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Monday, December 5, 2011

You've never tasted wine

You've only smelled it (mostly).

Foods and drinks are tasted only at a very basic level as your taste buds only understand sweet, salty, sour, and acidic.

Your olfactory senses, however, are very sophisticated and have a great memory.  You sense of smell will combine things into new smells and try to relate them to something in your past. Of all your senses smell is the one with the best memory. You can remember smells from your childhood better than visuals, sounds or touch.

Your sense of smell will block out things after a certain length of time so you can smell new things. This is a sort of ancient defense mechanism so you won't be continually overwhelmed by one smell and can pick up other things. You may have noticed this when, for instance, you're using a strong smelling cleaner or paint. After awhile you don't notice the smell so much.

The same wine can seem quite different to two people as their interpretation from the nose, mouth, and brain will not be the same.  But it's primarily what you get via your sense of smell that determines if you like of dislike what's in your mouth.  When you're sipping wine or eating food it's the smells that get up into your nose while you're swallowing, swishing, or chewing that give you the flavors along with the very basic items your taste buds pick up.

I've seen different reactions to a wine such as Sauvignon Blanc known for it's higher acidity. Some say it's refreshing, some tart, some even say it tastes sour.  There's no right or wrong answer--it's however you interpret the flavors.

And the fact that your sense of smell will block out things after a time means a wine won't smell the same after a time of sampling it with your nose. That doesn't mean the wine has changed--it's just what your brain is now sensing.

Now go out there and find some good smelling wine!