Food may be the way to a man’s heart, but keep in mind that the food goes through his nose before it reaches his stomach.
In other words, a huge part of enjoying food involves smelling it. Don’t believe it? Then try this trick: Place pieces of four different types of food with similar textures on a plate, then close your eyes and have a friend hand you a forkful of one of the items – but before you bring the fork to your mouth, squeeze your nose so you can’t smell the food. Once the food is in your mouth, try to identify it. Trust us, it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Because the aroma of food is so closely associated with its flavor, it should come as no surprise that some of the best wine judges in the world also are very good cooks – or, at the very least, very discerning diners. The trait they share is exceptional smelling skill.
How does one get better at identifying the aromas in wine? It’s just like anything else: practice, practice, practice.
The first step involves becoming more aware of the aromas you encounter during the course of the day, particularly those associated with food and the earth.
When you sit down for a meal, ask about the specific ingredients, and learn to identify their scent. Over time, you’ll be able to pick out an ever-widening array of spices, such as nutmeg and basil.
Likewise, when gardening or simply out for a walk, take time to smell as many different types of flowers as possible. Make mental notes about the specific aromas, how some are sweeter than others, and what makes each flower’s aroma spectrum unique.
The better you get at identifying specific aromas, the better equipped you’ll be to enjoy all the wonderful aromas… and flavors… of different types of wine.