Educate Your Senses

One of the biggest pleasures I got from learning to taste wine was the opportunity to “get to know” or enhance my senses, primarily the sense of smell. I had no idea the nose could be educated to remember smells and that, once mastered, the skill could help me perfect my food paring and wine choosing abilities. This came as a total surprise to me. During one of our first classes, our teacher introduced us to Le Nez du Vin kit, which is a set of smelling aromas, scents of wine. Out kit had 54 little bottles that covered most of the 10 aroma families we learned existed, fruits, floral, spices, vegetal, mineral, animal, balsamic, wood, empyreumatic, chemical. She passed the numbered bottles as a blind exercise. I could not guess one, not even one!, well maybe cinnamon. The kit is expensive but there are cheaper alternatives. What I recommend to wine newbies is to go to the supermarket and buy nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla, pepper, strawberries, blueberries, red and green apples, pears. Start by smelling the real thing. Have a friend or your kids help you perform a blind smelling test. Then open a bottle of wine, serve, swirls and smell. Try to identify before hand the wine’s grape so you can use the information as guidance in what type of aroma should be detected in the wine. Sniff and swirl a few times. If the aromas are too overwhelming, drink some water and wait a few seconds to try again. Compare the smell of the fruit or spice with the aroma of the wine. Once finished you can go ahead and eat the newly created fruit smelling kit.

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