoy the many flavours of food.  Your taste buds can recognise four basic kinds of tastes:  sweet, salty, sour and bitter. The salty/sweet taste buds are located near the front of your tongue, the sour taste buds line the sides of your tongue and the bitter taste buds are found at the very back of your tongue

 Your taste buds will change as you get older.  For instance, when you were a baby you had taste buds not only on your tongue but on the sides and roof of your mouth.  This means you were very sensitive to different foods.  However, as you age taste buds disappear and are found mostly on your tongue. When children are asked to take a medicine that they don’t like they hold their nose and yes they will not taste the medicine until they let go of their nostrils.  At this point and as they breathe out the medicine will penetrate intensely.  It all comes from the olfactory bulb which sits just behind the eyes above the top of your nose.  You really are quite unaware of this as we can’t see or touch this muscle but we know we have it when we eat ice cream quickly or drink a very cold drink fast – it aches!  It is this muscle that plays such an important part in our sensory journey and it is by a long way the most important of our senses for both wine tasting and wine drinking.  Much of what we describe as taste is in reality smell.  A fact we can appreciate it better when we realise that we cannot taste our food or drink when we have a cold.  Taste is the weakest of the five senses.

For me sniffing a wine is one of life’s greatest pleasures and one of the most important steps in learning how to taste wine correctly and should never be missed.  It is an exercise that the more you practice the better you become and the more enjoyable your glass of wine becomes.  It is this one step that can conjure up intensely vivid memories of people, places, occasions and emotions.   Pour a small amount of wine into your glass just enough that you can look at the appearance and allow yourself to swirl it around in the glass.  To swirl wine correctly use a wrist movement holding the stem of the glass and if you are right-handed you will swirl the glass anti-clockwise.  If you are left-handed you will swirl the glass clockwise.  After swirling it around for a few moments take a very deep sniff.  This should be noisy because we want these aromas to travel up into the nostrils and into the retronasal passage.  After a very deep sniff, take a small amount about 5 ml onto your palate.  Swish it around as if you were mouth washing and if possible at the same time inject a little air as if you were blowing up from a straw.  This again should be noisy.  It is polite in winetasting to make lots of slurping and sniffing noises.  This will inject air around your palate and hopefully travel to the back of the throat to meet the aromas you sniffed up your nose.   It is the meeting of these aromas from the retronasal passage which will offer you the glorious wine tasting experience. You may try one of our wonderful wines for this exercise.  I would suggest starting with a wine like Rodelia Vino Rosato which has wonderful aromas pretty colour and a good long aftertaste.  Incidentally, it is such a pretty bottle and would make a wonderful gift.  You will find it on our website.

Next week we will cover taste and how we appreciate the quality of the wine.

Happy tasting and enjoy your weekend."

Maggy Smith
Member of the Association of Wine Educators
Certified Spanish Wine Educator
Certified Sherry Educator

Check out our entire wine collection here or if you want recommendations from an expert, let Bring Me Vino Direct’s Tom Smith select wines for you from Tom’s Mystery Wine Cases.

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