The nose knows

Step Three: Smell

Our sense of smell is responsible for about 85% of our enjoyment of wine, which is great news because your nose is a genius with an incredible memory... Thanks to the work of your olfactory system, you have the ability to recall 1,000s and 1,000s of different smells. So when we drink wine, and talk about the aromas present, we are relying on the information our nose has stored over the years. To drive the point home, just recall how flavorless food is when you eat while you've got a stuffy nose.

This is all to say, that you have within your olfactory memory the ability to take your enjoyment of wine to new levels. The struggle is usually with naming what you are smelling. You can probably bring to mind the smell of butterscotch, pencil shavings, and eucalyptus instantly in your mind but often times connecting these aromas in wine with your brain can be challenging. With practice, and by keeping a wine journal of aromas, you will strengthen your aroma-brain connection.

our olfactory system rocks!
Now let's get down to taking a smell...
  1. Directly after giving your wine a good swirl, place your nose inside the rim of your glass
  2. The way you smell wine is somewhat of a personal choice. Some folks like to take one large and long sniff. Others go for a series of short, small inhalations, and you'll see some people use both their mouth and nose to smell the wine (i.e. mouth open and taking in air right along with your nose)
  3. Whatever your preferred method, once you've taken a smell, stop for a moment so that your brain can connect with what's happening
NOTE: I think it is important to wait between smells of the same wine so that the receptors in your olfactory system have time to reset. You'll find that smelling the same wine again and again without a break will actually lessen your ability to pick up aromas.
Once you've had time to connect with the aromas in the wine, it's time to give it a taste. Step Four: Sip, coming next...


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