How to Train Your Nose

If you’re planning to visit a winery tasting room anytime soon, you can enhance the experience by learning how to sniff like a pro.

“Sniff like a pro.” The phrase sounds more like a reference to hunting dogs than about-to-imbibe human beings, but it’s a skill that will help you enjoy wine more once you’ve mastered it.

Why? Because the aromas of a wine almost always mirror its flavors. They also can provide the first clues that the wine may have spoiled — indicators being “aromas” of burnt rubber, wet newspaper or rotten eggs.

Before one sniffs, one must swirl. In order to swirl, make sure you don’t pour too much wine into the glass. Half-full is just right.

Place the glass on a table, grip it by the stem near its base, then gently “spin” the glass so the wine inside coats the upper interior of the glass. This process adds air to the wine, and helps it release its various aromas.

Then it’s time to put your nose to work. There are two basic methods for smelling wine.

First, you can simply take a slow, deep breath. This provides a quick “snapshot” of the wine, a general impression of its dominant aromas and flavors.

But to fully experience a wine’s full aroma and flavor spectrum, one must stick their nose deep into the glass and then take several quick sniffs. This helps to segregate the specific impressions, revealing individual fruit, spice, earth and wood components.

Posted in Wine in the Glass
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