One of the questions I’m often asked when presenting wine education courses has to do with the ritual of swirling wine in the glass.
The question asked is: Why?
The answer to that question is fairly simple, but it leads to a much more complicated question.
The reason we swirl wine in a glass is to help expose it to air and, in the process, help “open it up” so it reveals its full array of aromas.
Okay… but what does that accomplish?
Here’s what: How a wine smells — fruity, oaky, musty, spicy, etc. — provides a big clue as to how it will taste. A wine’s aromas won’t always mirror its flavors 100 percent… but it gets pretty darn close if it’s given enough time to “breathe” before it’s consumed.
It’s not unusual for certain aromas that result from the winemaking process to “blow off” fairly quickly once the wine has been uncorked (or unscrewed). Swirling helps with that process as well.
Through years of trial and error… and swirling and sipping… I have come to the conclusion that if I had to choose between the two, I’d say that the aroma of the wine is more important than the flavor.
Simply put, it is the aroma of the wine that signals when the wine is ready to be consumed… and its flavors savored.